Read 1 Chronicles 28.9-10.
We must have an personal and experiential knowledge of God
This scripture is about one of the very last words of King David when he was old and had to hand over the reins of the kingship to his son, Solomon. The key thing David so desired to pass on to his son was the knowledge of God. He told him to know his God—not to know about him or have some information about him but to know him. It is one thing knowing about God—having information about God; having some knowledge about God—and another thing knowing him. David wanted his son to have a personal knowledge and experience with God. Knowing him is having an acquaintance with him that is so close that you can speak to him person to person.
God is knowable
The God we serve is alive and real. He can be known, and he is personal. David told his son to appreciate this God. After knowing him, he was to serve him well with a blameless heart. A heart that his upright, sincere, and real. We are to serve him not to impress others but genuinely.
God sees motives
He also went on to say that this God searches all hearts. While men look at appearances—while men have their own preferences—this God looks into the heart, weighs it, and judges it.
This God understands every intent and inclination of our thoughts. He understands every motive and is able to judge, take into account, and tell what the state of the heart is. While men need evidence to come to conclusions, this God searches the hearts and knows the thoughts and rewards our motives.
David went on to say that if you seek him, he will let you find him. If you abandon or reject him, he will also reject you forever. Beloved, the God we serve is knowable. You can know him. If you seek him you will find him. If you love him he will show himself strong on your behalf for it is written, “And we know that all things work together for good to them who love God and to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8.28) Know him; know his word; know his will and his ways; and worship him sincerely.
That is the summary of what David was telling Solomon. If you know this God and you love him, all things will work together for your good.
What it means to know God
To know God is to be well-informed about his word, his will, his ways, and his worship. It is to understand his ways because he says his ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways above our ways and his thoughts above ours. His ways are perfect. To know this God is to possess personal experience with him—not what somebody said or knows or has written but what you yourself have experienced. David had so much experience with God that he believed that his successes had been due to his personal relationship with God.
He said, “The lord is my shepherd and I shall not want. The Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? The Lord is my light and my salvation.” David could boast of God because of his experiences and encounters with him. At a point he would say, come and see the salvation of the Lord.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman, “You worship what you don’t know but we worship what we know.” Do you know this God?
The self-revelation and self-disclosure of God
He was not a God we went and acquired but he out of his grace decided to reveal himself to us. This is the self-revelation and self-disclosure of God. So, Jesus said, “You did not choose me but I chose you.” We are children of God not by our own volition or because our fathers were Christian. It was God who made himself known to us.
Our God has made himself known. You don’t have to go to any special location to find him. He is everywhere at the same time. He is not limited by time or space.
A Hebrew and Greek word for “know”: yada and ginosko
The Hebrew word for “know” is “yada.” It means seeing God in his word and mighty works. So, the knowledge is something you can see tangibly and associate with. So when a Hebrew says yada, he is not just talking about a God who can be known but one who can be seen and associated with. Daniel 11.32 says those who know their God shall be strong and shall do exploits. They will be able to break through circumstances and situations and anything that poses as a resistance to God. So, Paul says we bring into subjection every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of God.
One of the words used in the Greek for “know” is “ginosko,” which means understanding truths or facts about God. This goes beyond head knowledge to heart knowledge into knowledge which also translates to action.
The knowledge of God affects our belief. What you know affects your faith and what you believe affects your conduct. Knowledge translates into faith which translates into conduct. Why do we act the way we do? Because we know God.
Knowledge of God is not an abstract experience but a practical one that manifests itself in love.
Paul said, I want to know him. This was in the context of reflecting on his experiences with Christ. This means that, for Paul, what he knew about God as a Pharisee, as a young Christian, through his missionary experience, and as an apostle, he still believed that there was a higher knowledge he needed to know. That is to serve, labor for and suffer for him. For Paul, the knowledge of God translated into serving.
Why are you an elder? Because you know God. Why are you a deacon or deaconess? Because you know God. Our knowledge of God drives us.
Names of God borne out of experiences with him
The names of God were borne out of experiences people had with God. One of these names was El Rohi, a name given to God by a woman who had been rejected by her mistress and her master. She got to know him as “the one whose eyes see me and the one who watches over me.” If you are here and the circumstances of this life appear to challenge you and you are left to your fate and doom, the message is that if you know God he will show himself right there. He will show himself as the God who is ever-present. He is a very present help in trouble. May you not fear because you know this God as your God.
In Psalm 9.10 David made a proclamation. He said “those who know your name shall put their confidence in you.” Do you know this God? His name, his attributes, his nature? Then put your confidence in him for those who put their trust in him will never be put to shame.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower. If you know this God then you have a place of refuge. In times of trouble he will provide shelter. There is hope for your future because this God will provide the protection you need.
What the knowledge of the God brings
1. The knowledge of God results in transformation—in your thinking, actions, and values. It brings a change in your perception and conditioning.
2. The knowledge of God will necessarily cause you to love those around you. It creates love for people around you—both those you know and those you don’t know.
3. The knowledge of God will cause you to respect God’s creation.
4. The knowledge of God will cause you to serve him and serve humanity.
5. Our knowledge of God will drive us into authentic worship. Our worship will not be superficial or activities to impress others but worship in spirit and in truth–worship borne out of experience with God and reverential fear of him.
6. Our knowledge of God will cause us to fight the good fight of faith. That is where spiritual warfare comes in. Whether you like it or not, your association with God makes you an enemy of the devil, the world, and the flesh. These are three giants in our lives we will continue to fight while in this body.
May God grant us more grace to know him, the God we serve, and to love and live for him. And in times of difficulty he will stand strong on our behalf and we can say, “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in trouble so we shall not fear.” May we continue to know him, love him and live for him.
1 Chronicles 28.9-10