The scripture I have been contemplating is from Ephesians 3, where Paul prays that he wants the Ephesians (including us of coarse) to ‘know the love of God that surpasses knowledge’. I asked God one day why it is that He would want us to know his love, if by his own admittance, it is beyond knowledge. Then I decided to get hold of a good old faithful Greek concordance to check out the definition of ‘knowledge’ in both contexts. Basically it means, that the only way we will fully encounter and engage the fullness of His love for us, is by experiencing it, and not just approaching it in a methodical, scientific and/or intellectual way.
Jesus said to the religious leaders of his time “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39). What Jesus said here confirms my thoughts on the issue (I have a book, chapter and verse, which is wonderfully ironic) in that you can have all the biblical or intellectual knowledge of God, and yet be without any life. Dare I state this in the negative and further conclude that, you can have memorized all the scriptures and know a whole lot about God rationally (‘about’ being the operative word) and be full of death?
The point is that the scriptures in themselves are a solid foundation, that should most definitely not be neglected, but if they do not lead you to a life of intimacy with Jesus, they did not achieve their purpose and will leave you with an inferior revelation of God.
I liken it to 2 people who have a sports card about their favourite sportsman, lets say John Smith. The card gives you all the exact details regarding his weight, height, experience, strengths, weaknesses etc and by the end of an in depth study of the information, both friends can have a very accurate insight into John Smith as a player. Then, the one friend gets to meet John Smith in person and goes for a coffee with him, chats about life and many other more personal things, and at the end gives him a handshake and says goodbye. Both people have the same basic information about John Smith, but the one friend has now actually met him and tells his friend about how big he really is in person, about his favourite food and how strong his hand shake was. The encounter he had with John is completely foreign to his friend and he will just never get it, unless he also encounters John in that way.
That is how it is for many people. They know the scriptures about God’s character and that He loves them, they know He is kind and compassionate and forgiving, they ‘know’ all these things, but do not really know God at all. One controversial scripture often quoted and taught is when Jesus says to a group of people “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:23). Very interesting is that Jesus said HE did not know THEM. We all know that God knows everything about every single person on the planet, but I believe this shows a key insight into the heart of God in that He desires to get to know us through relationship. It is not enough for Him to simply know everything about us for its own sake, He desires conversation, questions, sharing, laughing, hugging etc and I even add disagreement (for controversies sake). Somehow we think it is okay for us to simply know about God and never truly engage Him, when He desires more than that.
Recently God has been asking me questions, and given Janna and I amazing dreams at night. Why would God ask a question, when He knows the answer? Why would He give us dreams and want them to be sought out for interpretation when He could just have made it clear in the first place? Why give us different options in life regarding jobs, relocation, spouses, friends, church and so forth, why not just tell us plainly exactly what He wants us to do?
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. (Proverbs 25:2)” God said of the Israelites that they “knew my works but they did not know my ways” (somewhere in the bible). Bottom line is, Jesus did not die on a cross so we can have church, reach the lost, go to heaven, heal the sick, feed the poor or any of those wonderful things that I desire to see more and more, but primarily, He came and died, so we can have relationship with our Father.