After many years of diverse career experience, I was excitedly counting down the days until my retirement. I eagerly anticipated being in control of my schedule and time while enjoying a slower pace of life. I envisioned more days devoted to serving in ministry at my church and deepening relationships...
The deep desire of the human soul is to be known and loved.
As I’ve interacted with students over the years, and as I’ve looked into my heart, I’ve found that the search for “the one” is often propelled by a desire to know and be known in an intimate way. It is no mistake that the biblical word for “knowing” is also the biblical innuendo for sex (something which is to be reserved for the most intimate of human relationships – marriage).
Yet our desire to be known often drives us to seek relationships on a human level that will never suffice. As sinful humans, we will always misunderstand and be misunderstood, and in a world infested with sin, vulnerability will always leave us open to pain. Rather than driving us away from relationships, however, this should drive us to seek ultimate security in the One who knows us most intimately.
Four Responses to God’s Knowledge
As I’ve read the Scriptures, I’ve noted four responses we should have to God’s knowledge of us.
At the heart of Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well (John 4), Jesus shows the woman that he knows her sinfulness, and even more than that, he knows the source of her sinfulness. She has spent her life going from guy to guy seeking satisfaction, until Jesus comes to her, knowing her sin, and offers her what her soul truly needs: life-giving water.
Jesus’ knowledge of her five previous husbands and current illicit living situation leads her to realize who she is dealing with – a messenger from God (v. 19).
So the woman left her water jar and went into town and said to the people, “Come see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” (John 4:28-29)
This woman realized that this “prophet’s” interaction with her demonstrated God’s interaction with her. Even in her sinfulness, God was offering her life-giving water. This woman’s response to Jesus’ knowledge was amazement, to run and tell the town about Jesus. What this woman saw in part, we know fully this side of the cross!
When was the last time you, a sinful rebel through and through, felt amazement over that fact that, even in his perfect and complete knowledge of you, God still set his heart on sending his Son to die for you? This woman understood the proper response to God’s knowledge of her: contagious amazement.
Amazement is the fuel for evangelism. Out of the amazement of God’s love for us, even in our sinfulness, we go and tell others about this God.
“God never asks a question he doesn’t already know the answer to.” I still remember hearing one of my professors at Moody making a statement like that. Then why does God ask questions over and over again in Scripture? It is for the simple reason that he wants to get confession from us.
There’s a family legend recounted every now and then of one of my brothers diving into a box of powdered doughnuts right before dinner. It was clear who had done it because the white powder covered the culprit’s face, but my parents still asked, “Who ate the powdered doughnuts?” Even though the evidence was everywhere, my brother denied it.
We see a similar scenario throughout the Bible, whether with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3 or David in 2 Samuel 12. In both cases, God’s knowledge of their sin was supposed to bring about confession. Confession isn’t something that happens at the beginning of our Christian life. Rather, it is our constant cry for God’s continued grace. When you sin, God already knows. Our confession is the only proper response because through it, we admit our guilt and cling to the gospel once again.
3. Whole-Hearted Obedience
As David is at the end of his life, he gives this final admonition to his son Solomon, who will soon take the reins of the kingdom:
And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hears and understands every plan and thought… (1 Chronicles 28:9)
David tell Solomon his motivation for whole-hearted obedience: God knows your heart.
Oftentimes we do Christian things with wrong motives. Oftentimes our motivation to serve is to be seen by others and to be thought of highly. That is not whole-hearted service toward God. In those instances, we’re using our service to God as a means to our own ends. But God knows the heart. And David’s challenge to Solomon is a challenge to us all: Make sure your heart is in the right place. So often it isn’t (see point #2), but we should strive to have whole-hearted service toward God in light of the fact that he sees our motives and thoughts.
So far we have focused on God’s knowledge of our hearts. But that is not all we see in the Bible. The Bible also makes clear that God knows our circumstances. So Matthew 6 reveals that God’s knowledge of us should lead us to complete reliance on and trust in him.
Before giving his disciples a model of how to pray, Jesus says in Matthew 6:7-8,
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
And again he says in Matthew 6:31-32,
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” for the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
God’s knowledge of all of our circumstances should make us look weird to an outside world (“Gentiles”) as we act differently than it does. God’s knowledge of what we need is better than our own, and therefore, we should trust him. It’s a trust that looks different from the world’s scrambling, a scrambling that seeks to find security that will waste away.
How Will You Respond?
Instead, we are called to trust and follow a King who rules over a kingdom that will never end, to bow before him in amazement and confession, and to find the deepest desire of our souls met.
This is the God who knows you. How will you respond to him?