Thursday, March 4, 2010

Yeah, He knows that too

Having established that He's trustworthy I asked my wife which attribute to study next.  She came up with His omniscience.  I don't know about you, but the idea of an all-knowing God is a bit overwhelming to me.  Read the following excerpt:

"1. God is omniscient. Omniscience means that God knows everything, and this includes the knowledge not only of things that actually happen but also of things which might happen. This kind of knowledge God had by nature and without the effort of learning. Jesus claimed omniscience when He said, “If the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes” (Mt 11:21). Here is a display of the knowledge of things that might have happened. God “telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Ps 147:4), and “known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world” (Ac 15:18).
The practical ramifications of the omniscience of God are many. Think, for instance, what this means in relation to the eternal security of the believer. If God knows all, then obviously nothing can come to light subsequent to our salvation which He did not know when He saved us. There were no skeletons in the closet which He did not know about when He offered to give us eternal salvation. Think again what omniscience means when something tragic occurs in our lives. God knows and has known all about it from the beginning and is working all things out for His glory and our ultimate good. Consider what omniscience ought to mean in relation to living the Christian life. Here is Someone who knows all the pitfalls as well as the ways to be happy and who has offered to give us this wisdom. If we would heed what He says then we could avoid a lot of trouble and experience a lot of happiness." - Ryrie, C.C. (1995). A survey of Bible doctrine. Chicago: Moody Press.

It seems to me that the knowledge spoken of in the excerpt is a factual "knowing."  Said another way, God knows all the details.  In my mind, as amazing as that is, I believe there is another aspect of His omniscience that I want to address, namely that knowledge, that knowing, that comes from experience.  Let me better explain what I mean:  when one lady speaks to a man about labor pains he understands and "knows" that giving birth causes serious discomfort, however, never having given birth himself, the man is in no position to know the pain.  Let one mother talk to another and the "knowing" they share about the experienced pain is a deeper form of knowing.  Does that make sense?

I would offer that the Lord not only knows you, He knows you.  Psalm 139 is a beautiful description of the kind of knowing His omniscience brings.  His is the knowledge of the creator, the deepest knowing available as you are here because of His creativity, His design, His Holy will.  Take that to its logical conclusion:  is there anything about you that He does not know both factually and experientially?  Your character, your thoughts, your ideas, your habits, your words, your wishes, your deepest darkest secrets...all of it.

A great example of being known by the Father is how the Lord took care of Hagar even after she was treated so poorly by both Sarai and Abram.  Basically Sarai gives Hagar to Abram (Genesis 16) so they can have a son, Hagar gets pregnant and begins to despise Sarai, Hagar gets sent away, and finds herself in the desert on her own.  The angel of the Lord meets her, tells her to go back to Sarai and submit to her.  The angel doesn't stop there.  He promises that Hagar will bear a son, that the boy will grow up to be a "donkey of a man" and be at odds with all his brothers.  Hagar actually names God as "El-Roi" or "The God Who Sees me."  How would you like to be the servant who was handed to the master to be his bed partner then shunned and banished after accomplishing the duty for which you were designated?  How would you like to be alone in the desert with no provision for you?  Would you cry out to the Lord, "Father, why me?  Where are you?  Have you forgotten me?"  He not only knew about the events, He came along side and gave Hagar a promise because he also knew her heart.

Let me take you for a minute to Mark 2.  You'll recall the paralytic who was carried by his four friends to see Jesus.  The home was so crowded they had to make a hole in the roof and lower their friend down to the center of the room.  Do you remember the need that Jesus first addressed?  Take a look at Mark 2 and you'll see that the first thing Jesus does is forgive the man's sins.  Jesus sees the faith of the four friends (who I have to assume were there wanting a physical healing) and says to the man, "Son, your sins are forgiven."  How many times have you thought you needed one thing, i.e. a trip to the bookstore or a DQ Blizzard, only to realize that you've met the wrong need?  Jesus saw past what He saw with His eyes and met the true need.  So, 1, Jesus sees the need of the paralytic.  Next, what does Jesus see without a word ever leaving the lips of the Pharisees?  Exactly!  He knows what they're thinking!!  Does that not blow you away?  So, 2, Jesus knows what others are thinking without the need for them to voice their thoughts.  You'll catch Jesus knowing the thoughts of the Pharisees in Matthew 12:25 as well.

Here's another example of Jesus knowing everything.  Look in John 1:47,48 and read about Jesus' interaction with Nathanael.  How about how He dealt with Thomas?  He knew what Thomas told the other disciples about his lack of belief.  Jesus knew who would betray Him.  Jesus knew that Peter was going to disown Him.  The Bible is absolutely full of examples of His omniscience.  I encourage you to take a look.

I'm going to move away now from the textual support of His omniscience and try to apply that in my life for a minute.  He knew I would be born on the 15th of September; He planned for my birth that day; He gave me my parents, brother and sister; He knew I would marry my wife.  He knows what will happen five minutes from now.  He knew I would not fly for the navy; He knew my youngest brother would die; He knew that I would go "to a distant land" and act in ways which would provide no evidence of my salvation.  He knew when He created this world that we would fall, that sin and death would taint His creation, that His Son would have to die to pay the price of redemption.  I often think if I could see the future I would use that power to avoid pain, suffering and difficulty.  He used that power to carry through with His plan anyway knowing that it would give His grace, mercy and love center stage and bring glory to Himself though the life, death, and resurrection of His Son.

I serve a Father who knew I would put nails in His Son's hands, in His feet, yet He sent Jesus anyway.  I serve a Father who knows me, who sees me, who knows my needs even before I do, who recognizes the real need and moves to meet it.  I serve a Father who not only factually knows what the effects of sin are on creation and on me personally, but One who experientially knows those effects.  I serve a Father who intentionally sent His Son to be tempted like we are, to hunger like I do, who thirsts like a do; a Father not content to empathize, but a Father who can sympathize.  Omniscience is more than a lot of "knowing"; it means I'm seen by my Father.

Lord, if there is anything in here that does not line up with your word, please forgive the injection of opinion.  Stir our hearts to verify everything we see or read with your Holy Spirit and Your Word.  Thank You for loving us, thank You for seeing us, thank You for Your willingness to experience the humanity You created so that there is no room for us to argue that You somehow just don't understand.  I love you, Father.  In Jesus' name, amen.

1 comment:

  1. i love how you are building a structure of confidence, reality and belief in the God we serve.