Thank you so much to everyone who has been so kind with your encouraging words about these devotionals. Many churches are doing video sermons and while we are not pursuing that, we are pursuing the endeavor of helping those who read these to focus on God, His Word and His power on a daily basis, which was truly laid on my heart as your Pastor. Let’s worship Him through music:
Prayer from Pastor Sam:
Lord, help us to know you better and to become better accustomed with who you are. So much of our time is spent learning about things that aren’t inherently bad, but may very well be robbing us of the best. Help us to not only learn more of who you are, but as we get to know you more personally, transform us by that relationship. Let it be obvious to others that we’ve spent time around you and let the effect be winsome as we come in contact with family, friends, and complete strangers. God, let others not only hear a message of hope from our minds and mouths but also from our character when we receive blessings and when we endure trials. Keep our confidence in you today; not in jobs, not in health, not in economic strength, not in government, but in you. All these things will pass and fade away, taking their place in history and memory. You, Lord, never change. I pray that you’d help us to be gripped by the truth of your control today. Thank you, Lord. In Christ’ name I pray, Amen.
In 1 Samuel 21:10-14, these words are recorded:
Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of him to one another in dances, saying:`Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands ‘?”
Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. So he changed his behavior before them, feigned madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me?
When David fled from Saul to the Philistine city of Gath long ago, it’s hard to tell whether or not he had any inkling that he’d be recognized—but it wouldn’t be far-fetched to think that he certainly hoped he wouldn’t! Upon being identified, David did everything he could to make them believe he wasn’t who they thought him to be. By feigning madness, he was quickly dismissed and safe for the time being.
The moral dilemma need not be discussed regarding David’s deception, but it does provide a good segue into John 1:10. When Jesus came into this world, He didn’t try to hide who He was; that being said, He also didn’t bend over backwards trying to convince people who He was. He came and He spoke truth and life, performed many miracles, forgave sin, condemned self-righteousness and eventually died on a cross and rose again. Evidence of His identity was never the issue; the hardened hearts of sinners, stuck firmly in their disbelief, was the issue and still is. It’s no less a work of God today for someone to believe in Christ in their heart of hearts; many may subscribe to Him for a season, but to have your heart taken captive by Him in legitimate faith is never anything less than the redeeming work of the Holy Spirit in the conviction of sin and the work of sanctification that courses throughout your remaining days on this planet.
He came into the world, and the world was made through Him. Isn’t that interesting? The Maker of this world was here, the one sustaining the whole existence of everything, walking among humanity. You would think there would some ounce of recognition that the Sovereign Lord was with them, but it just wasn’t so. Why is that?
“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)
More than any other reason, it is the sin of the heart. Sin is blinding and makes people not only fail to see what is true, but also works to convince them that what isn’t so ought to be. Listen to this verse:
“For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns– broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)
God was calling out the Israelites for the sin that we still commit today: prideful rejection of a fulfilling God in exchange for the madness of embracing lesser things that will always leave us wanting more yet never having enough. Generally speaking, people don’t pursue bad things so much as they pursue good things that are lesser than God—which completely taints the waters of the heart with the poison of idolatry.
The world did not know Him. He made the people of the world, He walked among them, He’s been recorded in Scripture so we could see Him and hear His words on the written page, and yet the world did not know Him. The word for “know” here is ginosko (pronounced ghin-oh-skow) from the Greek, and it’s significant because the primary alternative would be oida (pronounced oy-duh). Ginosko is a relational type of knowledge, one that is drawn through a growing awareness of another through experience with them, whereas oida is an observational knowledge, something more from sheer study and comprehension. We have both in this life; you might know a lot about someone like Abraham Lincoln, and yet you don’t know Abraham Lincoln. You couldn’t. The verse is saying that the world doesn’t know Him in a relational way. They may know about Him, or have their own judgments and perceptions drawn as to who He is, but few really know Him.
Thankfully the line of thought doesn’t stop there. The message we proclaim today is that anyone can know Him, because He came to make Himself known. Through faith in Jesus Christ, the separation that exists between man and God is removed. No matter how much we may have learned about Him, that knowledge will never be a suitable substitute for knowing Him personally. We can pray to a God who hears and cares; we can read His word and let the truth speak to us; the Holy Spirit bears fruit in us and helps us as we walk towards Him. The track record of building that relationship over time is how we gain relational knowledge. When we point to the various times we’ve seen God’s hand at work, providing for our needs and guiding us in decisions and so forth, the relational knowledge solidifies.
If you’ve only narrowed Christianity down to doctrine and rites of passage like praying a prayer, making a decision, getting baptized and joining a church in membership, even serving and sacrificially giving, but you’ve missed the relationship with Christ through it all, you’ve missed the point. My theology teacher in seminary said on a least a few occasions, “Don’t put your trust in your trust.” For all the actions a person might take in church, all the boxes they might be able to check off, if they’re relating to all of their Christian “merits” as reasons for acceptance, they’re missing the point. Have faith in Christ’s word to you, not your sincerity, not your longevity, not your sacrifice, not your trust. Trust means taking Him at His word: that He’ll keep the promises He made in Scripture and that our hope is not in found in the keeping of our word to Him, but in His keeping His word to us. As He keeps that word, changes within us will come as He calls us to become what He is also making us to be.
Time to close with some questions to contemplate and another song of worship as a prayer to God!
You know about Jesus, but how well do you know Him? What could you do to know Him better?
How does relational knowledge impact observational knowledge?
Have you exchanged the relational knowledge of Christ for the textbook observational knowledge of Him? Both are important, but don’t confuse the two as the same!
We have heard some prayer requests from you and we ask that you join us in praying for the overall health of our church. Immune systems are down with other sicknesses for many of our people! God bless you today!