KNOWING GOD’S WAYS
Psalm 95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. 7 ¶ For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. 10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: 11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.
This passage is also preached on by the Hebrew Writer in the Book of Hebrews chapters three and four. These words of the Psalmist are but the Holy Spirit moving upon King David to reveal the mind of God concerning a most important matter. 2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
We have accented three, two-word phrases in order to draw your attention to the important matter which God is conveying. In verse nine we have the words my work. In verse ten we have the words my ways. And then in verse eleven we have the words my rest. For the difference between the first two determine whether a soul shall spend an eternity in damnation, or in glorification – i.e. in Heaven or in Hell. For if one only knows God’s works, or his acts, and not his ways, he shall never enter into God’s eternal rest. There is a vast difference in being taught by organized religion concerning what God did, than being revealed by the Holy Spirit as to who God is!
Organized religion has taught its converts all about God’s ways concerning such things as the burning bush; David and the giant; Noah and the great flood; the fall of the walls of Jericho, etc. They also well know about Jesus dying on the cross. But without the inner workings of the Holy Spirit that knowledge is also contained in demon faith! James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
A man possessed of a demon once made a public profession of who the Lord was. But he was rebuked by the Lord. Luke 4:33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. 35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
Organized religion only concerns itself and its students with what God did. But the organism of the true body of Christ – all born again believers – are concerned with who God is! For in order to know God’s ways one must know God personally. And that revelation alone brings eternal life! John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
But God’s judgment shall swiftly come against the hypocrites who falsely claim that they know Him! Hosea 8:1 Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law. 2 Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. 3 Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him.
For the Lord shall proclaim to them (much to their horror) that he, in fact, does not know them. Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Our Lord spoke of the difference between the religious servant and the spiritual friend. And he made it clear as to what the difference was. John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
First of all we see that he clearly states that the benefit of his atonement was for these friends, as he lays down his life for them. But then he reveals just what makes the difference between friends and servants. And we see that it is his communion with them. For he makes known all things to them which the Father has made known to him. And that alone brings them into the awareness of God’s personal ways, recovering them from the bare religious knowledge of only God’s works!
And this glorious revelation, (which alone brings salvation), is exclusively under the Son’s sovereign control. Matthew 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. For he, alone has seen the Father. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 17:1 ¶ These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
And to see him was to see the Father! John 6:46 Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? John 10:30 I and my Father are one. For Jesus Christ is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, (Hebrews 1:3)
The Apostle Paul sets forth, in strong terms just how it was that he knew the very Person of the Lord Jesus. He stated that to actually know the Lord is to have entered into his experiences with him. Here are his words: Philippians 3:8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 ¶ And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (This ‘resurrection’ is referring to being raised by regenerating grace from the spiritual death of trespasses and sin by the new birth into eternal life. See Colossians 3:1)
This alone is spiritual salvation. This alone brings one into God-conscious reality! For knowing the Lord is no simple matter of just ‘joining the church.’ For after the spiritual birth, it requires a death-life! Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
The reality of true Christianity is not at all as simple church-joining religionists imagine. Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
And a misunderstanding of God can be of the most severe devastation to one’s soul. Psalm 50:21 These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. 22 Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
By the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as the spiritual High Priest, the Lord God intended to replace organized religion and its functions, with the organism of the spiritual Body of Christ, raised up and maintained by the Holy Spirit. Carefully consider the following passage wherein the Lord God instigates the replacing of the old covenant, with its carnal functions, with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who alone brings to life and maintains that spiritual life in his church.
Hebrews 8:1 ¶ Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. 13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
The Lord Jesus is a presently living person. And the Psalmist rightly said of him that he is “a present help in time of need.” (Psalm 46:1) Therefore each individual believer, as a presently living person, must personally commune and fellowship with the Lord Jesus. They will all have a continued God-consciousness dwelling in their souls. And in doing so they will come to experience his ways as he leads them in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. They do indeed, know what he did, not just in a religiously historical way, but in their past experiences with him as they two walk together.
Pastor Gene Breed
June 2, 2023