So much of the life of faith is wrestling with questions that don’t have particularly straight-forward answers.
It can be frustrating at times. I think it’s because we insist on understanding things that are utterly beyond our capacity to comprehend.
As I have been reading the last couple of days in Ezekiel, I keep seeing these pronouncements of God’s discipline upon His people Israel. They had so rebelled and so disregarded His warnings that He had to be true to His Word and follow through with the judgment He had promised. But time and again, as he explains the drastic consequences they would experience, the text says, “and they will know that I am the Lord.”
You see, I’m convinced that God’s intention is to make Himself known to us. Paul taught us in Romans 1 that God reveals His greatness through the works of His hands—that all nature shouts the reality that Someone great has put all of this in order. But, because deep in our hearts we don’t really want to be subject to Someone higher and greater than us, mankind has deliberately chosen to disregard what is obvious.
In Ezekiel 39, God gives His prophet a statement to deliver and in that statement He gives this proclamation:
“And my holy name I will make known in the mist of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.” (Ezekiel 39.7)
God has shown His handiwork in all of creation and it’s written on our very hearts that He is there (why else would so many be so angrily adamant that He is not?) and bigger, higher, and greater than we can comprehend. That can and will be debated until He comes and settles the matter in person, but it is right now a matter of faith—what we know without being able to concretely prove (or, as Hebrews expressed it, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”).
But God’s plan was not just that we should take notice in creation and come find Him. It was much more explicit than that. He planned all along to reveal Himself to and through His people. He said in the quote from Ezekiel above, “that the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel.”
If you want to know God, pay attention to His people. Of course, these days that is hard advice to feel good about, but I believe that those who genuinely know and love God are the ones who genuinely love others. They have been born by His Spirit and been taught to love like He loves—unconditionally, unequivocally, and sacrificially.
My amazing wife and I have had the privilege of raising six amazing people (almost all the way to adulthood so far) and the greatest way to really know us is to know our kids. You will see how each is a unique combination of the traits of their parents—good and bad. They love because they have been loved. They serve because they have been served. They give and share and encourage because that’s what they have learned. But those lessons have not all been easy or pleasant or comfortable. In fact, some have been excruciatingly painful. But they have grown–sometimes because of our efforts, often despite them–into amazing people.
As followers of Jesus, we have a personal relationship with God through the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. He is in the business of transforming our lives to look and sound and smell and be more and more and more like Jesus.
So… His plan is that, through His creation, through His Word, and through His people, you and I would know that He is God… just so you know.
Father, help us to see and know that You are God.
Now… if you know me at all, you know that there is a song playing in my head. Here it is: