Knowing God

Psalm 46:10, “Cease striving and know that I am God;”

Information. It has been said that we live in an information age. The idea is that our current technological advances have made access to information easier than at any previous time in history. But to be honest? Age of information? I’m not so sure. I think a more accurate description would be the age of instant access. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not against information. And I’m certainly not against using computers. (Ummm… hello? I am blogging on one right now.) My problem revolves around the lax and lazy mentality that this instant access seems to have created in modern society. Having instant access to information might not necessarily be an advance. Sure, we can easily type words into a search engine but we are forfeiting real knowledge at the altars of convenience. Who needs to learn anything when all you need is Google? Facts become victim to a high-speed internet connection. But what happens if our precious computers crash? If the server goes down, we are all sunk. The real tragedy is that this fascination has led to the decline of knowledge. Who needs to actually know anything when all you really need is a wi-fi connection?

Let me be very clear on this point. Information is not the same as knowledge. (Especially as it relates to spiritual matters.) To be fair to the literal definition, information is a part of knowledge. But the sad reality is that you can have a head filled with information and your heart can still be completely void of true knowledge. As it relates to our  personal experience and understanding of God, what we want is knowledge not information. Intimacy should be our target. Still not clear on the point? Here’s a very simple illustration that will help highlight the main difference between information and knowledge. Information is focused on facts. Knowledge is focused on familiarity. Generally speaking, information is concerned with data and things. Knowledge is concerned with people.

Knowing God is far more than just knowing the right information. Remember the Pharisees? They knew the answers to all the right questions. Or at least they thought they did. But when the real test came they failed miserably. For all their information they had no true knowledge of God. They did not understand His character. They did not know His ways. They did not recognize His Son. What an incredible tragedy! These “men of God” had heads filled with facts but their hearts were void of faith. They had a tremendous wealth of information but they were bankrupt with regard to life-changing knowledge.

Psalm 46 is concerned with our response during times of trouble. Life can be hard, downright difficult at times. Adversity comes to us all. Bad things happen to good people. In the midst of trials, tribulation, testings and temptation the voice of God gives us clear direction and encouragement. No matter the circumstance we need not be afraid. God will be our very present help. No matter the situation we can stand in faith and victory. God is in our midst. No matter the need or opposition we will prevail. God fights on our behalf. He cannot and will not be defeated.

But here’s the thing. This hope is not built on information. Our strength during difficult times doesn’t come from having the right answers. Surviving the storm doesn’t happen because we have read the latest Christian bestseller or memorized all the major creeds and doctrinal positions. Many people can give you an answer to all the questions but when the real test comes they find out they don’t really know a thing. During the dark hour and the long night our great need is a viable faith not a collection of Biblical facts.

Our hope is built on knowledge of God. The great singular need in our lives is a personal, intimate relationship with our Creator, Our Father, Our Lord. Fellowship not just facts. Intimacy not just information. Knowing the Answer not just having memorized the answers. God tells us, “Cease striving and know that I am God;…” The question today is both simple and straightforward. Do you know Him as God? Do you really know Him? Imagine the Christian life as a target. The bullseye that we aim for is fellowship. The mark that we want to hit is intimacy. I talk to God. God talks to me. There is a familiarity, a closeness, a depth of passion.

Maybe you’ve never thought of God in those terms. But you should. It’s worth noting that the same word translated “know” here in Psalm 46:10 is used in other places in the OT as a euphemism to describe the sexual relationship between a husband and wife. In other words “knowing” someone is a deeply personal act. It involves vulnerability, the giving of oneself, and trust. From a Biblical standpoint it is a very sacred act, one whereby the two participants are joined together as one. They are no longer viewed as two separate people. That, my friend, is what God desires to have with each of us. He wants fellowship. He wants intimacy. He wants oneness. He wants for us to know Him. Stop settling for information. Begin to pursue knowledge. More specifically, pursue knowing God.