Over the past several months, the candidates for the Presidency of the United States of America have been telling the American people that we need to put more and more money into education if we want to see our Country move in the “right” direction. Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have exceptional educations. They studied in the most prestigious ivory towers in the land. However, if education is really the answer to put America back to a “right” direction, then why isn’t education working already? After all, when you think about it, America has the most educated people that she has ever seen in her history. The reality is that education may not be the answer at all.
The education that I received was alright. I was in public schools all of my life, and I think that I turned out to be alright. However, I have a father who taught me early on how to live life. My mother taught me how to think through so many different issues that would arise the older I grew. My family is full of teachers: both my sisters and some of my cousins and aunts and uncles. The joy of teaching runs deep in my family and through my veins. I teach on a regular basis, too. But education in and of itself doesn’t change a person necessarily. People who have great educations end up being criminals just as much as those who are uneducated. If education is the answer, why are some of the most imaginative, creative and smartest of people in prison today?
Education will only change the course of someone’s life if the education itself is good and right. What I mean by this is that not all education is worthy of one’s attention. For instance, I can educate you on how to make certain street drugs, but that education may land you in prison if you go out and apply what you have learned. I can educate you on how to make a bomb, but if applied, you may not only kill others, but you may injure or kill yourself in the process. You see, education is not always the answer to life’s issues or even the issues that our United States is facing today.
The ultimate goal of education is knowledge. We teach and we learn so people can have the opportunity to think through various issues for themselves. Knowledge is priceless, at least this is what many people believe. But what knowledge is good knowledge? What knowledge is the best knowledge?
The Scriptures tell us from where good and right knowledge comes. Read the following verses:
And to man He said, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” (Job 28:28)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:10)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility. (Proverbs 15:33)
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14)
It is evident just from these verses that good and right knowledge leads to wisdom and instruction. In other words, when man fears the Lord, then knowledge, wisdom, understanding and instruction are part of a man’s life. To fear the Lord means that one reveres Him as the One to whom all allegiance is due. In addition, to fear the Lord is also to realize who He is and who we are. God is the Maker of us; man is the destruction of us. God is the One who blesses us; man is the one who curses us. God is the One who loves us; man is the one who hates us. God has given to us in His Word life and liberty in Jesus Christ; man has given to us in his word death and slavery. In other words, what comes out of a man’s mouth will be what is man’s heart; what comes from the mouth of God is who He is. And knowing who He is will bring good and right knowledge.
Education, then, is good and right when fearing the Lord is the theme of that education.