Often I find myself asking the Lord to reveal Himself to me. In fact I find myself, like Moses, continually pleading for God to “show me Your glory” or to at least let me experience a little of what the early church experienced back in the book of Acts. “Lord, give me something. Anything. Just give me a glimpse, maybe just a tiny taste of Your awe and Your power and Your majesty.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I really don’t know what I was expecting God to do. Maybe a flash of light like Peter and John saw when Jesus was transfigured before them. Maybe a chance to see the Spirit of God move in the wind and fire like Elijah did at the mouth of the cave. Or maybe to feel the very foundation of the house shaken by the power of God like it did when the early church prayed. I don’t know. Maybe something memorable. Maybe something out of the ordinary.
Something more than this.
Have you ever felt the same way? Have you looked at the life of the church portrayed in the Acts and then at your own life and wondered what went wrong? What’s missing? And if you have, did it drive you to the Scriptures or did it drive you to a church service that made you “feel” electrified with pulsating music and long, drawn out periods of spiritual aerobics? You know what I mean. Churches that try to imitate what they think the Spirit “feels” like by manipulating the flesh. We’ve all seen it done and we know how superficial it is at best. It’s a bad copy of the real thing. A counterfeit. A mirage. Smoke and mirrors.
Which brings us back to the Scriptures.
“Lord, is there somewhere in Your Word that will show us how to know You more? Is there some passage that can give us the key to unlocking the secret of getting close to You? Is there somewhere in Your Word that will satisfy our desire to know more of You? Lord, can you please help us out?”
And, of course, His answer is, yes.
First, you must understand that His Word is full of places that show us what is necessary to have intimate fellowship with Him. But many of these have to do with living right and striving for holiness, which is not a particularly popular topic in today’s Laodicean church.
So before we tackle the Graduate Level stuff like sanctification and “taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) or “walking by the Spirit and not according to the flesh” (Gal. 5:16) or “not being conformed to the image of this world” (Rom. 12:2), we need to take a step back and examine our level of commitment to living a life of intimacy with the Lord. It’s not something to be taken lightly. It’s a radical change of existence where you will daily die to yourself in order for Christ to live larger and stronger in you. It’s a trade, all of you for all that He is. It will be an adventure of great heights and deep valleys, of pain and hardship and failure— but it is also an adventure of breathtaking seasons of sheer bliss. “Is the pain and hardship worth it?” we all ask. Absolutely! But there’s a price to be paid to hear God speak and understand the knowledge and wisdom of God.
And the question before us is this: Are you willing to pay the price?
If so, let’s begin with some Scriptures that speak of the required level and intensity of our desire necessary to know the wisdom and knowledge of our God.
Proverbs 2 begins this way:
My son, if (a conditional clause) you receive (or, snatch, hold, get) my words and (implied – if you) treasure (or, hide, store up) my commands (not suggestions) within you (2:1).
Uh, question. What does it mean to receive Your words? Can You give me some examples?
So that you incline (or, heed, hearken, be attentive) your ear to wisdom, and apply (or, stretch out, extend) your heart to understanding (2:2).
Ok, got it. But to what extent? In other words, do I apply my heart like I did to high school algebra or is it something greater than that, something more intense? How much do I need to seek the wisdom of God and His understanding in order to experience true intimacy with God?
Yes, if (conditional clause) you cry out (or, call, summon) for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding (2:3).
So am I to cry out for Him like a fan at a football game or like Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire when he cried “Stella!” at the bottom of the stairs or Rocky Balboa when he cried out “Adrian!” in the ring? Or is it more like the two blind men that continually cried out to Jesus, desperate, refusing to be silenced, begging to be heard and healed, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Matt. 9:27). Or is it something more?
Can you feel the rising level of intensity in these words? It’s more than simple mental assent or wishful thinking. There’s a sense of dire urgency, of helplessness, of reckless abandonment in these words. The Lord tells us we must seek discernment and understanding like a drowning man seeks one more breath. We must want it more than anything else, more than life itself.
Does that seem a stretch to you? Does it seem too radical, too over-the-top? Then let’s read on.
If (again, conditional clause) you seek her (wisdom, discernment, understanding, knowledge of God) as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasure (2:4).
Got it, we are to seek and desire and crave the wisdom and knowledge of God more than the very treasures we spend our lives trying to accumulate. We must want it more than gold and silver, more than comfort and ease, more than our own pleasure. We must seek it like the man in search of fine pearls (Matt. 13:46) or the woman with the lost coin (Luke 15:8-10) or the man who finds the treasure in a field (Matt. 13:44). We must be willing to sell all that we have to possess the very wisdom of God and the knowledge of God and experience the very presence of God. After all, nothing else really matters, does it?
Then (the result of all the previous “ifs“) you will understand the fear (or, reverence, awe, terror) of God and find the knowledge of God (2:5).
Simple truth. Clear path. Wonderful reward. But are you willing to pay the price and fulfill the “if’s“, the conditional clauses, to receive the “then” at the end?
I know that I am. Are you? And, if so, will you join me on this grand adventure?
Adveho quis may.
Come what may.