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Chapter 1
You Can Know God

 

This chapter title contains one of the most important messages ever given to us in the Holy Scriptures.

"You and I can know God!"

Be awakened to the fact that,

"You can know God!"

Consider the depth of meaning in the statement,

"You can know God!

It fills me with awe when I meditate on the incredible truth,

"You can know God!"

Doesn't it amaze you that the eternal God, our Creator, will allow us to know Him?

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Whenever I ponder the magnitude of this truth, inevitably, I become conscious of my unworthiness.

Some years back, I felt that I should give serious reflection to who I really was. I recognized that I needed to evaluate my attitudes, my actions, and the thoughts and spirit of my inner being. I also wanted to determine, from my perspective, what eternity should be like for a person like me. These thoughts were not formed in haste. Rather, I searched my life at length seeking a complete grasp of the truth.

Through this soul searching, I came to realize, at least to some degree, the wretchedness of my condition. The pride, selfishness, anger, sordid desires, laziness, lack of love, etc., that characterized my life, came vividly into my mind. It was then that I thought, "What kind of punishment does a person like me deserve?" The answer came slowly and painfully, "You should suffer forever!" Almost simultaneous to this realization, I was

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filled with wonder at the mercy of God. It was difficult to comprehend that God was not going to send me to Hell, the place of eternal suffering. But, instead, He was going to give me the blessing of living forever with Him in Heaven. It was equally amazing to realize that He loved me, and wanted my love.

To this day, whenever I am reminded of these truths, my heart wells up with praise. My physical reactions are always the same; I want to fall flat on my face, and I want to raise my hands to God in worship, all at the same time.

King David described his feelings when he wrote in Psalms 117,

"O praise the Lord, all ye nations, praise Him, all ye people. For His merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the Lord endureth forever. Praise ye the Lord." (KJV)

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Everyone needs God's mercy. Jeremiah 17:9 says,

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it?"

Romans 3:10-18 says,

"As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes." (KJV)

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We all deserve eternal suffering in Hell, the lake of fire and sulphur. How amazing it is then that God offers us His mercy and kindness. Certainly, this truth should cause us to become humble, rejoicing people.

For a moment now, let's give some thought to your life. You, the first word in this four word chapter title.

Who are you? Who are you when no one sees you? What are you like in your inner being where no one but you and God can see? In your opinion, if you were to be totally honest, what kind of eternity do you deserve? Ah, that is the problem, how to be honest, to be completely objective. And then there is the question, "What standard should I be judged by?" "If I compare myself to people I know, I'm not so bad." Is that what you think?

It is true, many people use the lives of others as a gauge to measure their own. Unfortunately, no mortal will ever make the decision concerning where we spend eternity. God alone is our judge.

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I recognize, as we converse here, that I don't know you at all; so, obviously, I don't know what you believe. Incidentally, when I use the word believe, I am speaking of complete trust, to the point that, the person who believes is willing to commit their entire life to that which they believe in.

Maybe you believe that there is no God. You may believe that we evolved (from what is the question?). If that is what you believe, then, from your ultimate perspective, you can only look forward to what this life offers, and you will end up in the ground, no better off than an animal.

There is not room in this book to debate with you whether or not there is a God. I will simply say that I find it difficult to understand how a truly objective person could take that position. If you sincerely seek to know truth, I challenge you to read the Bible

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through, from cover to cover, with a genuine desire to know what it says. As you begin, ask God to make Himself real to you. Without question, He will.

By now you are probably wondering why the you of this chapter title is getting so much attention. The answer is, I deeply desire that you experience the blessing of knowing God. but, there is no hope for that until you are willing to approach Him humbly, recognizing your unworthiness. Furthermore, you must believe, with the commitment of your life, that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. Actually, all of these factors must grip your life with such intensity that you love Him deeply and long to be with Him, so much so that you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.

The criteria has been established. Deuteronomy 4:29 says,

"You will find Him (God) if you look for Him with all your heart and with all your soul." (NIV)

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King David wrote in Psalms 42:1,2,

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, Oh God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God." (NIV)

When your heart begins to long for God, then you are ready for the second word in this chapter title, "You can know God" What a revelation it is! You and I can know God. Oh, it's time to shout, "Thank you God! Your mercy and love amaze me! I will worship you forever!"

You can know God! Assuming you have met the criteria, you can know God!

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James 4:8b says, "Come near to God and He will come near to you." (NIV)

In Revelation 3:20 God says,

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will go in and eat with Him, and He with me." (NIV)

Obviously, the Holy Spirit has used figurative words here as He has guided John, the writer of Revelation, to convey that God wants to visit with us on a relationship basis known only to close friends. Can you imagine yourself, sitting at a table, eating and visiting with God?

It is necessary to state, at this point, that I have no way of knowing to what degree God will reveal Himself to you, nor do I know how He will do it. I can only promise you, on the authority of His written word, if you meet the criteria, He will reveal Himself. He has promised that He will, many places in the scriptures (1 Chronicles 28:9, 11 Chronicles 15:2, 11 Chronicles 15:15, Psalms 14:5, Jeremiah 29:13,14, Malachi 3:6, Acts 17:27, etc.).

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In John 4:24 it is written,

"God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." (NIV)

In other words, God is not flesh and blood like we are. He is spirit, and, if we want to worship Him, we must do so in spirit. Now, I don't know about you, but, for me, this is beyond the realm of my natural abilities. I am not aware of anything in my life that can function in the world of the Holy Spirit without the supernatural enablement of God. He alone can make it possible for me to know Him and to worship Him in spirit. I am totally dependent on Him, and I suspect that you are too.

It is encouraging to realize that, although it is we who must do the seeking, it is He who must do the revealing. It is also good to know that He is willing to reveal Himself to us.

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Please don't limit God as to how He reveals Himself. Remember that He is your creator. The choice of method is certainly His concern. He will reveal Himself in His time and in His way. Whatever you experience, as He makes Himself known, will bring pleasure that will sometimes be difficult to handle. Such has been the case in my life, and in that of many others.

It is very important to be patient. After all, why should God respond immediately, just because we speak. However, be assured that he will respond to the person who really wants to visit with Him, and who therefore, persists in that effort.

In Luke, chapter eleven, beginning with the fifth verse, Jesus tells a parable which indicates the need for our persistence. This is a paraphrase of the story He told:

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"Suppose you have a friend, and you go to his house at midnight, and say, 'Please lend me three loaves of bread. We have company from a long way off and I have no food for them'. Then your friend replies, 'We are all in bed. I can't get anything now. Don't bother us at this hour of the night.' Then Jesus makes His point by saying, 'Even though he won't get you the bread because of his friendship, yet, if you persist in your request, he will soon get up and give you as much as you need.'"

This is a beautiful illustration. It shows vividly that God expects us to keep at it in our effort to seek Him with all our heart and with all our soul.

The knowledge that God will reveal Himself causes my heart to well up rejoicing. "Glory to your holy name, God! You are worthy of praise! Oh, how I love you! Glory! Glory! Glory!

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You can know God!

You can know God!

You can know God!

You can know God!

Wow! What a statement! You and I can know God! Do you grasp it's meaning? I'm sure I only begin to understand it.

The Bible term, "know" sometimes had the same intimacy as that experienced between a man and his wife in their physical relationship. Certainly, the scriptural meaning to the term "knowing God" does not have the same connotation, except that a very close spiritual interaction and deep commitment is implied. A God-like love is indicated in which each desires the highest good for the other. Also, there is an intense need to be close, and to be continuously together. How can it be possible that God would love us like this? It is absolutely amazing, but true.

"You can know God!"

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Ah! This is the heart of the matter! To this point, we have primarily devoted our thoughts to our relationship with God, and that is important. But there is always the danger of being too preoccupied with ourselves. In fact, I fear that this tends to be the norm. If God's people would just focus their attention on His greatness they would soon understand that He is totally able to meet their needs and solve their problems.

You can know God! Just think of it! We can know the God of this universe! We need to meditate on His greatness until we are stricken with awe by it.

It was Solomon who wrote in Proverbs, chapter one, verse seven,

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, ....." (NIV)

The word "fear" as it is used here, has often been interpreted to mean "awesome respect". However, the more I understand the scriptures, the more convinced I am that "awesome respect" is a watered down interpretation of the word "fear". I really believe that God intended it to be understood as it reads, "fear". Possibly an other way of saying it would be, "awesome fear" or "reverential fear". Therefore, I believe Solomon is saying, until we have an awesome or reverential fear of God, we don't know very much.

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When I consider the greatness of God, it is obvious that Solomon is right. Until we become so stricken with His greatness that we are compelled to fall trembling at His feet in worship, our knowledge is very limited.

There are three points which show the reasonableness of Solomon's statement

1. God is the creator of the entire universe.

2. God is holy.

3. God will judge every person who has ever lived.

Anyone who does not stand in awe of the one who has created the universe reveals their lack of knowledge. When a person consider the holiness of God, they display ignorance if they do not fall trembling at His feet in worship. To understand that God is my judge, and has the power to send me to Heaven or Hell, if I do not have an awesome or reverential fear of Him

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because of this at least, obviously, I know very little. It is difficult to portray a lack of knowledge more vividly than to ignore God's authority.

When we honestly consider God's greatness, we should not only be filled with reverential fear, but our hearts should respond with love and worship.

What a wonder it is that you and I can know God! May His name be praised! He is worthy to receive glory and honor and power!

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