If we should ask ourselves the question, “How well do we know God,” I am sure that most of us would say, “Not very much, and certainly not as well as I would hope and aim for.” If then we ask the question, “What does it mean to KNOW God,” I wonder how much we would understand the matter to intelligently reply? One of the great characteristics of “knowing God” is the manifest reverential fear, or respect, that we have for Him. Again and again, in the history of Christendom, in the lives of those who truly seek to know Him, and thus, pursue Him, is the overwhelming sense and conviction of His Greatness, Goodness, Holiness…Worthiness. We find the great men of God falling down before Him, prostrate in His presence, because there is no lower place to be before Him. Overwhelmed by the wonder of the Divine, the smallness of our lives are swallowed up in the “vision,” the perception, and conviction of His glory.
In the experience of Joshua, when called upon to lead Israel into Canaan, the promised land, he was met by, “…a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand.” He identifies himself as “…captain of the host of the Lord.” (Joshua 5:13-14) The great qualification of His being able to come to the aid of Joshua, and Israel, is the removal of Joshua’s shoe, for as the captain put it, “…the place whereon thou standest is holy.” (Josh. 5:15) How can something so menial, and simple, as the removal of a shoe, be so vital to the blessing and the victory that God would accomplish for Isreal? It is because, “(The Lord) delighteth not in the strength of the horse: He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that FEAR Him, in those that hope in His mercy.” (Ps. 147:10-11) The Lord looks to see who will have a heart of reverential trust in Him. The evidence of such an attitude is that the individual “…hopes in His mercy.” He knows that all that God does in and for us is in mercy and truth. The heart that fears God is the one which is “overwhelmed” by the holiness of God, His goodness and greatness, AND believes in His willingness to intervene in the affairs of men, in particular, in our own hearts and lives.
“To this man WILL I look, even to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and TREMBLETH at My word.” (Is. 66:2) Many of us do not know God as He is, in His great goodness and mercy, because we do not see Him as He is. We do not “fear Him” as we ought, nor “tremble” at His word. We see Him as comparable with man and humanity, and not unique, separate, yet, taking upon Himself flesh and blood, that He might save us all. If we would know Him, and know Him well, being brought into conformity with His purpose and will for us all, then we need to loose the shoes from off our feet, prostrate ourselves before Him in our hearts, and worship Him as the only true and living God. Then we shall know His peace, His strength, His wisdom, and His love.