I don’t like to not know. I don’t like to not have an answer or an opinion. Not knowing or not being able to reply makes me feel tense. And dare I say it? I feel stupid.
What’s even sillier, is that I will give an opinion even though I’m not sure I’m right—so that I can avoid saying, “I don’t know.” That’s pretty bad. My. My.
So it was with interest that I studied Zechariah 4:5. The prophet Zechariah has been shown a vision of a lampstand and several other things. He asks what the items mean and here’s verse 5: “So the angel who was speaking with me [Zechariah] answered and said to me, ‘Do you not know what these are?’ And I said, ‘No, my lord.'”
If I had been Zechariah, I wouldn’t have asked what the things are because that would have shown my…there’s that word again… stupidity.
And then when the angel asked, “Do you not know what these are?” I would have bluffed my way into some sort of answer (said as if I’m Rocky Balboa), “Well, sure, I know what it is. Whatcha think I’m stupid, or somepin’?”
So I’m admiring Zechariah. He had the humility to admit he didn’t know and he was willing to being instructed.
I need to remember him as my inspiration for admitting when I don’t know. It’s OK to even appear to be stupid because it doesn’t matter what other people think of me. What matters is God’s view of me and He already knows when I don’t know. And He would much rather I admit my lack of knowledge and ask to be informed.
In the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, it says that the angel’s inquiry of “Do you not know…?” is not a reproof of Zechariah’s ignorance but an invitation to reflect on the mystery of what he’s seeing. And when Zechariah admits his ignorance, it’s “as a little child [who] casts himself for instruction at the feet of the Lord.”
I should remember that even if a person is giving me instruction, I may actually be “at the feet of the Lord” because He has designed for this person to give me information.