An Intimate Knowledge of God
Have you ever allowed your imagination to just run wild with the notion of God – not with what He has done or with what He has promised to do, but with the essence of His Person? In other words, have you ever really stopped to look past the hand of God so that you might truly behold His face?
It is almost reflexive for us to confine any individual to his accomplishments, whether that individual is mortal or Divine. For instance, a championship-winning football coach will forever be linked to his accomplishments in a meaningless game. A great general will always be associated with his most decisive victories on the battlefield. A selfless philanthropist will be recalled for his contributions to society. And although these accomplishments can give us some perspective into the lives of these individuals, they do not allow us to see these people in an intimate way. Looking through the lens of history, how well do we really know Vince Lombardi, Napoleon Bonaparte, or Alfred Nobel? Are we acquainted with the quirks of their personalities, their likes and dislikes, or their strengths and weaknesses?
The simple fact of the matter is that a man’s accomplishments are not an all-encompassing gauge of his person. They are an extension of his person – a partial manifestation of his character – but they are not the sum of his existence. We can see what a man has accomplished, but we can’t intimately understand what drives that man to action unless we know that person as more than a popular acquaintance. The greatest and most intimate human biographer could never aspire to portray his subject perfectly; some aspect of the individual will always be forgotten or misconstrued. When considering the thoughts and intents of an individual’s heart, it becomes apparent that a library of biographies could never sum up the whole of a single individual. If this is true of the finite personality, how much more must it be true of the Only Infinite Personality – God Himself?
In the 103rd Psalm, David writes that God “made known his ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel (Verse 7).” This is a poignant observation regarding a special relationship that God had with one of His choicest servants. Another way of understanding this verse is to say that God educated Moses in His course of action, and not just in the actions themselves. The children of Israel saw the hand of God moving – both in ways supernatural and providential – but Moses was made privy to something more. He became deeply acquainted with the Personality of God, and in coming to know God intimately, God began to reveal glimpses of His reasoning to Moses.
We often limit our understanding of the Divine Personality to the same parameters used when studying an historical figure. We sometimes act as if God is a long-deceased celebrity, noted for His incredible accomplishments in centuries past. We have a tendency to frame the actions of God within an historical timeline, with His “glory days” (the days of Moses, Elijah, and Christ et alii) having occurred thousands of years before our own existence began. Being so far removed chronologically from the miracles of yesteryear, we live out our days largely as if He was no longer the same omnipotent entity that He was when He spoke the universe into existence. We utter His name with a form of reverence, but often it is a reverence mandated by the greatness of His deeds, rather than by the greatness of His Person. We work out our Christianity by worshiping His memory more than we worship Him. It is impossible to disassociate God from His works, as His works are an extension of His Person. But we must learn to love God for Who He is, beyond loving Him for what He has accomplished.
© 2010 Jeremy Austin Watts