(POINT 2: KNOW GOD YOURSELF).
One common thing revealed in the lives of those studied previously (see here) who remained strong, courageous and victorious over life’s challenges and holding unto God to the end is the personal knowledge each of them had of God is as revealed in their words and actions.
Joseph’s anchor statements of his knowledge of God can be seen in Genesis 39:9c; 41: 51-52; 45: 5-8. Job’s statements in Job 19:25-27, and Apostle Paul’s anchor statement as sited in 2 Timothy 1:12 These declarations are definitely not mere surface or superficial statements but proclamations from the depth of the hearts based on their personal knowledge and understanding of who God is. God was a vibrant reality to them!
Unfortunately, this cannot be said of many in Christendom these days. It is pathetic to note that while most Christians even if woken from their sleep can say virtually everything about their denomination’s founders, G.O, Pastors and every other person connected to them they can hardly say any tangible thing about God who they claim to be their father and God. This is because they have little or no knowledge of Him. The understanding some have are based on what their pastors told them God is or what the gospel artists sing about God. Although, what one knows about God through others is good, but such knowledge is not enough and cannot sustain in times of life’s storms and challenges.
Knowing God goes beyond knowing that He exists or just knowing a few things about Him. It involves knowing Him in person by embracing His Gracious Salvation through His son Jesus Christ, understanding what each of His attributes implies and believing them to be for you (Isaiah 43:10). God must be a reality in one’s life for one to be able to face life’s challenges.
NOT KNOWING GOD – WHAT IS LEADS TO
Lack of personal knowledge of God could be said to be the reason why many Christians are easily deceived, fleeced of their hard-earned money and held in captivity by con pastors who capitalized on their ignorance. It is the reason people run helter-skelter from pillar to post looking for help from whom there is none in time of life’s storms. It is also the reason why many are powerless, weak, fearful, afflicted and being tossed up and down and deceived commit suicide by Satan and his cohorts from the kingdom of darkness. It is still the reason why there is so much evil and wickedness perpetuated against fellow humans by people who claim to be Christians. It is still the same reason why many have become victims of their circumstances instead of victors over their circumstances. It is still the same reason a genuine anointed servant of God would go seeking for powers from the occult. What a pathetic situation! Did God not say in His word that “Therefore my people have gone into captivity because they have no knowledge; their honorable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.” Isaiah 5:13
IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
The importance of each individual Christian having a personal knowledge of God cannot be overemphasized. Knowledge of God is the greatest need of all of us in our Christian Faith right now for very obvious reasons among which are:
- God desires our knowledge of Him above all of our religious pieties, rites, gifts and offering. “For I desire mercy, and not sacrifices; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6: 6). The knowledge we have of God determines our level of love, obedience, and dependence (1 John 2:3-4). Those who know Him better love fellow human beings (Jeremiah 22:16, 1 John 3:17).
- It is in the possession of knowledge of our Father and Lord Jesus Christ that we get to know and understand our own identity. We are the sons of the Most High God invested with so much power and authority as revealed. However, the manifestation of these powers in us greatly depends on our understanding of the workings of God’s power in us. We can only understand our authority through the knowledge we have of the owner and giver of such powers – the Almighty God, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Only when we do this can we do great exploits (Daniel 11:32). This is the reason Apostle Paul prayed for the Church as seen in Ephesians 3:14-19
- Furthermore, we are bound to come across trials and temptations. The trials of our faith would be such that our love, heart, commitment, dedication, dependency, and obedience to God will be tried. In the process, the hand of the Lord shall be heavy upon everything spiritual, physically and mentally to prove our hearts. It is however great to know that in times of trials, God never allows us to be tempted beyond what we can cope with (I Corinthians 10:13) and that God never gives up His children up to death.
- We are in the perilous end-times where terrible things are happening as revealed in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. The time we are in now is such that no one is even certain of what will happen in the next moment. Tragedies here and there, earthquake, flood, accidents on the airways, railways, waterways and road, religious intolerance, sudden death, strange ailment and diseases, chronic poverty, and other strange things abound. The love of many has waxed cold, divorce is on the increase, deceit, cruelty and man’s inhumanity to man are the order of the day. Ethnic, national and civil wars are being fought all over the world. All these occurrences make the heart sad, sorrowful, dejected, discouraged, dismayed, full of anxiety, downcast, depressed, broken-hearted and depressed. Only a personal knowledge of God soothes and strengthens the heart (Isaiah 33:6). It is only the knowledge of God that can stabilize one’s heart in the face of betrayed love, broken relationship, infidelity, unchastely, barrenness, joblessness, sickness, disability, and death of one of the partners. Knowing the unchanging love of God, which passes all understanding, surely calms one’s heart.
Things are even worse in the Church circle as iniquity has crept into the Church. With the influx of false teachers, pastors, evangelists and prophets, cultism, mysticism, magic, strange powers, witchcraft, divination and other demonic rituals have been subtly introduced into the churches. Many visual things are subtly used to represent God, such things as anointing oil, anointed handkerchief, apron, chaplets, laminated pictures of pastors and wives are what people carry about with them. Many Pastors have tactfully replaced the Holy Bible with their authored devotional books for their members. Many deliverance pastors have made a mess of God’s gracious salvation that comes only through faith in Jesus, through strange deliverance prayers. They make their followers believe that until they starve in the name of fasting for endless nights and days, have many night vigils, bathe in special rivers, make prayers using certain objects and articles, involve in sex rump with them, drink and eat poisonous things and do some weird things. 2 Timothy 3:12-13, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived”. In situations like this only personal knowledge of God would prevent one from falling victims.
- Apart from all these, we have an adversary, an arch enemy of our soul and a tireless imposter of God, called Satan the Devil. He goes about impersonating and imitating God’s works and words with the intention of confusing the ignorant with the aim of stealing, destroying and killing his would-be victims and taking them along with himself to Hell. This he achieves through deceit, lies and his ability to transform himself as an angel of light through subtle ways (2 Corinthians 11:14). For this reason, it is very important that we know our God personally to be able to distinguish Him and everything of Him from that of the imposter. The personal knowledge one has of the true God will help us to discern, recognized and differentiate the truth from the imitation or fake. We need to know God so as to be able to resist Satan our adversary who is fighting tooth and nail to destroy our faith and eternal destiny (I Peters 5:8) “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walked about, seeking whom to devour”.
From what has been written above you see that not having personal knowledge of God is at our own peril because life’s challenges are all about you. Often times, it is what you face all alone and in such situation it is what you know personally of God that will be the anchor for your soul. Jesus knowing what the problems the disciplines would face after his departure asked them “who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15) Jesus is asking you that same question now, “Who do you say I am, what do you know of me?”
BIBLICAL ACCOUNTS OF THOSE WHO HAD A PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF GOD.
Only a deep personal knowledge of God could have made Joseph a seventeen-year-old boy, all alone in a strange land to maintain his sanity, purity, dignity, endure all hardship and not give up on life in the face of deep hatred, envy, betrayal, desertion and being sold into slavery by siblings, loneliness, frame up, injustice, imprisonment and other things he passed through.
Only a deep personal knowledge of God could have made Job worship and not curse God, remained sane, comported and maintained his integrity in the face of total wanton collapse of his dynasty, total destruction of his property, death of all one’s children, and serious skin affliction and taunting by his wife and friends.
Only the personal knowledge of Jesus could have enabled Apostle Paul not to renounce Jesus but endured all his persecutions and sufferings in stripes, in chains and being beaten with rods above measure, imprisonments, stoning, hunger, nakedness, thirst, shipwrecks, in perils by own countrymen, by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren. He knew Jesus and ministered through the knowledge he had of Him and he did great exploits. He knew the importance of personal knowledge of God and yearned for more saying; “That I may know Him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if at any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11).
Victory over life’s challenges depends on the knowledge we have of Jesus through whom we are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37).
Only a personal knowledge of God could have helped King David out of his many troubles. The level of the knowledge of God possessed by King David is of a great interest to us here. His knowledge supersedes all others. He knew God to a very large extent. He knew God’s nature, natural attributes, moral attributes, nature of His works, His words, His salvation, and redemption, His name, His ways, His acts, His might, power and strength, His terrific acts, His titles, His man and many more.
It was the knowledge he had of God as the most powerful and great deliverer that made him challenge and conquer Goliath as his statement in 1 Samuel 17:37, 45-48, Psalm 43:7-8 and Psalm 32:7 revealed. King David experienced great suffering in war and exile in the hands of King Saul and his own children and tribesmen. He knew and understood what having God as one’s God and Father is and could say; “The Lord is the portion my inheritance and of my cup; thou maintainest my lot” (Psalm 16:5; Psalm 56:9). Definitely, it means David knew all of Him is all of God, all God has is at his disposal. This is a confession from a heart that knew, loved, accepted, relied on, depended and trusted in God. It is a knowledge that acknowledges the fact that God and himself are one. Yes, this is because God lives within us. Knowing that God lives within us makes us discover within ourselves capabilities of which we have never dreamt and awareness of life and a fulfillment of joy beyond our fondest hope. He also had the knowledge that God loved him personally and that He will never do anything to hurt him neither will He allow any evil to befall him. Psalm 147:11, “And the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear Him, in those that hope in His mercy”.
It is this assurance too that made David be able to use possessive pronoun “My” when addressing God which no one before him did, as can be seen in all his Psalms especially in Psalm 18:1-2. “I will love thee, o Lord, my strength, the Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in whom I will trust, my buckler and the horn of my salvation and my high tower. The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear, what can man do unto me?”
Trust? Yes! Boldness? Yes! Definitely, when one considers the wickedness of man, it takes only a man that knows God and His power to say, “What can man do unto me?” David is such a man!
His Psalm 23 reveals his deep knowledge of God as His shepherd. Psalm 121 reveals his deep knowledge and understanding of God as his helper, while Psalm 91 reveals his deep understanding of God as his protector. He is conscious of the attributes of God’s protective presence of divine love that is within, without and all around us. Keeping us
It is a knowledge that knows that all the battles and warfare in our lives belongs to God to fight (Exodus 14:14, Psalm 108:13, 2 Chronicles 32:8).
This is, in fact, the secret of all his victories. Never was he afraid to face any enemy, situation, or circumstances no matter the magnitude or dimension for he knew the Lord Almighty, Man of battle, a great God, greater, bigger than every enemy of our soul and all men. Not once did he enter any battle with confidence in the size or strength of his army, for he knew there is no deliverance in them as he revealed in Psalm 33:16-19
Victory depends on God (Psalm 71:16). This is the source of the rich spiritual heritage of serenity and peace of mind and heart with God that David had. (Psalm 62:7, Samuel 22:33, Psalm 20:7-8).
He knew that the making of a man, the fulfillment of a desire, victory, promotion, wealth, is not by a man’s making but by God’s (Psalm 18:32-34, Psalm 18:29, Psalm, 60:12, Psalm 68:35). Of a worthy note are his greatness, wealth and riches despite his humble background of being a shepherd and the least among his father’s children. This he did not achieve through his own power but by God’s as his statement in Psalm 18:35. One of the verses of his prayer to God in 1 Chronicle 29 clarifies this also.
David knew the excellence, greatness, blessedness, power, and might of God’s name, he knew God’s name to be a very strong tower, shelter and mighty weapon of destruction against the enemy. Hear this declaration of his as seen in Proverbs 18:10 and Psalm 44:5. “Through thee will we push down our enemies: Through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us”.
He knew God answers prayers and he prayed always (Psalm 34:15 & 17).
He knew the importance of knowing God intimately and therefore advised Solomon to also know God (1 Chronicles 28:9) “… my son, know thou god of thy father and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind…” This is the truth that we are admonished to know of, so as to be free – John 8:32. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”. God is the Truth, so know the truth. Be strong by drawing strength from Him to face any situation!
HOW TO KNOW GOD
- Get to know our Lord God and His Christ by spending time studying the Holy Scripture (John 5:39). The Bible is the authentic book of God; it contains the description of the person of God, His character, names, nature, works, words, ways, promises, laws, ordinances, statutes, commandments, and testimonies of God. Know God’s infallible words of life so as to sail through life’s turbulent waters.
- Get to know God our powerful creator by studying and considering His works in creation as King David did. Romans 1: 19-20.
- Embrace God’s salvation and know Jesus, who alone has the power to reveal God (Matthew 11:27). Know Jesus the express image of God and power, and wisdom of God so as to know God’s wonderful characters (2 Corinthians 4:4).
- Know the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the living God, the power of God to the believers, for it is not by our power or might that we can confront and overcome challenges, problems, situations, and all forces militating against our lives 1 Corinthians 2: 10-13
GET TO KNOW GOD WHO HAS PUT IN PLACE MANY THINGS FOR YOU TO KNOW HIM, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR NOT KNOWING HIM (Romans 1: 19-20). GOD BLESS YOU