Desire Without Knowledge Is not Good

black pen on opened book beside lit taper candle

There is a proverb that says, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way” (Proverbs 19:2 ESV). This one verse is important, especially given our theme this year of straining toward the goal. What this proverb means is that desire itself won’t get us to the finish line, even if we desire God. A more literal translation of this verse is: “It is also not good for the soul to be without knowledge, and he who hastens with his feet sins.”

The emphasis is on the soul lacking knowledge from and about God. If the soul lacks knowledge about God, we will hastily pursue dreams and passions that will lead us off the godly path. It can’t be overemphasized how important it is to have the knowledge of God for our souls to not follow our own passions. For example, the preceding verse says, “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool” (vs. 1).

As we saw with Job, integrity matters. Job said, “As God lives, who has taken away my right, and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, as long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit. Far be it from me to say that you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me” (Job 27:2-5). Job clearly put the knowledge of God above all else. That was his guiding light, not his own desire.