I was brought up in my village to be God-fearing, detesting telling lies or appropriating anybody’s property. My mother, who was deeply religious, provided guidance in spiritual matters.
One day, after school, I was going to the stream to fetch water. Incidentally, I was alone in that sloppy and winding path to the stream when I sighted a short palm tree with ripe fruits. I quickly moved closer to see whether some fruits had fallen to the ground. According to our village custom, as long as the palm fruits were on the ground, anybody could pick them up, regardless of who owned the tree. But if you climbed up to pluck the fruits, it was considered stealing. Therefore, I picked up the fruits on the ground. But the tree was short and had some ripe fruits ready to fall.
Although I was not good at climbing, I was tempted to climb up to harvest more fruits and needed to do it quickly before someone came near. I looked around and didn’t see anyone going to or returning from the stream. So I climbed as fast as my hands and legs could carry me. However, as soon as I started plucking the fruits, I heard a loud, cranky voice that seemed to come from heaven: “This boy, continue what you are doing; I can see you!”
I panicked and jumped down automatically. It was the tree owner who spoke. He had been on top of another, much taller palm tree a few yards away, watching me. I abandoned both the ones I legitimately collected and the ones I stole, grabbed my water container, and scurried down the stream.
I might be about ten years old when I had this stealing experience, but I clearly remember the incident today. That experience helped to make me appreciate how God sees us, talks to us, and even knows the thoughts and desires of our hearts. He is omnipresent and omniscient, and knows what will happen in future.
Since we are created in the image of God, He imparts a bit of His knowledge to some people. We term this the gift “the word of knowledge”. This is the power a person divinely receives to know the thoughts, desires, plans and actions of another person.
In 2003 I had a burden to have a building for my office and residence but did not want to borrow money for that purpose. I was thinking, worrying, desiring, and praying for money for the project but had no solution to the problem.
On March 15, 2003, I went with the burden to the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International Leaders Advance held at Cannanland, Ota, Ogun State. That night, the District Coordinator, Barr.Wole Olufon, led the prayers. One prayer point was for families. He invited men who had challenges in their families to come out for special prayers. My own problem was clear to me – the project. But I said in my mind that even though I had no specific family problem, things could be better. Moreover, there was nothing to lose. Therefore, I seized the opportunity, stood up and joined about seven other men who lined up in front.
Barr. Olufon prayed for us one after the other. When he came to my turn, he hesitated, looked up and received a word for me. “You have a burden; something is disturbing you…a project?” “Yes, a building project,” I instantly said. “But I don’t have the money for it.” “God is telling you that you have delayed this project for too long and you should go and start the building immediately.” Thereafter, he still prayed for my family.
The embarrassing aspect of this episode was that Olufon did not whisper his utterances to me; he said it all to everyone’s hearing through the microphone. My fear was that my friends would then be asking me about the project and make me uncomfortable if it did not come through. But I consoled myself with the fact that it was not me who made the pronouncement. Olufon should be responsible for his statements. Or God should be held responsible for not honouring His own word. My feet were wobbling as I returned to my seat.
Exactly two months and one week after, God took over control of the project. The foundation of the building was laid on June 9, 2003. The ground floor was completed in December 2005 and the first floor completed in December 2006. God miraculously provided all we needed to complete the building without borrowing.
Do you wonder how Apostle Peter knew that Ananias and his wife sold their possession for a higher amount of money than they declared? It was a clear demonstration of the spiritual gift of the word of knowledge. After all, Peter was not involved in the negotiation for the sale of that property. (You may read this story in Acts, chapter 5).
How would you feel if you knew what your life would be in the next two or three years? How would your friend regard you if you could reveal to him the dangers of the trip he was planning to embark on? How many positive steps would you take and how many destructive ones would you avoid if you had foreknowledge of the possible consequences of your decisions?
One other story reported in 2 Kings, chapter 5 is instructive. Here, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, demonstrated his greed and dishonesty by collecting some gifts from Naaman after Elisha had refused to accept them. Later, Gehazi pursued Naaman and lied to him that Elisha had changed his mind and asked for some of the gifts. He collected and carefully hid them. When Elisha confronted him, he denied going anywhere. Then Elisha said to him, “Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants?” (verse 26).
How did Elisha know of the evil plans and activities of Gehazi? According to Elisha, his heart went with Gehazi, meaning that he knew everything Gehazi was thinking, planning and executing. This, indeed, is a powerful spiritual gift.
You need divine knowledge more than any other kind of knowledge you may acquire in life. Knowledge from above, applied with wisdom, assures you of a sound, secure, successful and satisfying life.