Mike and I have discovered something new about each other. After 30 years of marriage, we finally understand why we have always been polar opposites when it comes to Christmas. Let’s just say, I’m all about Christmas: shopping, decorating, baking, and all the thrills… and well, Mike is not. For all these years, it has been an issue between us. But now we understand why. Because an unforeseen event forced us to sit down and talk about it.
Yesterday’s eye-opening encounter made me think of yet another reason why believers have problems hearing God’s voice. So far I’ve provided you with two reasons: no expectation that He will speak and no necessity for Him to speak. But today I would like to submit another word to consider: Ignorance. We can have 10, 20, 30, or more years gathering knowledge about God but still not truly know Him, and if we do not know Him, we will never be able to recognize His voice.
Mike tells this story about his childhood neighbor and I think it will be helpful to make my point.
Growing up in a small town I had a best friend named Jay. He was my next door neighbor. We lived life together for the first eight years of our lives hardly ever missing a day of seeing each other. Our houses were close together and one day we decided to string a line from my bedroom window to his. We fastened a coffee can to the line with a draw string so that Jay could pull the can up hill to his window (Jay’s bedroom was on the second floor of his house and we had a single story home). When it was time to send the can back, Jay simply let gravity do all the work. We both loved potato chips. It was often the case that I was in possession of a bag. Jay would yell from his window, “Send up some chips”. I would place the potato chips in the can and Jay would haul in the booty. I moved away before I turned nine and never saw Jay again. One day forty years later while visiting family still living in that town a man approached me, shook my hand and said, “Do you remember me?” His eyes were very familiar and I knew he was someone from my past but I couldn’t place him. When he saw I was stumped he smiled and said, “Send up some chips!” It was those familiar words that made me recognize my old friend Jay.
Mike used this illustration in a paper he wrote on the Apostle John. Because John was so familiar with Yahweh of the Old Testament, he was able to recognize Jesus as Yahweh when Jesus spoke the familiar words of scripture. Like John, when we intimately know our Lord then no matter the situation or His appearance, we will recognize Him by His words. Therefore it is imperative that we know our God by His recorded words, His attributes, and His names. Why? He often reveals Himself to us in situations where we don’t recognize Him. He speaks, and at times, His words don’t make sense to us. He reveals Himself and we simply don’t see Him. Ignorance can blind us.
Before I share with you a few of the eye-opening things I’ve learned about my Lord, let me give you a tip on how to know God more intimately. I am a firm believer that God can not be taught, He must be ‘caught’. He must be experienced. Have you noticed in scripture that when someone would have a new encounter with God they would give Him a name to remember Him and the event?
When Abraham was given the ram to replace Isaac as the sacrifice, He declared God to be Jehovah Jireh, the Lord Provides. When God came to Hagar in the desert, she named Him El Roi, the God who sees. David had many names for God such as: my Deliverer, my Shield, my Rock and you just know He knew God by these names while he ran from Saul all those years.
Begin your prayer time by declaring;
Lord, I want to know you more intimately. I want to know you by your names recorded in your word. I don’t want to miss one aspect of your character. Therefore, reveal yourself to me as my ______________________.
Here is where you will fill in the blank with names you find in scripture. The book of Psalms is a great place to start but you’ll also find them in the New Testament like the Seven I AMs in the Book of John. Start a list and then begin to pray that God would continuously reveal Himself to you by a new name through a new encounter. Journal these new and exciting encounters. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Next week, I’ll share of few of my favorites with you. Until then, I pray He meets us in new and life-changing ways each day as we earnestly seek Him will all our hearts.