First Hand Knowledge
Chapter taken from " The Very Heart of Worship"
Written By Cypress Ministries
Copyright Material, all rights reserved
For I will set My eyes on them for good,
and I will bring them back to this land;
I will build them and not pull them down,
and I will plant them and not pluck them up.
Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord;
and they shall be My people, and I will be their God,
for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.
THOUGHT TO PONDER:
First hand knowledge-- not second hand-- is how God wants you to know Him. From the very beginning when the Lord would come down and walk in the evenings with Adam and Eve in the garden, He has long for a personal relationship with His people. From cover to cover of the Bible it has been a continuous story of God making Himself know. He did it before, and He does it now. God's desire for us to know Him doesn't stop when you simple close the book, He still moves in mighty ways to say "This is who I am..."
INSIGHT INTO GOD'S WORD:
My friend, it isn’t enough for us to know ABOUT HIM. We need to KNOW HIM. A while back my youngest son was invited to a birthday party -- a little girl’s birthday party. My son knows about her; he goes to school with her, knows about what kind of grades she makes, and how old she is turning. Not a whole lot of knowledge in order to get her a birthday present. So after discussing it, we decided to give money in a card that he handmade and she could buy something she wanted. It was not very personal, and I will admit not a whole lot of thought, or even effort, was put into this. The problem was we just didn’t know her. Now, on the other hand, had it been the twins that use to be his best friends it would have made a BIG DIFFERENCE! We would have been at the store for a long time, going through all the different possibilities. “Oh! They would LOVE this,” and “Hey, I know, how about…” or “They don’t have THIS one…” I would have had to drag him out of the store, but we would have purchased and given them something they could really enjoy.
There is also a difference in knowing quite a bit about someone and really knowing them personally. I have a sister-in-law whom I love dearly, and we are pretty good friends. I could go some place and pick something out for her. Chances are she would like it and use the gift I give her. My brother, on the other hand, knows her personally in ways that I don’t. So he is going to be able to pick out something much more personal.
In the same way, God wants us to know Him intimately and personally. If we don’t have this kind of relationship with Him, it will be impossible to walk in faith with Him. If we don’t allow Him to develop this kind of relationship in us with Him, we won’t know when it is HIM talking to us and we won’t be able to obey Him. If we don’t know His voice and enjoy closeness with Him, we will spend all of our time arguing and questioning ourselves before stepping out in faith and following Him.
In First Kings, when Elijah stepped out and declared that it wouldn’t rain again for three years and later, when he challenged the so-called prophets of Baal to a “duel,” he had to have been extremely confident in who his God was, and that his God would back him up. Can you imagine how horrible it would have been if God hadn’t come through for him? Can you imagine how devastating it would have been if, after Elijah boldly proclaimed, “It will not rain,” then the very next day it did? Or what if in First Kings 18, after spending the whole day, taunting the Baal prophets, he said, “Now watch what my God can do…” and then nothing happened?
Elijah was certain he knew what God would do. He was also certain he knew what God was telling him to do. We, too, can have this kind of relationship with God. “But how?” you might ask. By allowing God to spend time with us (and in us). By allowing God to work in the recesses of our hearts, letting Him cleanse us, heal us, and change us in ways ONLY He can.
I truly believe God longs for us to know Him personally and not just from someone else’s viewpoint. There are so many different characteristics of God, so many different names by which to know Him. Who God is to me may not be the side and nature of God you see. Each day, we are on different walks, you and I. Each day, we are going to have different needs. The incredible thing about God is that He is a BIG GOD. So as He meets my needs today as my Provider, He may be meeting your needs as your Healer. But He is still GOD.
One time when Jesus was praying alone, his followers were with him, and he asked them. “Who do the people say I am?” They answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist. Others say you are Elijah. And others say you are one of the prophets from long ago who has come back to life.” Then Jesus asked, “But who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ from God” (Luke 9:18-20).
I think that must have made Him smile. For one, because of His statement, “Who do you say I am?” As if saying, “Ok, that’s who they think and what they say, but what about YOU?” And when Peter said “He was Christ,” I think that might have made Him smile. Maybe His thought was, “Finally, someone gets it!” In fact, in other parts of the Gospels Jesus told Peter he only knew that because it was what God Himself had shown him. And I think that must have pleased God very much. Peter believed what GOD HAD REVEALED instead of basing his opinion on what everyone else said.
Suppose you are getting ready to take a quiz and have 99 people telling you the answer is A. You can hear 99 people say, “Trust me, the answer is A.” You can have 99 people trying to convince you, “The answer is A, and here’s why.” You can have 99 people saying it, but something inside just doesn’t seem right. You know that 99 people are positive they are right, but somehow you find there is no peace. So you take the time to just think and listen and in the quietness of your heart -- in the most peaceful recesses of your spirit -- you hear a very solid whisper, “The answer is B.” You come to a point where you have to decide, are you going to believe 99 people or are you going to believe God? But before you can learn to recognize that voice and know and trust that it’s God’s voice inside you, you have to KNOW GOD, and how He sounds to you -- inside of you.
You can have so many people say, “You are…” You can have so many people giving their own opinion of you and who they think you are. You may have people forming and spouting off all kinds of thoughts about you. But you know what, my friend? You are who GOD SAYS you are. You may be going through some tough times and maybe people are beating you down. Everyone may have a thought about who they think you are, who you couldn’t possibly be, or what you couldn’t possibly do, but you know what? You are who GOD SAYS you are. And God says you are “His people.” God says, “He loves you.” And God longs for YOU to know HIM.
Jesus said that He and the Father are one and He is the bread, the light, the door, and the resurrection. He is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 6:35, John 8:12, John 10:9, John 11:25-27, and John 14:6). Every day, however you need Him, in every way, whoever you need Him to be; all you could ever want or need, dear friend, GOD IS.
Won’t you please accept His call
to get to know Him, not just about Him,
and find out personally who He is and
who He will be for you?