Over the years Trinity Church has become known as a place where rigorous thinking is encouraged. We don't want to follow the path of anti-intellectualism which marked certain segments of the American church during the 20th century. God gave us good minds to be stretched by His truth for His glory. The pursuit of understanding matters to Christ.
That is all true, and yet I was struck this morning by some things Moses said to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 4 before they passed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land. There he defines for us what true understanding is - or, perhaps more accurately, he describes the necessary effect of true understanding.
"See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'" (Deuteronomy 4:5-6)
We will be known as God's 'wise and understanding people' not chiefly by what we know, but by what we do, that is, how we apply what we know. Wisdom and understanding only honors God and marks us as His people if it translates into holy, joyful, God-honoring obedience.