“See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse;
the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God…and the curse,
if you do not obey…but turn aside…to go after other gods that you have not known.”
In these verses, this morning I was struck by the phrase, “other gods that you have not known.” When Moses spoke these words, it was after he had recalled the clear actions God had taken on Israel’s behalf. This phrase, then, highlights a direct contrast between the God who had been with Israel through the wilderness, the God who was known to them, and the unknown (false) gods of other nations.
There is a truth captured in these verses that resonates, one I need to hear this morning and really take in: the God who holds my life is known to me. He has made Himself known to me through the unfolding of His written Word by the power of His Spirit and through the opening of my eyes to see His glory, reality, and activity in my life.
He has made Himself known to me.
As a mighty fortress. As Savior and deliverer. As strength. Hope. Peace. Wisdom. As my guide. As the rock I can stand on, the One who will never change and never fail.
Mine is not a distant God. He is here, my ever-present help (Psalm 46:1). He has poured His perfect, powerful, life-changing and life-giving love into my heart through the giving of His Spirit who dwells in me (Romans 5:5). This from the moment I chose to believe in Jesus Christ, to surrender to this God who sacrificed so much to rescue me.
This God surrounds me all day long as the mountains surround Jerusalem, with favor as with a shield (Deuteronomy 33:12; Psalm 125:2; Psalm 5:12). He makes His voice known to me, recognized as the voice of my Shepherd, the living God who is for me (Psalm 56:9). “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
To know Him is the basis of my faith. Knowing my God is the foundation of my trust. Because knowing Him, through the grounded truth of His Word and the experience of Him working in my life, I know He is trustworthy.
“The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:9-10).
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid” (Psalm 56:3-4a). As this psalmist implies (and as I am currently experiencing), it is not that fear never strikes us. It is that when it does, we make a decisive choice to put our trust in God, the God whose Word we praise. Choosing to fix our eyes on who we know our God to be and to focus on trusting Him and praising His Word and its truth. Declaring, “No, I shall not be afraid.”
It’s a fight sometimes. That’s why we must make the choice. Will we choose to trust the God who has made Himself known to us? The God who desires to make Himself known to us in ways that are deeper and more real than we’ve experienced before? Oh, let us not fight Him here. Let us instead fight to put our trust in Him regardless of how fear-inducing our circumstances might appear. Declaring that we shall not be afraid, for we trust in the God who is known to us and who will continue to make Himself known as faithful and true, as wise and good, as powerful and victorious. Our times are in His hands and we can trust Him here (Psalm 31:14-15a).
“…Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:24). These are the declared characteristic actions of the sovereign God who makes Himself known to us. Steadfast love. Justice. Righteousness. And the more we know Him, the more we will see them displayed.
So let us press on to know Him more, to know this God who fights for us and who delights to know us, who knows your name, your circumstances, the number of hairs on your head, and who has written your story from beginning to end.
“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.”