Do you know God?
In some form or fashion, everyone “knows” God…The atheist knows God as a figment of the delusional Christian imagination. God is just as mythological to the atheist as unicorns or pygmy puffs. Those who believe in such things are weak, needing some sort of crutch.
Someday, that same atheist will tremble with fear in the presence of a very real and very terrifying Almighty God.
The average agnostic knows God as an uncertain possibility. He might exist. He might be a myth. They claim to be “seekers,” wanting to weigh science and faith in the balance… all in good time.
Someday, the agnostic will tremble, alongside the atheist, in the presence of a very certain and very tangible God.
The average non-religious non-Christian knows God in some variation of deism or agnosticism. They believe God exists (in some form or fashion) but does not intervene in the universe. Some believe He set the process of evolution in motion. Some believe He is very different from the God of the Bible.
Someday, that same person will tremble, along with the atheist and agnostic, in the presence of a very involved God.
The Christian knows God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as three persons in one God. Most acknowledge Him as a creator (though some do not). Some are Christians in name only while some are Christians in name and deed.
Someday, the Christian in name and the Christian in deed will also tremble, alongside the atheist, the agnostic, and the average non-Christian in the presence of God. One will tremble in abject terror, the other in reverent fear.
It is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”
~ Romans 14.11, ESV
Everyone “knows God” in one way or another, but what does that knowledge do to them? Do they possess all the facts or have the facts been distorted?
You may scoff at this oversimplified summary, but consider Romans 1:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.
So they are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools…
~ Romans 1.18-22, ESV
God has made Himself known since the beginning of time, revealing Himself to humanity. He could have created sycophantic robots to fulfill His every wish and profess endless devotion, but He did not. He created humans… with free will. Pursuing God is optional… until we die and find ourselves option-less.
Everyone knows God, but what difference does it make to them? Does it change their behavior? Does it resonate in their souls? Or… do they shove the knowledge into the dusty recesses of the mind’s filing cabinet?
Do you know God?
What does that knowledge do to you?
Does it inspire you?
Does it strike fear in your heart?
Does it puff you up?
Does it permanently transform you?
In the book of Exodus, the following phrase is used 9 separate times: “and then __________ shall know that I am the Lord.”
I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you [the Israelites] shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (Exodus 6:7)
The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.” (Exodus 7:5)
Thus says the Lord, “By this [Pharaoh] shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. (Exodus 7:17)
In His infinite wisdom, God accomplishes multiple purposes with his signs and wonders:
- He shows His power over the manufactured “gods” of the Egyptians
- He humiliates a proud Pharaoh
- He sets His people free from bondage
- He develops Moses’ confidence in Him
- He gives the Israelites at least a dozen reasons to trust in Him
- He gives the Israelites 10 terrifying reminders of why they ought to obey Him.
What did “knowing the Lord” do for Pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the Israelites? What did it do for Aaron? What did it do for Moses?
What does it do for you?
What can principles can we learn from Pharaoh, the Egyptians, the Israelites, Aaron, and Moses?
What effect did knowing God have on their hearts, their lives, and their future?
A vast chasm exists between wisdom and knowledge. One can “know” something but fail to apply it. One can “know” God and refuse to obey Him (but to do so is totally unwise).
Over the next several posts, we will examine these questions more closely:
- Pharaoh: Knowing God via humiliation
- The Egyptians: Knowing God by devastation
- The Israelites: Knowing God… but forgetting
- Aaron: Knowing God, but not fearing Him enough
- Moses: Knowing God with transformative love.