Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord. See, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall be turned to blood.”
“…that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God”
“..that they may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.”
“…that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth.”
“…that you may know that the earth is the LORD’S.”
Missionary theologian E. Stanley Jones told of seeing a sign in a used bookstore that read, “Secondhand Theology for Sale”. Jones said that upon seeing that sign he vowed never to have a “secondhand” theology. He wanted a “firsthand” theology. Never again would he be satisfied with just knowing about God by something he read in a book, or heard secondhand from someone else in a sermon; he had to know God for himself. A. W. Tozer believed that “To most people God is an inference not a reality. He is a deduction from evidence which they consider adequate but he remains personally unknown to the individual” (The Pursuit of God).
A repeated theme throughout the Exodus is God’s desire for His people to know Him for themselves, firsthand. The Hebrew word translated as “know” in various Exodus passages is a word denoting experiential, intimate knowledge of a person. It is used, for instance, of sexual intimacy in Genesis 4:1 where it says, “Adam knew his wife Eve”. Here is far more than factual information about a person. For the Israelites to come to know God meant to be in an intimate, personal, reciprocal relationship with Him. To know God is very different than to know about God. It is more than having a right and accurate theology about Him; it is to know and experience Him personally.
Often in our churches and schools we confuse having right data and theology about God with knowing Him. We substitute reciting doctrinally correct creeds with a personal relationship. The theology might be right, but the relationship might be missing. When the Israelites come to the Red Sea, or come to a place in the wilderness where there is no water, they will come to know that God is for real! The Exodus deliverance out of Egypt, through the Wilderness to the Promised Land, is intended for Israel, for us, to know God “firsthand”.
- Would you say that you know God, or that you simply know about Him? Explain.
- Prayerfully ponder Jesus’ words in John 17:3: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
- Take some moments to talk with God about your desire to know Him more personally and intimately.