1. Application

Knowing God

Judges 2:6–10 (ESV)

6 When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Israel went each to his inheritance to take possession of the land.

The generation of Joshua served the Lord. And that’s to say that in contrast to subsequent generations, Joshua’s generation knew the Lord. The Lord mattered to them. They enjoyed a level of intimate communion with God. Oh they were not perfect. Joshua had to utter a stern warning to that generation, which itself served foreign gods, and was not able to serve the Lord on its own. But it was a generation set apart from following generations in that it knew its need for God and his compassion and mercy. The following generations did not know the Lord.

For us too, then, there’s a call to know the Lord. And understand well: knowing the Lord is more than being able to state the gospel clearly. You can know a great deal about God without much knowledge of him. You can know as much about God as Calvin knew. But true knowledge of your God also includes trusting in him alone. To know God is to have a concern about God that involves the understanding of the mind, the movement of the will, and the application of the heart.1

Knowing God is what liberates you from a downward, enslaving cycle of sin. This is eternal life, Jesus prayed, that they may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. Every new generation needs to know God in a personal, saving, real way. We all have the calling to know him who first knew us. We are supposed to be at home with what the apostle says, that I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ my Lord (Philippians 3:8). Can you say that with the apostle?

Christ is to be the exclusive Lord of our lives. Knowing Christ is what will enable us to identify the false gods around us that threaten us, that tempt us. It will help us to engage in holy war against the false gods, slaying them with the sword of the Spirit, and through prayer. Knowing Christ will help us to be committed to looking honestly at every area of our lives—our families, our jobs, our possessions, time, goals, and so on—and asking, Am I willing to do whatever God says about this area?