The People Who Know Their God

Why is it so important for us to read God’s Word? In my last posts I’ve written about two reasons:

To build our house on the Rock of His Word so we can withstand the storms of life.

To live in awe of His Word so we can stand in an evil day.

I could write about many other reasons to read God’s Word, the Bible, however, I want to close this short series with the most important reason of all. Whenever I am teaching a women’s  Bible study, before we begin I talk about why we study the Bible. There are two passages I include time and again:

But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”1
Matthew 22:34-40

The other passage is in Jeremiah:

Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 9:23–24

Why is it so important to read God’s Word?

Because as we are in God’s Word, reading it, studying it, taking it to heart, we learn to know and to love our God.

Jesus rebuked the religious leaders because they did not search the Scriptures to come to Him and believe in Him:

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”
John 5:39–40

In Reading the Bible, Geoffrey Thomas wrote:

The chief aim of studying the Scriptures is not the amount read or even the reading itself. The aim is to know God…

…The study of God’s Word is not an end in itself, neither is a correct understanding of its meaning to be the goal of our study. A man may understand all mysteries and all knowledge and yet be nothing. Eminent, well-qualified teachers of the Bible may yet be strangers to God. Does my knowledge of the Scriptures bring me with greater devotion to the Christ who is contained in every chapter? The prize in reading the Bible is to come to the Christ of the Bible [Philippians 3.14].2

As we come to the Christ of the Bible, we will find He is changing us through His Word. By His grace, through His Spirit, in His Word He teaches us who He is, who we are, and how we are to live.

Paul writes,

…and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—
Colossians 3:10

What are people like who know God? How are we changed as we grow in our knowledge and understanding of who He is? I want to focus on the example of one person, Daniel.

Throughout his long life Daniel was a preeminent counselor  to the rulers of Babylon. In a position where he could not hide his actions, Scripture records no instance when he com­promised. He remained faithful to God, speaking unpalatable truth to these powerful men even as he lived out his devotion to God.

He was righteous before his enemies who wanted to destroy him. They sought to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. They had to resort to getting the king to sign a statute that any who worshiped any god or man besides the king would be thrown into a den of lions. Daniel remained faithful.

Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.
Daniel 6:10

Daniel was thrown amongst the lions. The next day the king rushed to see if Daniel has survived.

Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.”
Daniel 6:21-22

Innocent before God and man. In all circumstances, in precarious situations and under threat, that was Daniel’s hallmark throughout his life. That’s the hallmark of a man who knows God. Throughout the New Testament you’ll also find this hallmark of those who know God, who have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. In great detail, in exhortation and encouragement, the apostles instruct us to be innocent before God and man.

In Daniel’s prophetic vision in chapters 10–12, he is told of the kings to come after Cyrus, and of the end times. The havoc wreaked and persecution done by Antiochus Epiphanes is described in Daniel 11:14–35.3 The reaction of those under his despotism is described:

“By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.”
Daniel 11:32

Those who know their God will display strength and take action. That’s also a hallmark of those who know God. It’s not that only the strong know God; strength is not in and of ourselves, but from Him. At the end of his life, Paul wrote,

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7–8

If we like Paul, want to fight the good fight, finish our course, and keep the faith, we must know our God.

Why is it so important for us to read God’s Word?

To build our house on the Rock of His Word so we can withstand the storms of life.

To live in awe of His Word so we can stand in an evil day.

To learn to know and to love our God. We will find He is renewing us to a true knowledge according to His image, the image of the One who created us.

Geoffrey Thomas closes Reading the Bible by saying:

Let the Word break over your heart and mind again and again as the years go by, and imperceptibly there will come great changes in your attitude and outlook and conduct. You will probably be the last to recognize these. Often you will feel very, very small, because increasingly the God of the Bible will become to you wonderfully great. So go on reading it until you can read no longer, and then you will not need the Bible any more, because when your eyes close for the last time in death, and never again read the Word of God in Scripture you will open them to the Word of God in the flesh, that same Jesus of the Bible whom you have known for so long, standing before you to take you for ever to His eternal home.5

That’s why it’s important to read His Word.

Daniel’s Answer to the King, Briton Riviere: Public Domain. Click the image to enlarge. Read through the book of Daniel to learn about him and his three friends who were steadfast and faithful to God under threat of life.
1cf. Mark 12:28–31, Luke 10:25–37.
2,5Geoffrey Thomas, Reading the Bible. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
3Rodney Stortz, Chapter 14, “The Story Written in Advance: Daniel 11:2–20,” and Chapter 15, “Two Great Crises: Daniel 11:21 – 12:4,” Daniel: The Triumph of God’s Kingdom (Crossway Books, Wheaton IL: 2004).
4HELPS Lexicon, The Discovery Bible.

Copyright ©2022 Iwana Carpenter

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