Some time ago I was laying before the Lord in meditation and preparation for an area meeting we were going to hold later that evening in South Plainfield, NJ. During this time a couple of portions of Scripture from the book of Isaiah seemed to jump out of my Bible at me! I spent the next hour or so just meditating on them and some thoughts began to develop. That night at the area meeting, I gave about a thirty-minute exhortation off the cuff based on what I had been meditating on earlier that afternoon. I want to share some of those thoughts with you.
“’You are My witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘And My servant whom I have chosen, In order that you may KNOW and BELIEVE Me, And UNDERSTAND that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; And there is no savior besides Me. It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, And there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘And I am God. Even from eternity I am He; And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?’” Isaiah 43:10-13 NASB (emphasis mine)
The first thought that I had while meditating on this Scripture was how awesome God is! We serve a truly sovereign God. I think if there is one truth that we don’t hear enough teaching on today in our churches it would have to be the sovereignty of God. Look at what God said: “I, even I, am the Lord; And there is no savior besides Me.” I really like what He said in verse 13: “I act and who can reverse it?” What an awesome God we serve! Isaiah 46 also bears out this same thought of the sovereignty and awesomeness of our God. “’…For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’…’Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.’” Isaiah 46:9-11 NASB No wonder we sing the song today in many of our churches, “Who Is Like The Lord?”
We could spend the rest of this blog talking about our awesome God, but I really want to focus on the three words in our first text that are printed totally in large case and bold:
KNOW, BELIEVE & UNDERSTAND. It stood out to me that according to our text, God has chosen us to be His servants and witnesses, and what will make us the witness is the fact that we know, believe and understand Him. It should not surprise us that He called us His witnesses for Jesus did the same in Acts 1:8, speaking of our life after the empowerment of The Holy Spirit. I began to see things all being intertwined together in these verses and being dependent one upon the other and in progressive order.
It all begins with our knowing God. I believe many in the church, even though they are legitimately saved, really don’t know God. God has chosen us to know Him. When we know Him, it will be a witness. If we don’t know Him, we will have a hard time believing Him, and for sure we won’t understand Him. Yet these verses say: know, believe & understand. The first thing we need to know is that our God is sovereign. Again as I have already stated, there is a great shortage of revelation in the Body of Christ today regarding this elementary but important doctrine.
I can hear many of you thinking, how can he make a statement like being legitimately saved and not knowing God. Let me explain. If you were to get introduced to the President of the United States, would you really know him? The honest truth would be that you were introduced to him, you met him, but you really don’t know him. So it is with God, when you got saved, you were introduced to Him, you met Him, but you really don’t know Him. The only way you can get to know anybody is by spending time with him or her. God is no different. We spend time with God by reading His Word and spending time in prayer, or as my Dad used to say: “Keep your nose in the ‘book’ and your knees on the floor.”
Without spending time with God we will not know God. Some believe that going to church makes them know God. Watching the news on TV or reading the newspaper about the President makes you know about him, but you still don’t really know him. By going to church and listening we learn about God, but unless we personally enter into worship and communion with Him, we still don’t know Him.
Because many of us really don’t know God, many of us have a hard time believing God. God was declaring through the Prophet Isaiah Who He is, what His character is, so that we would know what He is like, and know Him. God knows that when we get a revelation of how awesome He is we will not have a problem taking Him at His word and believing that He will do what He said He will do. But until we know Him, we find ourselves wondering, will God really do what His word says He will do. I know none of us wants to admit that we have operated in unbelief. We all want everyone to think that we are the most super-spiritual, all faith possessing Christians that have ever walked the face of the earth. However, just take inventory and be honest and I am sure that you will admit like I had to, I need improvement at taking God at His word. It starts with knowing Him.
Now we are hit with a really big challenge. God said in the same book of Isaiah: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9 NASB If that is true, and it is, how can God say in our text that we should understand Him? First realize that God never says we can do something if we can’t. Remember I said that everything in these verses was intertwined and in progressive order, hinged on the fact that we should know God. If we don’t know Him, we will never believe Him, and if we don't believe Him we will never understand Him, because His ways are higher than ours.
Paul said: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV Too many of us try to discern the things of God naturally instead of spiritually and cannot discern them. If we knew God not just about Him, or were just introduced to Him, we would see things His way. We would see with spiritual eyes, not natural eyes, and we would understand Him. How often have you heard Christians ask: ”How could God do that?” or “How could that be?” Perhaps you have asked those or similar questions yourself. When you truly know Him, those types of questions diminish because you gain understanding of Him.
The simple truth is when you know Him you have no trouble believing Him, and when you believe Him you can then move on to understanding Him.
My purpose for writing this blog is to stir you up to know God better than you do; To spend more time with Him, in prayer, worship, communion, meditation and in His Word. As a result you will be a witness because you will KNOW BELIEVE & UNDERSTAND Him!