Worthy (2): Knowledge

In closing my last article, I spoke of how, although we know so much about God, there is still so much more for us to learn. As we gain knowledge, we not only learn how to better give God what He is worthy of, but also our knowledge of Him is something He deserves. It is important that we distinguish what kind of knowledge to gain. “All heathen wisdom is but folly. Of all knowledge, the knowledge of God is the principal. There is no true knowledge without godliness” (Bridges). It is not heathen wisdom, such as the knowledge of things here below, but true knowledge of God that is important. God is worthy of knowledge first, so that we may better praise Him, second, so we may reverently and affectionately obey His law, and third, so we can better love Him.

As mentioned in the previous article, our praise comes from an acknowledgment of what God has done for us. To be able to render any kind of praise to God we must have true knowledge of Him. When we consider that God is worthy, which the Bible says many times, (II Samuel 22:4, Psalm 18:3, Rev. 4:11, 5:9, 12) we consider the weight of God. God is worthy. God is worthy of so much above and beyond what we can ever render to Him. Yet, as children of God we have the desire to bring our best fruits and our best sacrifices before God as did the children of Abraham. It is only natural then that we yearn to know God better and to understand all that Christ has suffered for us. The more we learn of Christ’s death and God’s forgiveness of us, the more we realize we are undeserving and God is so merciful. As we realize this more and more we can better praise God for His work.

In Proverbs 1:7, we read of knowledge and its connection to our obedience of God’s law. We read that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” The fear of the Lord is “the affectionate reverence by which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his Father’s law” (Bridges).  Knowledge comes from and is obedience to God’s decree of His command. We must know God’s command and then we will have a mind that is obedient to Him.

To truly know God is to love Him. John points out the importance of knowing God in I John 4:7-8. John says that one who loves God will inevitably have knowledge of God and if one does not love God then he surely will not have any knowledge of God. We need knowledge to love God. That is why God gives us His perfect book, and reveals Himself to us with all the creation around us. We must know God is God, the God of infinite perfections, to love Him. It is important we do not make up a God, but we must know the One true God for who He is. When we truly know who God is we will be overflowing with love towards Him. We will be as the lame beggar who began walking and leaping and praising God when He first learned the name of Christ.

God is worthy that we must render so much unto Him. We know He is worthy of our gratitude, knowledge, praise, obedience, love and yet so much more than that too. Most importantly we must walk in a life of gratitude towards God which walk will be filled with learning about God and much more. How great a joy and blessing that God has shared His name with us so we may know Him!

Luke Christian Potjer

Bridges, Charles. “Proverbs”. pp. 3-4. 1846, First Banner of Truth Trust edition.

Scripture

Article 7 of the Belgic Confession calls the Holy Scripture “the only rule of faith.” Lord’s Day 33 of the Heidelberg Catechism, when speaking of good works, describes these works in part as only those that are “performed according to the law of God,” that is, the Scriptures. Sola Scriptura, as we were reminded in the recent celebration of the Protestant Reformation’s 500th anniversary, means that Scripture alone gives us everything we need to know for life and faith. II Timothy 3:15 teaches us that Scripture is “able to make us wise unto salvation.” Scripture indeed is important and should occupy an important place in our lives.

Why is Scripture so important? First, it is God’s Word. What could ever be more important and worth our time than the Word of our covenant Father to us? By it God reveals Himself to us so that we can know Him and live with Him in sweet fellowship.

Second, God’s Word is Jesus Christ our Savior. He made the perfect sacrifice to satisfy for the sins of all His people. Therefore when we appear before God in the final judgment, we are not condemned, but have Christ’s perfect righteousness counted as ours. There can certainly be no greater gift, no more amazing grace than that Word!

Third, Scripture gives us everything we need to live and die happily: knowledge of our sin and misery, how we can be delivered from our sin and misery, and how we can show our gratitude to God for that deliverance (Lord’s Day 1). We can only know those three things through God’s Word, which shows us our sin through the law, reveals Christ’s work on the cross for us, and instructs us in our lives of thankful obedience.

Scripture is everything for the child of God. There is never an hour or circumstance in which God’s Word is not there for us. In joy, it directs us to praise the One from whom all blessings flow. In sin, it rebukes us, calls us to repentance, and assures us of forgiveness. In sorrow, it gives us the only comfort there can ever be in life or in death, that we are not our own but belong to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ. In doubt, it shows us God’s unchanging love and faithfulness and gives us hope for the future. The following poem, by Amos R. Wells, says it nicely.

When I am tired, the Bible is my bed;

Or in the dark, the Bible is my light;

When I am hungry, it is vital bread;

Or fearful, it is armour for the fight;

When I am sick, ‘tis healing medicine;

Or lonely, thronging friends I find therein.

 

If I would work, the Bible is my tool,

Or play, it is a harp of happy sound.

If I am ignorant, it is my school;

If I am sinking, it is solid ground.

If I am cold, the Bible is my fire;

And wings, if boldy I aspire.

 

Should I be lost, the Bible is my guide;

Or naked, it is raiment, rich and warm.

Am I imprisoned, it is ranges wide;

Or tempest-tossed, a shelter from the storm.

Would I adventure, ‘tis a gallant sea;

Or would I rest, it is a flowery lea.

Scripture indeed is everything for the child of God, and the study of Scripture is infinitely profitable. Let us now be faithful and diligent in our use of this great gift.

Emily Feenstra

Press on to Know the Lord

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6)

“They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the Lord” (Hosea 5:4).

“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth” (Hosea 6:3).

“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6).

“To me they cry, ‘My God, we—Israel—know you.’ For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces, and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; so I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour her strongholds” (Hosea 8:2, 14).

One frequent theme you will come across when reading the book of Hosea, is the importance of the knowledge of God. Of all the minor prophets, the knowledge of God is spoken of the most in Hosea. The knowledge of God is so important that people are destroyed and rejected for not having it. It’s more important than burnt offerings. The knowledge of God, as Jeremiah says and Paul quotes twice, is the one thing a man may boast in.

If this is true, the question then arrises, how important is the knowledge of God to you? Is it something you treasure above all else? Do you make a great effort in getting to know Him more? Do you just go through the motions of the Christian life, thinking that if you perform all the outward Christian acts, that’s pleasing to God? And is your knowledge of Him demonic (John 2:19) or intimate?

Reading through this book again made me ponder what has helped me know God the most. I’ve read many books on the attributes of God, many sections of systematic theologies and reformed dogmatics on His attributes as well. Yet as much as I love studying God’s attributes in a bunch of theological books, the number one thing that has truly made me know the Lord the most, is Old Testament narrative and prophetic literature.

There’s just something special about walking with God throughout history and seeing the way He deals with His people. You get to see the mind of God in such an intimate way. You see from His perspective, though not entirely because of the limitations of the human mind, how sinful man is. You get to see how good and gracious He is. You get to see how wise He is and how foolish we are and how we constantly fall to our own destruction by not following in that wisdom.

The sad part is, most Christians don’t know their Old Testament. Many who profess Christianity hate the Old Testament and view the God of the Old Testament as mean and harsh. Many only skim the Old Testament for cute little moral lessons every now and then and never go deep into it’s context. And the result is that many don’t know God. Many Christians also view intimacy with God as the fuzzy feelings they get in a fake manufactured environment where the lights and the music is manipulated to stir their emotions.

Instead, true closeness with the Lord comes through the word of God and prayer (that’s informed by the word of God).  And in having that deep intimate knowledge you will be blessed abundantly. The chief blessing being the knowledge of God itself. And with that knowledge you get to walk in wisdom’s way on a path that leads to life everlasting. So as Hosea 6:3 says “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord”

Mike Murrell