Intimacy with the Almighty

As we discovered [Monday], “trusting in the Lord with all your heart” begins with the decision to “not lean on your own understanding.” The second choice calls for us to “acknowledge Him in all our ways.”

Acknowledge comes from a simple Hebrew term meaning “to know.” This kind of knowledge is personal and experiential. In fact, Hebrew writers used this term as a euphemism for sexual relations between a husband and wife. God’s knowledge of His creatures is complete (Genesis18:18; Deuteronomy 34:10; Isaiah 48:8; Psalms 1:6 and 37:18), and He wants us to know Him just as intimately. Rather than leaning on the human crutches of our own insights or skills, we are exhorted to know God’s mind—His character, His values, His attributes, His plan.

The Hebrew word derek means “way” or “road.” In the figurative sense, it refers to the choices we make and the experiences we encounter as we go through life. God encourages us to know His mind in all those decisions and circumstances. What is more, derek can also mean “characteristic manner,” as it does in Proverbs 30:18–19:

There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the sky,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the middle of the sea,
The way of a man with a maid.

One visual image associated with derek is that of an archer’s bow, which has a natural curvature to it. Psalm 7:12 uses the verb form of this root word to picture the Lord as having “bent His bow and made it ready.” Knowing God and doing things His way doesn’t mean we must sacrifice our uniqueness or conform to a specific manner of living: we don’t need to wear these clothes, live like our neighbors, pursue only those hobbies, stay within the lines—far from it! Discover who God made you to be and follow your unique path. Just don’t neglect knowing God.

Paul the apostle was, far and away, unlike any man of his time, and there has been no one like him since. He made unusual life choices—remaining single, traveling constantly, devoting himself entirely to ministry—and took a path through life no other could walk. He accomplished more in fifteen years than most people achieve in a lifetime. In addition to evangelizing much of the Roman world, he wrote more than a third of the New Testament. Yet nothing displaced his number-one priority: knowing Christ.

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8–11)

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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