Who is someone famous from history that you would like to have known?
Who is someone famous from today that you wish you could get to know?
Maybe you chose Mahatma Ghandi, Ludwig von Beethoven, Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein, William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Nelson Mandela, C.S. Lewis, Taylor Swift, Kid President…
I bet if I asked you tell me why you chose that person, you could list tons of facts for me about them. You could tell me all sorts of information about who they are/were, and all about their lives and accomplishments.
BUT: I wonder how many of you personally know – or have ever even met – the person you chose? Just think for a second… what do you make of that? What do you think that means?…
Simply put, I think it means it is possible to know quite a lot about someone without ever knowing them personally… right?
The same can be true of God in our lives: we can know all about Him – lots of facts – all kinds of information – but not know Him personally, for ourselves.
I can tell you all about some of my favorite football players – Frank Lampard, John Terry, Didier Drogba… I can tell how old they are, where they’re from, what teams they’ve played for, their football statistics…
I can tell you all about some of my most favorite musicians – Dave Matthews, Andrew Peterson, David Crowder, Shane Bernard… I can tell you where they’re from, how they got started in the music industry, what some of their most successful songs and albums have been, and even some of their personal stories behind their songs…
I know these football players and musicians are real; I believe they are real and that the info I know about them is true. But I don’t KNOW them; I’ve had no personal acquaintance with any of them. I don’t know them – AND – they don’t know me. They are real – but they are distant – and we don’t know each other.
I know all about George Washington – tons of facts and information about him as a person and about his leadership of the early United States.
- I know George Washington was real;
- I believe he was real and that the info I know about him is true.
- But I don’t KNOW him; I’ve had no personal acquaintance with him.
- I don’t know him – AND – he doesn’t know me.
- He is real – but he is distant – and we don’t know each other.
I bet you could say the same about the person you chose… If you look at many of the people in the Bible – like Abram and Moses, or like Saul in the New Testament – many of them had this same sort of experience with God at first:
- They knew God was real.
- They genuinely believed in God, and they believed the information they knew about God was true.
- From our first introductions to these people, we can see that they even loved God, and that they truly wanted please God with their lives…
- But their knowledge of God, at least at first, was not personal.
- Their knowledge of God – and their desire to please Him, even though sincere – was distant and impersonal.
Then, for each of them – and many, many more people in the Bible and throughout history – things drastically changed when this real-but-distant God became close, personal, 1-1 known to them.
Here is where you can read about these people and their first personal interactions with God:
- Abram – Genesis 11:27-12:9
- Moses – Exodus 2:11-3:12
- Saul – Acts 8:1, 9:1-19
In the next post, we will look at an AMAZING thing that God has done with regard to our knowing Him, vs. our only knowing about Him…
Click on the following link to download a PDF “handout” version of this 4-part series on Knowing GOD: Knowing GOD handout