“I want to be as one with Him. I could not be right with God by what the Law said I must do. I was made right with God by faith in Christ. I want to know Him.” Paul, Philippians 3:9-10
Recalling a friend in high school who began reading in Genesis, he came to a couple of us with a blush and said, “Man, all those guys in the Bible sure got to know their wives!” In the mid-60s this was as close as we got to describing the sex act. He was referring, of course, to such passages as Genesis 4:1 and 4:25, where “Adam knew his wife and she conceived” and bore children. We almost considered it Biblical porn, but the point was that to “know” someone had an effect.
This was more than just recognizing Eve across the forest and realizing she was not another animal; more than just mental assent to her identity. This “knowledge” was experiential; a “knowing” like no other, an intimate intertwining of their lives in joy and ecstasy, and a feeling of completion. This is how Father in Heaven wants us to know Him.
From the evening conversations Adam and Eve had with God in the cool of the day, men drifted away from knowledge of the Holy One so that by the seventh generation, “people began to call on the name of Yahweh.” (Genesis 4:26) In other words, they did not know Him anymore, and had to seek Him. They had to look for ways to interact with Him, because we were withdrawn from Him.
But the recognition of the value of knowing God, more than just a theology about Him, was never completely lost. David, many centuries later, would challenge his son, Solomon with these words, “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you . . .” (1 Chronicles 28:9)
The prophets knew this God intimately. For example, Isaiah spoke on God’s behalf when he said, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) This along with many other statements by the prophets revealed a relationship much deeper than mere religious practice, much more personal than a set of liturgical instructions.
Fast forward another thousand years and Jesus declared, “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.“ (John 17:3) Note He did not say, “This is eternal life, to get a seminary degree . . .” nor “. . .to live a clean and moral life.” nor “. . .to attend a church and do missionary work.” Now if you interact with Him, He may tell you to do some of these things, but these are the results of knowing Him, not the other way around. We do not get to know Him by doing good things, rather we do good things because He is living in us, and we know Him.
How do we get to know Him? The same way you get to know a husband or wife; the same way you know your sibling or parent, the same way you know your best friend. Once the introduction is made, you spend time together; you compare interests; you share with each other what you are doing. (see August 20, 2016 and August 28, 2016)
Of course, you can read about Him, look at how He behaves in certain situations and what He has done with others, but that only tells you about Him. I highly recommend that you inform your relationship with Him by reading the Bible, but never mistake reading an ocean chart for sailing on the ocean! Read all about Him and those who knew Him while He was physically present on Earth; read and talk with others who know Him and share together what He and all of you talk about. Get to know Him as Paul was desiring to do.
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now you have come to know God.” (Galatians 4:8-9)
“It is one thing to understand a theology of God. It is quite another to experience God in real life.” Bruce Smith