Have you ever learned something new about someone you’ve know for years and realized that you didn’t know them as well as you thought? I recently had breakfast with a friend of six years and realized that I hardly understood what type of work he does for a living. After learning more about his profession I was humbled to continue seeking to know him versus accepting the knowledge I had of him as being complete.
In John chapter seventeen and verse three our Saviour prayed on our behalf, “This is life eternal, that they might know You, the one true God, and the One who You have sent.” To know the Lord, as He is, is the deep desire of our Heavenly Father. It is also the key to the emptiness that resides in each of us. For this reason, Satan attacks our knowledge of God and presents obstacles in our path of growing to knowing Him. In Genesis chapter three we are told that Adam and Eve hid after they heard the voice of the Lord walking in the Garden of Eden. Notice that they experienced being afraid of God after they had sinned by eating from the forbidden tree which shows that sin affects our perception of the One who demonstrated His unconditional love for us.
In the work of salvation, we are shown the vulnerability of our Heavenly Father as He pursues mending the broken union with us like a husband seeking to win the affections of his wife. In the book of Hosea, the prophet was instructed to marry a prostitute for the purpose of illustrating the status of the relationship between God and His people, Israel. Despite the nations’ unfaithfulness, notice the deep desire of our Father to reunite with them: “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’ you will no longer call me ‘my master.’” This beautiful verse in Hosea chapter two and verse sixteen reveals that God is not content with us knowing Him as ‘Master’ alone (lawgiver, judge, etc.) but He wants us to know Him in a more intimate way. He desires to be known by His people as a wife knows her husband which relates the idea of shared trust, commitment and interest. In order to accomplish this, a progressive knowledge of His character was needed for the Israelites back then and is needed for us today. Again, I emphasize the word progressive.
In Genesis chapter sixteen we are told of Hagar’s experience. Hagar, after bearing a child for Abraham, was evicted from her master’s home and left to figure life out on her own. While afraid, broken and depressed the Lord appeared to her and verse sixteen tells us of the progressive knowledge she gained from the experience: “And she called the name of Jehovah that spoke to her, You are a God that sees: for she said, Have I even here looked after him that sees me?” Of course she had heard of Abraham’s testimony about the God of creation while conversations and devotions were had around the house but that does not mean she had entered into her own relationship with Him. Remember what Job said after his difficult trials (Job 42:5): “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” This confirms that our experiences are opportunities to grow in our knowledge of God for ourselves and progressively know Him more personally. Hagar had not known Him as the One who looks beyond the stars of the universe, through the valleys of the earth’s surface and past the walls that divide the classes of society to see her, a slave woman with no home of her own and no reputation to be proud of. She was someone else’s property and probably unaware of her own identity as a human being. Nevertheless, the God of creation revealed that he numbered her tears, heard her cry and was concerned about her welfare as well as that of her son. She gained an experiential knowledge of Him that no one could take away and which needed no further validation.
According to Christianity.com:
“Throughout the Bible, people have given many names to or for God. Sometimes they were given in response to something God had done, other times they were to describe who he is. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular names of God.
Most familiar use Jehovah, a variant of Yahweh, which is translated into English as LORD. These are:
Jehovah Jireh: The LORD our provider (Genesis 22:14)
Jehovah Rapha: The LORD our Healer (Exodus 15:26)
Jehovah Nissi: The LORD our Banner (Exodus 17:15)
Jehovah Shalom: The LORD our Peace (Judges 6:24)
Jehovah Raah: The LORD our Shepherd (Psalms 23:1)
Jehovah Tsidkenu: The LORD our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6)
Jehovah Shammah: The LORD is Here (Ezekiel 48:35)
As we journey through life, it is our greatest privilege to know the Lord more personally each day. The more we open ourselves to Him is the greater our capacity of knowing Him increases. Challenges and hardships not only reveal us to ourselves but they reveal the opportunity to know God as Sustainer, Protector, Provider, Restorer, Comforter, Deliverer, Father and Friend.
I remember when I first realized that after growing up without a father I felt lonely on the inside. As I sat in the passenger seat on a city bus I remember praying, ‘God, I didn’t grow up with a father and I feel lonely.’ A short while later the words from Romans chapter eight and verse fifteen came to life before my eyes: “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” Prior to this, I had not known Him as Father but now I am grateful and comforted to be adopted as His son.
Heavenly Father, please help us to grow in our knowledge of You, Amen.