Our last lesson taught us to trust in the sovereignty of God. He is in control. There is nothing that happens without God's permission. That may or may not be of comfort to you depending on your understanding of God's character. I recently met a woman whose son had just died of cancer. She told me that when her son got sick she joined the church, attended prayer meetings, fed the homeless and focused on doing good works, but her son still died. She wept and said, "I guess, I just didn't do enough penance." This dear precious woman understood that God was sovereign, that He was in control and that He alone makes the decision over life and death, but it did not bring her peace or comfort. Why?
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord . . ." 2 Peter 1:2 The word for "knowledge" in this verse implies a larger, more thorough and intimate knowledge of God. It also means precise and correct knowledge. Our peace, our comfort, our understanding and our stability is completely based on our personal, intimate, precise and correct knowledge of God. The more we really know God the more we know, comprehend and experience His grace and peace.
Jesus said in John 17:3 "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." This is a big deal! Knowing God should be and must be our number one priority. It begins with knowing Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. You can not know God without knowing Christ. Our knowledge of Him grows, matures and becomes more intimate as we spend time with Him through reading & studying His Word, through prayer and through faith as we learn to trust Him and believe what He says.
When Habakkuk was confused he rehearsed the character traits of the God he knew intimately. He reminded himself and He reminded God of Who He is. He had an intimate, precise and correct knowledge of God and this gave him peace in the midst of chaos. When that dear mom expressed her "view" of God, I reached out and hugged her and told her how precious she was to the Lord. That He was a God of love, mercy, grace and that He did not require "penance." I told her that the "enemy" was using her view of God as harsh to keep her from the very God that wanted to bring her peace and comfort. She needed The Word and a correct view of God in order to start the journey of healing.
"For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6 (Quoted by Jesus in Matt. 9:13; 12:7)
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives ... to set at liberty those who are oppressed." (Luke 4:18 & Isa. 61:1)
As Paul prayed for us to "increase in the knowledge of God" (Col 1:10) so I pray for each of us to increase in intimacy with precise and correct knowledge of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. May each of us know Him as our Merciful Savior, the Healer of our broken hearts and our Liberator who has freed us to live triumphantly, victoriously and joyously.
"but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 4:18