Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Devotion #5 - The Omniscience of God

This is a fifth in a series of devotional readings written in preparation for the "Waiting 2018" gathering later this week, which many of us are planning to attend.   To read Devotion #4, click here.  To read from the beginning of the series, click here.

There are three attributes of God clearly and beautifully shown in Psalm 139 that I have heard called “The Three O’s of God.” The “three O’s” of Psalm 139 are God’s Omniscience, God’s Omnipresence, and God’s Omnipotence. Lord willing, we willing be looking at these attributes in the next three posts.

Today we contemplate the Omniscience of God. This is the attribute of God which sees Him as the All-Knowing God. A.W. Tozer, in The Knowledge of the Holy, writes this:

That God is omniscient is not only taught in the Scriptures, it must be inferred also from all else that is taught concerning Him. God perfectly knows Himself and, being the source and author of all things, it follows that He knows all that can be known. And this He knows instantly and with a fullness of perfection that includes every possible item of knowledge concerning everything that exists or could have existed anywhere in the universe at any time in the past or that may exist in the centuries or ages yet unborn.

God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all being and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, all law and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell.

In other words, there is simply nothing in the Universe that God does know all about...completely and totally.

In light of this, let’s examine the first six verses of Psalm 139, which is a marvelous hymn of praise to God.

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
(Psalm 139: 1-6 NASB)

As I began to contemplate and study this stunning words about our God, I looked up the meaning of some of the Hebrew words in this text. The first one that I’d like for us to think about is in the first verse when David says “you have searched me and known me.” The word “searched” is a translation of the Hebrew word “chaqar” (pronounced “khaw-kar’). This means “to examine intimately” or “to investigate.” This is astounding to me, and in many ways is hard to understand, especially when we realize that God already knows everything. Why would he need to examine me intimately and investigate me? Doesn’t he already know everything about me? While the answer to the last question is certainly “yes,” I believe there is a deeper meaning to this than meets the eye. While the Bible teaches that God created us in Him before the world began (Eph. 1:4) and thus certainly knows all about us, I believe God is giving David here a glimpse into His heart towards us. He is using human words to describe an altogether unhuman God. The idea here is that God is intimately interested in me and in you, and is fascinated with everything about us. He is not some all-powerful despot in heaven, who made us and, though he knows all about us, is not interested in us. No! This is the language of lovers...Lovers who desparately desire to know more about their Beloved.

This is brought out perhaps even more clearly in verse three when David exclaims, “You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.” The word translated
“scrutinize” here is a word that is used to describe the winnowing process, in which grain is sifted out. The Amplified Bible gets at this meaning when it translates this “You sift and search out my path.” The picture is of God continually sifting the wheat from the chaff in our lives, all the while looking for the real essence of who we really are. He scruitinizes me not to find fault, but to find the Real Me. I am not my faults, my sins, or my talents. There is an essence about me and about you that God is intimately acquainted with. He knows much more about us than we do!

Verse four tells me that He knows what I’m going to say before I say it. He even knows what I’m going to think before I think it! I like the New Living Translation rendering of verse five, “You go before me and follow me, You place your hand of blessing on my head.” He goes before me and follows after me. He blesses me with His continual presence and with His anointing on my life…and on your life. What assurance there is in these blessed words! No wonder David exclaims in verse six, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it!

I’ll let Tozer have the final words, as He expresses this concept so beautifully:

And to us who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope that is set before us in the gospel, how unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us, no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew Him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us. ”For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” (Isaiah 54:10 KJV)

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