How Well Do You Know God?
Good News Magazine
May 1984
Volume: VOL. XXXI, NO. 5
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How Well Do You Know God?
Francis J Bergin  

God is no meaningless word or abstract "First Cause." He is a real Being with a magnificent personality!

   If I were to ask you whether you know God, what would be your answer? Probably, yes.
   Suppose I asked you a second question: Do you know God well? Then what would your answer be?
   Jesus Christ, praying to God the Father, said: "Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" (John 17:1-3).
   Did you grasp that? Knowing God is of supreme importance. It is life eternal!
   That's the purpose of this article — to offer some specific steps all of us can take to get to know God, and get to know Him well.

God is predictable

   If God is truly working with you — if He has directly intervened in your personal life — you'll find that God is easy to get to know.
   You'll find that God is predictable. The better you get to know God, the better you'll understand His attitude and actions in every circumstance.
   In Paul's epistle to Titus, we read of "God, who cannot lie," (Titus 1:1-2).
   Now there's a major characteristic of God: When you deal with Him, you know He will always tell you the truth. He is totally predictable.
   Jesus said, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30). This is a clear indication of just how well God knows everyone of us. He knows us down to the finest detail!

God's people know Him

   The great men and women of the Bible all knew God, and they knew Him well. Notice what David told Solomon: "As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts" (I Chronicles 28:9).
   David realized the importance of knowing God, and wisely advised his son to build a strong relationship with that great Being.
   Paul often talked about his relationship with God. His desire toward God was "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings" (Philippians 3:10). Paul cast everything else aside — everything else was worthless in comparison to knowing God.
   Moses, too, like David and Paul, realized the importance of drawing close to God in a personal way. Moses beseeched his Creator: "Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that. I may know You" (Exodus 33:13).
   Of course, Moses already knew God, but he wanted to know Him better. Continue with verse 18: "And he said, 'Please, show me Your glory.'" Moses was, in effect, saying, "I want to get to know you in a fuller and more complete sense." God responded by allowing Moses a glimpse of His incredibly radiant and magnificent body.

God's unique characteristics

   How can you increase your awareness of God? One way is to consider some of His unique characteristics. Although there are dozens we could discuss, let's concentrate on just three basic elements.
   The words describing these three basic characteristics of God all begin with the Latin root omni, which means "all" or "fulfillment of." Omni indicates the completeness or perfection of God's characteristics.
   The first one we'll look at is omnipotence. God can do anything.
   Job had been a righteous man, and he knew God. But he didn't know God as well as he should have. Job had to suffer intensely to learn a vitally important lesson. Job finally told God, "I know that You can do everything" (Job 42:2).
   However difficult circumstances may be, we must remember that God can do everything, and that He is working out everything for our good (Romans 8:28).
   The second characteristic of God we'll consider is that God is omnipresent.
   God said to the prophet Jeremiah: "'Am I a God near at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, so I shall not see him?' says the Lord; 'Do I not fill heaven and earth?'" (Jeremiah 23:23-24).
   Wherever you are, you have the opportunity to talk to God and get to know Him. God is everywhere.
   Third, God is omniscient. The psalmist wrote: "He counts the number of the stars; he calls them all by name" (Psalm 147:4).
   At night, the naked human eye can see some 600 light years into outer space. The world's largest and most powerful telescopes enable us to see up to 7,000 light years away. But isn't it interesting, as scientists look through their telescopes at things they previously didn't know existed, that God already knows exactly where all the stars are? God even knows the stars' names! And God knows much, much more that humans haven't even dreamed about. God knows everything that can be known at this time.

Your relationship with God

   Here is the real thrust of our discussion of God's tremendous characteristics: Knowing God should make a tremendous difference in the way we live.
   Put more bluntly, if the way you live is not tremendously different from the way of those who don't claim to know God, then maybe you don't know Him! You may want to know Him, but the fact that your life isn't drastically different from the way it was before you came to know God makes a frightening statement. You are responsible for what you know.

A different way of life

   Let's reconsider what Job said to God:
   "I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know... I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You'" (Job 42:3, 5).
   Job thought he knew God well. He didn't. But when, with God's help, Job realized this, he was moved to change.
   Repentance has been defined as turning and going the opposite way from the way one has been traveling. Job said, in effect: "Now that I see the truth, I'm changing. I'm going to be different — I'm going the other way."
   Every man and woman in the Bible who got to know God well had to change — go the opposite way from the way the majority of the world goes. That's the whole purpose of getting to know God — changing — repenting — bringing your life into line with the perfect, abundant, happy way that God lives.
   If your life hasn't changed, you don't really know God. How can we tell if we really know God — know His mind?
   Remember that Moses earnestly asked God, "Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You" (Exodus 33:13).
   God answered Moses: "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest " (verse 14). Moses replied, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here" (verse 14).
   In other words: "God, if you're not in it, we're not going."
   That's what we have to say to ourselves: "God, if you're in this, I'm in it. But if you're not in it, I don't want any part of it."
   When you are making any important decision, whether it's marriage, selling something, starting a business, moving or anything else it's vital to do what Moses did. Make God a part of the decision. Fast and pray about it. Search the Bible for instruction from God. Ask God to intervene directly and give you guidance. Seek wise counsel. Strive to learn exactly what God wants you to do, and then do that.
   The more you know God and the better you know Him, the easier it will be for you to be sure of God's will in every situation. You will be using — and acquiring — the mind of God.
   From the time you came to know God, how much change has there been in your life? If it has been some time since then, there should be evident changes.
   However, if you have only been aware of God, like Job in his former condition, but have not responded to Him, there won't be that much that has changed in your life. We all need to be like Job in his latter condition — we have to know that we know God, and know Him well.
   It will make a vital difference in how we live, now and forever.

Four Ways to Know God Better

   1) Keep His law. God's law represents God's mind, character and nature. John wrote, "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (I John 2:4).
   Do what God tells you to do. It is unreasonable to expect that you can have a close relationship with God if you don't do anything He wants you to do.
   God's basic law of love is summed up in the Ten Commandments. For an in-depth study of these overall laws of life, request our free booklet The Ten Commandments.
   2) Talk to God. Talk to God? About what? About everything. Is something worrying you, threatening you, pleasing you, upsetting you, thrilling you, disappointing you, occupying most of your thoughts? Whatever it is, talk to God about it.
   Men like Elijah and Jeremiah prayed to God with familiarity and intimacy. And they were quite ready to ask Him, "Why do you do it like this?" Jeremiah, very upset, talked to God about it (Jeremiah 12). Paul told God when he was depressed, cast down, perplexed.
   These servants of God talked to Him with intimacy and warmth. They knew Him, and He knew them. And their problems were solved, not always in the way they wanted or expected, but always in the best way.
   And that's the way we should be. We're to talk to God about everything. Whatever's on our minds. So that we can become intimate with God. After all, you're talking to a friend, not a stranger.
   Romans 12:12 says that we should be "continuing steadfastly in prayer" — all day long, as situations arise and decisions need to be made. It's an ideal way to build a relationship with God. We also need to be communing daily with our Creator during sufficient time specifically set aside just for prayer, on our knees. If our prayers are heartfelt and sincere — if we boldly approach the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) — we will be heard.
   3) Study God's Word. God's Word is His revelation about Himself, and the more you study it, read it and talk about it, the better you'll get to know God.
   For instance, it would be a profitable study to consider all the various names God calls Himself in the Bible, because they all illuminate various aspects of what God is and does. God calls Himself Elohim (a family name), God Almighty, the God of all the earth, the Lord, the Provider, our banner, the Lord of peace, our righteousness, our healer, the Ancient of Days and the Lord of Hosts. Studying God's names would reveal God's characteristics.
   4) Meditate on God's law. David said: "I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of all Your deeds" (Psalm 77:12). David was the king of Israel, yet he often found time to meditate — to think on God's ways, God's law and God's plan and purpose. David developed a deep awareness and understanding of God because he thought and meditated on God's Word and God's work.
   And that's what we have to do. It takes time to get to know somebody well. Take time to get to know God well!

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Good News MagazineMay 1984VOL. XXXI, NO. 5