Consider this encounter that Moses and the people of Israel had with God right after God had given them the Ten Commandments …
All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.” Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid; for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was. Exodus 20:18-21 (NASB)
When God came near, the people did not want God to speak to them directly – they wanted God to speak to them through Moses.
How often today do we as Christians act exactly the same way as the people of Israel?
But we’re not called to know somebody who personally knows Jesus … we’re called to know Jesus personally ourselves. And just like any other relationship that takes an investment of time, effort, love and ourselves.
In the above passage (and throughout the OT), God chose to speak to the people through His prophets (like Moses) … so in the encounter above, according to Moses, it seems like their response was to be expected. God’s intent in the thunder and the lightning and the trumpet and the smoke was that the fear of God would remain on the people , so that they would not sin.
But the way of the new covenant … the way of Christ … is that every believer knows and is known to Jesus the Son, God the Father and the Holy Spirit … that God speaks to each and every believer … NOT just leaders, teachers, etc.
“I (Jesus) am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch IN Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide IN Me, and I IN you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides IN the vine, so neither can you unless you abide IN Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides IN Me and I IN him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5 (NASB)
If apart from Christ a believer can do nothing, then each and every believer must abide IN Jesus and Jesus IN him or her … it’s first-hand knowledge … not second-hand … that brings us into that relationship.
How many of your best friend relationships are based on second-hand knowledge?
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. John 14:23 (NASB)
Knowledge of Jesus the Son and God the Father comes through a love relationship and that love relationship is developed by knowing Scripture and keeping Scripture in your heart along with all the experiential ways that love and Scripture comes into play in our moment-by moment lives and relationships. And then … both the Father and the Son make Their abode IN the believer!
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be IN you. John 14:16-17 (NASB)
IN conjunction with the relationship with the Father and the Son, the Father pours out the Spirit of truth … the Holy Spirit … INto the believer … the Holy Spirit abides with the believer and will be IN the believer.
From personal experience through the first 45 years of my life I can say … don’t simply get your teaching on the Bible second-hand … there is so much knowledge that God wants to bestow upon you and second-hand knowledge is but a drop in that bucket … a drop, I might add, that is part but not the entirety of God’s plan.
… that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, IN whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:2-3 (NASB)
IN Christ Jesus are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge!
Thank you Lord for sharing that treasure with Your children!