Tag Archives: knowledge of God

Knowledge of God and Self


In the Scriptures we are often confronted with the Principal of Recognition.  First, we come to recognize who God is, e.g. “In the beginning God” and then we come to recognize ourselves, e.g. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” and “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 1:26; 6:5

This is clearly on display in the Book of Job, particularly if we examine the latter chapters where Yahweh speaks, revealing more of His character in bringing Job to an increased knowledge of Whom he has to do (Hebrews 4:13).  Subsequently, Job’s eyes are illuminated to see himself now with respect to God; the creature in light of the Creator.

This principal is not limited to Job, but spans all of Scripture and the examples are many.  It is evident with Moses (Exodus 34:8); Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-5); Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28); as well as in the New Testament with Peter (Luke 5:8) and the Revelation given to John (Revelation 1:13-17).  In each example, and there are others, we see how man is brought to a recognition of his own unworthiness, own sinfulness, in the light of God’s own holiness.  We may refer to this revelation as knowledge of God and it is with respect to this knowledge that we have a greater knowledge of self.

Writing in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin comments

“man never achieves a clear knowledge of himself unless he has first looked upon God’s face, and then descends from contemplating him to scrutinize himself (Vol. 1, pg. 37).”

and again

“we must infer that man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty (Vol. 1, pg. 39)”

Bringing the mind to a knowledge of God, through His general revelation (creation) and divine revelation (Scripture) should cause us to be struck with fear and reverence and then gratefulness that this same God would ever, by grace, condescend to call us (believers) His children.  Consequently, as Calvin says, this contemplation of God should cause us to consider ourselves, that we may humbled before him, realizing our sinfulness and weaknesses.

This was the path that God lead Job down, may it also be our path as we come to know more of God and more of ourselves.

Job 42:1-6

Then Job answered the Lord and said:

“I know that you can do all things,
    and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.

‘Hear, and I will speak;
    I will question you, and you make it known to me.’

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
    but now my eye sees you;

therefore I despise myself,
    and repent in dust and ashes.”

A Relentless Pursuit for Knowledge of God

In the book of Proverbs, there seems to be a prescription for attaining knowledge of God that involves an active pursuit instead of being passive and just assuming that a one-time salvation knowledge is good enough.  By this I mean that after a believer’s initial experience of coming to know God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, we are to grow in that knowledge.  God tells us of this through Peter’s second epistle, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

In our passage from Proverbs 2:1-5 we see a path toward growth in the knowledge of the Lord:

1My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God.

Does this sound passive?  Does it sound like a one-time coming to knowledge of God in salvation?  Or does it sound like a relentless pursuit of knowledge of the Lord God Almighty through His Word?  Clearly it’s the latter.

Note below God’s response to this pursuit in vs. 1-9:

6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
8 He guards the paths of justice,
And preserves the way of His saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
Equity and every good path.

Now the benefits vs. 10-16:
for wisdom will come into your heart,
   and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
   understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
   from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
   to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
   and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
   and who are devious in their ways.
16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
   from the adulteress with her smooth words

Seek Him and you will Find Him.  Pursue Him with a passion and He will continually reveal more of Himself to you.  The benefits He provides will be endless.