Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Knowing God

If we want to know about something or some place or someone, where’s the first place we go to get the knowledge we’re seeking? Some of us will go to our computers and “Google” our question. Others will go to their encyclopedias or dictionaries or one of the other books in their libraries.

If any of us want to know God, really know Him, where do we go? Again some will go to their computer and “Google” God. Others will go to their Bibles and maybe use the concordance to help them find scriptures that will help them know Him.

Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, said that nothing compared to knowing Christ Jesus the Lord. The most important thing in Paul’s life was knowing Jesus.

Shouldn’t that be the most important thing for everyone? The question is, how can we know Jesus; how can we know God? Can we know God by “googling” him? Can we know God by reading our Bibles?

Remember the television program Newly Weds? The MC would ask each of the men and then each of the women the same questions about their spouses. Then they would come back together and we’d all get to see how well they really knew each other. It was soon very apparent that most of them didn’t really know their life partner.

So, what if there were a game show that partnered us with God and we were asked questions about God and he was asked questions about us. I wonder what kind of insights that would give us? Who do you suppose would know the most about the other? How well do you think we’d know God?

I, for one, don’t think I know God well enough. I read the Bible. I read commentaries. I read books about spirituality. I read quite a few books about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in an attempt to get to that point where I can say that I really know God. But none of them have taken me to the place where I can honestly say that I know God.

But I do believe that God knows me. And, like Paul, all I can do is to continue to keep trying to know him better.

To be honest with all of you I did go to the concordance in my study Bible and looked up knowing and knowledge. There are a number of scripture passages that talk about God knowing us and us knowing Him.

Exodus is the first place I found written that the people will know that I am the LORD. They would know God because he revealed himself in the plagues in Egypt and in the miracles like parting the water of the Red Sea and the drowning of the Egyptians who pursued them and in providing manna and quail and water from a rock.

The psalmist says if we know his name we will trust in him. The same psalmist also tells us to …be still and know that I am God. In the book of Jeremiah we read that God knew us before we were formed in the womb. Also in Jeremiah God says that now everyone will know him…for I will forgive their iniquity and their sin I will remember no more. And Ezekiel repeats what we read in Exodus when he says…they shall know that I am the LORD.

It sounds like God makes himself known to us through his actions in our lives. We read in the Bible that even if there were no prophets or teachers to tell us about God the very stones would cry out. God’s creation helps people know Him. People have come to believe and trust in God through what they’ve seen in this world we live in.

Jesus said in John’s gospel…I have made you known to them. He also told those surrounding him…I know my sheep and my sheep know me.

So, has the question been answered? How do we get to know God? I believe it ultimately depends on God’s grace. God calls us. And then we choose whether we will believe and answer His call. Only then will we begin to know him.

God said, and Jesus repeated it, if we keep his commandments we will be his. We will be known by him.

We struggle with keeping the commandments and we struggle to live like Jesus so will we ever know God? We fail almost every day to keep God’s commandments. So, that’s the unknown quantity.

God tells us we are forgiven for our sins through Jesus. Jesus said that he would send an advocate who would tell us Jesus’ words. All this has taken place and now it’s up to us.

Do we believe? Do we trust God’s word to us? Friends, none of us knows for sure but Jesus said all we have to do is believe.

The Israelites in the wilderness were afraid to talk to God. God tells us we can go directly to him with our prayers. Jesus told us of God’s love and forgiveness.

All these help us to know God better. There’s still the mystery surrounding Him but God knows us and by spending time in prayer and study we begin to know God.

We’ll never know everything until we get to the New Jerusalem. Until then we just have to trust in what God reveals to us in the Word and His creation.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

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