Well hello! Come on in and grab a seat and take a deep breath. Getting back into the routine of regular schedules is always a little hectic at our house. As ladies, we are always mindful of what we need to do next, where we need to be, who we need to contact and wondering how we can find time to breathe (let alone sit and read anything). So, I treasure that you have joined us for the next few minutes.
What do we, as women, hope for? I hope that my kids are safe, my marriage will thrive, my grocery bags won’t break in the parking lot, and my jeans will fit after the holidays! Anybody out there agree? I know you have your own list of things both serious and funny. We have been hoping it will snow, but instead we just have cold weather. Each day we wake up with hopes that today will be a good day, that the meeting will go well, that we will accomplish everything on our to do list! (Well that last one would be classified as hoping for a miracle, right?) We have more serious hopes that often resemble prayers; that someone will get a good diagnosis, that our friend will find a job, that our friends will have a baby. God placed in us this ability to hope. Animals don’t hope. Nature doesn’t hope. We, as humans, formed in the image of God have the privilege of hope.
Last week I let you in on a secret: The thought that the God of the universe has hopes and dreams for us. Now, lets be clear, God’s hopes are not wishes or cross your fingers kind of thoughts. No, they are the forward thoughts that He has for us and are as solid as His character. Here it is, are you ready? Here is what God longs for each of us…That we may know that He is LORD. This phrase, this hope of His took on skin 2000 years ago in the face of Jesus Christ. From the beginning of time, God has been actively engaging humanity with this hope. This realization in the mind and heart of men and women has changed individuals and communities and nations for centuries and will frame the rest of our year.
Okay, so let’s talk real life. And practically speaking, What does it mean to “know that God is LORD”? For that matter what does it mean to “know God”? Furthermore, you may be wondering why I keep capitalizing LORD. Maybe you have other questions….so I will pause on these deep thoughts and give you a practical example.
If you are reading this post, chances are you are familiar with social media outlets like Instagram or Facebook, right? These are good vehicles that allow us to view glimpses of our friends and family’s travels, life, big events, etc. They also allow us to follow what is happening in the lives of famous people and public figures. The danger is, we could become so familiar with someone via their posts to social media that we feel like we “know” them. But the reality is we may know about them but we don’t know them personally. This analogy can apply to spiritual matters as well.
I have spent most of my life in the Southeast United States where, among other great qualities, we take pride in our church buildings on every corner and being “good” people but even here there is danger lurking. The danger is we begin to equate our familiarity of Christianity, church and the Bible with really knowing the person of Jesus Christ. And here is the point I want to press while we hang out here today….I love you enough to ask you to consider the above questions with me.
We will answer these in reverse order from how I asked them. I continue to capitalize LORD because in our English translation of the Bible, this capitalized name represents the original Hebrew distinguished title or name for God that He first uttered to Moses in Exodus 3:14. It’s the name that God revealed to Moses and was an all-encompassing, all-powerful, covenantal and most sacred name that would not only give the people of the Bible confidence but even at this moment can remind us that we have access to this same God. It’s an ever present, always current and certainly always relevant name. It’s a cross cultural, western and eastern, every generation, every language, break down every barrier kind of name. “I AM That I AM”…..boom! That’s a name, right! Can you imagine?
Secondly, what does it mean to “know God”? Oh, this is the moment I would love nothing more than to be sitting with you and hear your answers to this question! For now, I will look forward to hearing your comments in the space provided on the website. The word know in the Hebrew (original language of the Old Testament) is a word called “yada” and means to know intimately by experience. Sometimes it’s used in reference to a husband and wife knowing each other. Do you see the difference? It’s not a knowledge about God superficially but a knowing Him by experience or by having an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ. I wonder if a negative by product of social media could be that we have lost our desire to know anyone deeply? (This is where it’s hard for me to just be typing on a keyboard)
Lastly, when we read the phrase “that they will know that God is LORD”, what is He after? Oh friend, I am so glad you asked because this is what changes our lives! The God who created the world and gives us breath to breathe today, wants us to know Him personally, by an encounter with the person of Jesus Christ and experience His love in real ways. He desires that we know that He is our all-encompassing, all-powerful, covenantal and sacred God.
Remember how I said last week that God is not just hoping for our happiness? I said He was after so much more than that, something lasting and eternally good. This desire, the hope that we will know Him as LORD will sustain us when life is hard, relationships are broken, and circumstances are scary. This is the only hope we can cling to and hold onto with both hands….no matter how terrible it gets, our God is with us and He loves us. And furthermore, He has purposes and plans despite the chaos in our minds, hearts and lives. Can I say this to you…God has NOT forgotten you! It may seem like He has, but He has not!
My longing, my prayer and deep desire for each of us is that this year will be monumental for us in our knowledge (yada) of Jesus Christ. That we will experience Him in such real ways that our love for Him will grow more and more. The Bible is the primary tool or vehicle that God has given us to know Him, to understand His love for us and grow in our love of Him. At the conclusion of this post are some verses that you can look at to see for yourself what God has said. My prayer is that as you open your Bible and seek to know Him, He will reveal Himself to you on the pages of His Word and you will know that He is your LORD!
• Exodus 3 • Psalm 46:10
• Isaiah 43:10 • Jeremiah 9:23-34
• 2 Timothy 1:1-14
*The book of Ezekiel uses the phrase “then they will know that I am the LORD” over 50 times.