“But the people who know their God will show strength and take action.” (Daniel 11:32)
AW Tozer once claimed that what comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. “Worship”, he said, “is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God….Always the most revealing thing about the Church is her idea of God, just as her most significant message is what she says about Him or leaves unsaid.”
If what Tozer says is true, then this means that our knowledge of God is the most accurate predictor of our spiritual health and future behaviour.
When we talk about ‘knowing’ God, what do we mean? It means that we are personally involved with Him, living by faith on the basis of His gracious promises to us in the Scriptures. Such knowledge of God is not simply theoretical; instead, it’s personal. It involves a life of fellowship with Him. According to the book of Daniel, such knowledge of God will make us strong and bold in our witness. Throughout the West today the church appears to be in decline. Can this be the result of an eclipse in our knowledge of God? It would seem so. Many Christians, under the influence of naturalistic science, now believe that God only plays a peripheral role in life. He has been pushed out to the margins. We have forgotten what the Bible teaches about His power and sovereignty. We simply regard God as a benign figure who would like to do more in the world but is constrained by his limited knowledge and control.
However, this is not the picture of the God in Scripture. The God of the Bible is not weak or vacillating; He is strong and invincible. Nothing happens without his permission or apart from his purposes. His plans are always fulfilled. This means that those who know Him act with confidence because they know His purposes can never be thwarted. If we seek an example of this, we need look no further than Daniel and his friends. When they were commanded to offer worship to an idol they refused. Why? Because they were convinced that God could save them. “Our God whom we serve is able to save us from the burning fiery furnace.” (Daniel 3:18)
A weak God produces weak men. Perverted notions of God rot the religion in which they are found. However, knowing God through having personal dealings with Him is the secret to finding spiritual strength and a fruitful life.