About three weeks ago I preached on Exodus 16…and this phrase stuck out…I have been thinking about it ever since.
“Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.” Exodus 16:12b
Israel had just been led out of Egypt under extraordinary circumstances. An estimated 3 million people saw amazing things…things that I think would have rendered them speechless…and perhaps cause them to rub their eyes in disbelief or pinch themselves to test the reality of their experiences. But they still weren’t sure they believed.
The Lord said to Abraham… “know for certain this will happen” when He made a covenant with him to do the miraculous and create a great nation from just one man…a nation that would be set apart…from which would come the salvation of our broken world.
Last week…at our morning devotional, we read a passage from Ezekiel 30.
There it was again…”then they will know that I am the Lord.”
I thought to myself…even thousands of years after the Exodus the Lord is still trying to show Israel who He is…that He is the One who is sovereignly orchestrating the circumstances of their lives.
Our capacity for unbelief is astounding.
On the two page spread in my Bible open to Ezekiel 30, this same phrase began jumping out at me…it appears 7 times! “Then they will know that I am the Lord.”
I decided to see how many times this phrase or ones very close to it…appear in the OT. I did a very quick search and discovered that it appears over 30 times. From Genesis to Ezekiel. I didn’t do an in-depth search…just a quick one so it probably occurs more than that.
I’m overwhelmed by how much the Lord wants us to know Him…to believe in His existence and His sovereignty in the universe. We have a creator God who gave us life and He wants us to know that He is real, personal, loving and reaching out to us.
Of course, the most dramatic way in which He revealed Himself to us was by taking on human flesh…becoming a man…and walking among us. This would be the ultimate sign of God with us, right? Emmanuel. Perhaps the Lord thought “surely if I become like one of them and walk with them they will “know that I am the Lord their God. “
Predictably, it was not the ultimate sign for many. Even those who stood in the presence of God incarnate and witnessed amazing things with their own eyes…still denied him. And the worst part is…many of them were the most religious Israelite people of the day…the Pharisees…the super enlightened self proclaimed holy people.
All of Israel looked to these men for godly counsel and wisdom about all things pertaining to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But they placed heavy burdens on the backs of people by heaping rule upon rule to their lives to try and keep them on the straight and narrow. They thought themselves very wise but they were fools. They gave religion a bad name. Jesus called them white washed tombs…they looked nice and clean on the outside but inside they were full of dead men’s bones and all things unclean. He called them hypocrites and accused them of keeping people out of the Kingdom of Heaven!
As I reflect on the world today…on the spiritual battle going on all over the world…and make no mistake…there is an intense spiritual battle going on for the souls of all mankind…I am saddened that so many people are still so far away from knowing for certain that He is the Lord.
Christians are mocked and sometimes for good reason…because there are still Pharisees among us who turn people away from the knowledge of God. They mean well…but they are doing more harm than good. They spend more time judging than declaring that God has made a way for them to know Him…and that way comes from faith in the only human who ever walked the earth that can set humanity straight again.
I despise religion…it is still keeping people from entering the Kingdom of Heaven. I hate that so many people are turned away from Christ because they don’t want to be associated with Pharisee-like people. Where is the love of Christ? Why aren’t there more loving Christians out there who gush with the love of God over hurting, helpless people searching for an answer to this corrupt world we live in?
It’s up to us now, those who believe, who carry the Light of the world with us everywhere we go…we should be the ones declaring… “then you will know that He is the Lord your God” when you hear the good news and believe. And there are no strings attached or rules heaped on you because when you give your life over to Him he makes all grace abound. You won’t be perfect (although you may strive to be out of devotion to Him) but you don’t have to be because when He looks at you He will see the righteousness of Christ! How outrageous is that?!! We should declare how much He wants people to know Him! But we must understand that he won’t reveal Himself by parting the Red Sea again or bringing water from a rock or manna from heaven. He reveals Himself through us…through the love of Christ that dwells in the heart of every believer. Where is your love? (Where is my love, for that matter? This is what is heavy on my heart.)
Believing that Jesus is who He professed to be is not far fetched…it’s not believing in a folk tale…you don’t check your brain at the door when you believe and you’re certainly not playing the fool…it’s not hocus pocus or wishful thinking or a crutch for the weak. It’s just the Truth. It’s the only reality there is…plain and simple. As much a reality as the rising and setting of the sun every day. It’s not complicated…you don’t need a degree to understand it. But unless we reveal Him through our love…He will not be known. What will be known…a bunch of hypocrites whose lives reflect anything but the love of God for a lost and desperate world. Preach Christ crucified and let that love speak for itself and leave the work of making holiness abound in a person’s life up to the Holy Spirit. He is able. Just go and love people…and be amazed at what can be accomplished for the Kingdom of God on earth.
As Christians, our only goal should be to hear others say of Him…after having interacted with us…Now I know that He is the Lord my God.
Elizabeth, A very good sermon and straight to the truth. The Holy Spirit will do the work of conviction of a person if we get out of the way and let Him work. Blessings to you, Lillie
Thanks for sharing your journey in Uganda.
Straight from the heart… and truth honestly spoken… thank you Elizabeth.
Awesome, Elizabeth. It really is so simple. Thanks for that! Susan Sanders
Oh my goodness…..what a great word and what a deep work the Lord is doing in you my friend. I say, AMEN! AMEN! AMEN! I am so over “correcting” behaviour in love. How about listening to the persons heart or how about asking how you can love, serve and help them……and wait. That’s the other part we do not understand. We have very patience and tolerance for anything that takes time. We simply do not understand the power and investment in waiting. AHHH, I am so sick to death of religion! And God forbid you are someone who actually does this and looks a little different than the rest of the pack…then you are the “overly” spiritual one or the one who is a little nutty.
I have read this one over and over and over….heartbreaking how we have lost focus on what was most Important to Jesus!-John 13:34-25…Elizabeth thanks for presenting this fundamental with Power and Love! As His disciple, you do indeed bring Him Glory….
Hey sweet girl- I love you so!…How is that tooth doing? I found that when my crown fell off, the sensitivity dulled in a couple of weeks….I hope you have found relief!…
is there a way to share your blog on FB?
I can’t wait to hear your sermon for tomorrow~