Wow, how the time is flying by on this sabbatical. This time has been restful, insightful, and encouraging as I have had extra time with the Lord…and a whole lot of fun! Thank you for your prayers and encouraging words. Kristi and I miss you all very much and sure do enjoy those times when we bump into some of you around town. Thank you again for this time to refocus and recharge…it’s working! I can’t wait to get back to the people I love, the ministry I enjoy, and the passionate pursuit of God’s unique call on my life and on our church.
As I have been spending time in God’s Word (the Bible) one phrase stuck out to me today that is both a challenge and an encouragement. This phrase is used some sixty times in the Bible book of Ezekiel (I’ve been reading through this book for my personal devotions). You can find this phrase in Exodus, 1 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah and a bunch of other books of the Bible. The phrase is mostly used by God Himself as to His desired outcome to a miraculous experience (this experience could be either beneficial or catastrophic). The phrase is also a judgment, of sorts, because God does have to intervene due to people’s disregard of Him or weak faith.
So what is this provocative phrase? It is the phrase, “they will know that I am the LORD.” As God spoke through the prophets, He was proclaiming that through an event it would be obvious that only God could pull this off, only LORD God Almighty could accomplish what occurred. Many times the phrase will read, “then they will know that I am the LORD ”, meaning that after these people experience this miraculous happening surely they will gain an understanding of how amazing and awesome and incredible God is…and therefore live life God’s way by fulfilling His purposes, and responding to His call and His will.
See, to know God is to gain wisdom in life:
Proverbs 9:10 10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
To ‘fear’ God is to have a reverent respect of Him and that involves knowing Him. If you want to be wise – know God!
As well, to know God is to experience real freedom:
John 8:31-32 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Read all of John 8 to gain more, but freedom is found as we grasp Jesus’ (who is God) teachings, that is to know who He is and His plan of life. Freedom is found in knowing Jesus/God.
Knowing God gives us everything we need for life and godliness:
2 Peter 1:2-3 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Read the whole chapter of 2 Peter 1 for more, but it is knowing God that is key to life.
However, it is very difficult to know God, fear Him, hold to His teachings or seek Him when we are so focused on ourselves. We can’t know that the LORD is God when we are obsessed with getting our way, our will, or our wants. Neither can we experience the joy of basking in the love, grace, mercy, nor the splendor of our amazing God when we are so consumed with our problems. Yes, we have and always will have issues, tragedies, struggles, hurts, times we suffer, and times we are downcast, yet even in those (and especially in those) we can know that the LORD is God and will walk with us through whatever dark valley life brings to us (remember the 23rd Psalm).
So how do we know the LORD is God?
James 4:8 8 Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Confess sin and spend time in prayer and thought as to who God is. Pick up your Bible and read through the Psalms or portions of Scripture where it describes God (I like Job 40:6-41;34), then think about how awesome God is. As well, continue to seek God.
Jeremiah 29:13 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.
Be sincere and choose to know God. Make it a life long passion to continue to know God more and more…to know that He is the LORD your God. Is He? Life will never be more fulfilling and meaningful than when we know God.
Striving to Know God with you,