Knowing God Vs. knowing about God
“I had heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.“ – Job 42:5 NLT
This is it. The end of the story of Job. He has suffered much – at the hands of Satan, but also as a result of the words of his friends. But as the book comes to an end, we find Job with his fortunes, family, fellowship, and future restored. God has spoken and condemned Eliphaz and his friends as having spoken our of turn. In fact, God tells them, ” you have not been right in what you said about me” (Job 42:7 NLT). He commands them to offer burnt offerings for their sin and to have Job pray for them. If they don’t, God would be forced to deal with them according to their folly.
But the most important part of the story of Job seems to be what he learns about his God. After all is said and done, and God has spoken, Job responds:
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’ I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand–from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry–forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” – Job 42:2-6 MSG
Up until this point, Job’s understanding of God was based on what he had heard about God. His was an academic, intellectual understanding of God. And it showed up in his diatribes against God. But now that He had met God face to face, he realized that he was wrong. He confessed, “I was talking about things I did not understand, things far too wonderful for me” (Job 42:3 NLT). He had not had a personal, experiential knowledge of God, but a disconnected, distant, and purely academic understanding. As a result, he spoke of what he did not know. But now, he truly knew God. He had experienced God. He had heard from God. And it changed his view of God.
And isn’t that what God is always trying to do – reveal Himself to men? He wants us to know Him, not just know about Him. He wants us to experience Him – in all His power, mercy, grace, and love. That is why He sent His Son – as a living revelation of God on earth in the form of a man. In Jesus, we see the character of God come alive – up close and personal. “For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body” (Colossians 2:9 NLT). “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ” (Colossians 1:19 NLT).
God wants us to know Him, not just know about Him. Yet, for too many of us, our knowledge of God is what we have heard, read, or assumed. Our understanding of God is limited to what we have been taught or told. It lacks the personal, experiential touch. Our God ends up being distant and, at times, a little difficult to know. But God wants us to know Him. He wants us to see Him in our everyday life. Over in Psalm 46:10, He tells the Psalmist, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10 NET). That word “recognize” means to know, realize, see, find out, discern, or to know by experience. God wants us to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He truly is who He says He is. He wants us to know by experience that He is God. It is in the daily experiences of life that God wants to reveal Himself. In our trials and difficulties. In those impossible situations that come our way. In our relationships, finances, health, homes, workplaces, and the moments of doubt and fear. Job didn’t come to know God because God blessed him. That didn’t take place until later. Job came to know God when he actually heard from God. God spoke to Him. God revealed the truth about Himself. He gave Job a glimpse of His power and majesty by comparing Himself to His own creation. The interesting thing is, He never gave Job an explanation of what had happened. He never defended Himself to Job. He didn’t have to. He was God. He simply reminded Job who it was he was complaining to. He reminded Job of His power and sovereign will. God doesn’t owe us an explanation, but we owe Him our reverence and respect. He doesn’t have to defend or explain Himself to us. He simply reveals Himself to us in His Word and through His Son. That’s enough. And as a result, like Job, we should say, “I was talking about things I did not understand, things far too wonderful for me” (Job 42:3 NLT).
Father, You are too wonderful. You are too much for my small brain to understand. Yet You reveal Yourself to me every day through Your Word. I can learn about You and I can experience You in my daily life. I can see You at work, if I just stop striving long enough to catch a glimpse of You. Thank You for showing Yourself to me in my circumstances. Give me an increasing ability to see You more and more clearly with each passing day. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men