January 5

Knowing God

Bible Reading: Psalm 19

Some forty years ago, when I was serving as a submariner aboard the USS Omaha and stationed in Pearl Harbor, I received a gift in the mail.  It was a book entitled, “Knowing God,” written by J. I. Packer.  My Uncle Bob Emrich sent it to me.  Included was his note, “Jerry…Believing the most important thing about a man is his thinking about God, I hope this will be profitable for you.  With love and prayers for a Merry Christmas, Bob.”  Indeed, the book was profitable, but the note even more so—because it put into my mind an important thought which God used to change me.

Bob’s statement was true—but how are we to know God?  At the time, I didn’t know much of anything about God.  I had no idea how to grow in my understanding of the nature of God.  Theologians speak of God’s revelation to man in two different categories: general revelation and special revelation.  Today’s Bible reading in Psalm 19 speaks of both.  By means of general revelation God reveals something of Himself and His nature to all men through His created order.  Special revelation is God’s manifestation of Himself to individual persons, enabling them to enter into a redemptive relationship with Him.

In Psalm 19:1-6 we read how God communicates truth regarding Himself through His creation.  David, the Psalmist, sees the stars, moon, and sun and declares the “heavens declare the glory of God” (19:1).  Though these created things don’t literally speak, there is a sense in which their voice is heard throughout the earth (19:4).  The Apostle Paul said much the same when he wrote of how “God’s invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature” are revealed to us through God’s creation (Romans 1:20).  As good and necessary as general revelation is, it still lacks power by itself to lead a person into a saving knowledge of God in Jesus.

Psalm 19:7-11 speaks to the special revelation unveiled to us in the Word of God.  David makes six bold statements regarding the Word in which He highlights the preeminent value of the Word when it comes to knowing God.  The Word alone has the capacity to revive the soul, make wise the simple, rejoice the heart, and enlighten the eyes.  In the progress of revelation, we begin to understand the Word has the capacity, through the gospel message, to lead us to salvation.  Having been born of the Spirit with life from above, we are thereafter Spirit indwelt to understand truths which had previously eluded us (Cf. 1 Corinthians 2:12-16).

How privileged we are as believers in Christ!  We have ready access to the Scriptures.  We are indwelt by the Divine Teacher (Cf. 1 John 2:27).  In the subject of knowing God, we’ve an inexhaustible course of study, which can change our thinking and how we live—to the glory of God!

Heavenly Father. How privileged and blessed we are to know You through the saving work of Jesus! You’ve privileged us to possess Your Word, which has worked through the centuries to lead countless multitudes to know You, and then to grow in their knowledge of You through its truth! You’ve indwelt us with the best of Teachers, who instructs us that Your truth might be applied to the deepest parts of our being. Grant that we will grow in Christlike maturity and always long for truth, as we yearn to know You better. Amen.

“More about Jesus let me learn

More of His Holy will discern

Spirit of God, my teacher be

Showing the things of Christ to me.”

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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