God's Knowledge of Us
James Smith, 1865
TRIALS. The quarters from which they come, their pressure upon my mind and heart, and the grace I need to bear them patiently, as a Christian ought. O Lord, You know my domestic trials, that they are great; my commercial trials, that they are heavy; my soul trials, which are worst of all. "You have tried me, and known me."
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account!" Hebrews 4:13
"The Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought!" 1 Chronicles 28:9
"I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person!" Revelation 2:23
"O Lord, You know!" Jeremiah 15:15
God's perfect knowledge is like the pillar-cloud which led Israel out of Egypt, and through the wilderness: it is dark and a cause of terror to His enemies — but it is light and a source of comfort to His children.
The thought often cheers us, "My God knows me!" Others may mistake me — He never will. Others may misunderstand me — He never can. He knows me intimately, thoroughly. His eye penetrates the depth of my nature, and looks under all the mysterious folds of my heart. There is not a thought in my heart, or a word in my tongue — but, "You know it completely, O Lord!" Let me meditate upon this fact, for a short time, in a devotional spirit, for my soul's profit, and the Lord's glory.
"O Lord, You know" my
My trials increase with my years, they come from new and unexpected quarters, they often bewilder my mind, and harass my soul — but, "O Lord, You know" them! They do not come unobserved by You. Rather, are they not sent by You, and intended to unsettle my mind from the things of time, and lead me to seek fellowship with the glorious things which are above? May every trial drive me to the feet of Jesus — that I may soothe my troubled spirit with a view of His beauty and glory.
"O Lord, You know" my TRIALS! In every trial, Lord,
sympathize with me, give me special grace, and help me to endure temptation
as a disciple of Jesus should.
"O Lord, You know" myFEARS. They are many, they are painful, they hang on so firmly. Many of them are unfounded, and often cause me much unnecessary pain. I am sometimes afraid of man. Occasionally afraid of God. Often, very often afraid of myself. My heart is so foul, my corruptions are so strong, my lusts are so active, Satan is so crafty, my temper is so irritable, and my tongue is so unguarded — that I am afraid that I shall some day fall and dishonor Your holy name!
Then, at times,
my mind is so dark, so carnal, so dead to everything that is holy;
my heart is so stupid, stubborn, and hard;
my affections are so earthly, depraved, and carnal
— that I am afraid that my past experience is delusion, my hope unfounded, and my profession a mistake. I am afraid I shall fall short at last — that death will undeceive me, and eternity be spent under the fearful frown of God!
My fears are often so numerous, so powerful, and so natural, that I am as timid as a dove; and sit down and write sad and bitter things against myself.
"O Lord, You know" my FEARS, the cause of them,
the nature of them, and the effect of them — and You alone can
effectually deliver me from them.
"O Lord, You know" myFOES. They are deceptive, dogged, and determined. They watch me, worry me, and weary me. They lay wait for me. They praise — and try to deceive me. They flatter — and try to puff me up. They threaten — and try to intimidate me. The old roaring lion — seeks to destroy me. The old serpent — endeavors to beguile me with his subtlety.
O the enemies I find in my heart! At times I meet with them in the church. Occasionally I come in contact with them in the world. My enemies are numerous, and they are powerful — but, "O Lord, You know" them all. They can only act under Your eye! You are present in their secret councils, You know their private plots, You watch their craftiest movements.
O what a comfort it is — when I can believe that God is my Father, and realize that He has all my enemies under His eye, and that He holds them all in check.
"O Lord, You know" my FOES! Lord, let me not dishonor You
by fearing man, or trembling before Satan, or feeling alarmed
at death! Rather give me wisdom and grace, to put on the whole of the
armor which You have provided, and manfully resist, oppose, and overcome
"O Lord, You know" myDESIRES. And these sometimes, form my only evidence of a work of grace in my heart. You know that I do desire to be holy — though I am not. You know that I desire to worship You in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. You know that I would exalt Jesus, spread His fame, and bring thousands of sinners to His feet. You know that I desire to mortify the flesh, with its affections and lusts; to put on the new man; to walk in holiness; and to be a burning and shining light. You know that I desire to be, to do, and to suffer all Your will without complaining, or even wishing for the least alteration in a single point. But my desires — and my conduct, my inward desires — and my outward behavior, are often sadly at variance, for I find the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, so that I cannot do the things that I would.
But blessed be God, my desires for practical conformity to His will are natural, habitual, and often powerful; and must, as I believe, spring from the presence, power, and operation of His Holy Spirit.
"O Lord, You know" my DESIRES! Give me grace that I may
be enabled to carry out my desires in all the walks of life!
"O Lord, You know" myHOPES.
Hopes that refer to time — and hopes that run into eternity.
Hopes that respect the body — and hopes that refer to the soul.
Hopes for the church — and hopes for the world.
Hopes for my family — and hopes for myself.
Especially my hope of eternal life — and of sharing in the glories and triumphs of Jesus when He comes.
The crown of my hope, You know is, the soon coming of my beloved Lord. To see Him come in the clouds, with glory, and all the holy angels with Him. To shine in the glory of the first resurrection, to be invited to sit down at the marriage-supper of the Lamb, and to share in the privileges and immunities of the New Jerusalem. O that the King of kings would come! O that the Lord would descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet call of God! O that the Lord's people could lay aside their prejudices, and as one man embrace the doctrine, and hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"O Lord, You know" that my hope of acceptance in Your
sight, rests on the finished work of Jesus alone, and all my hopes of good
in this world, or in that which is to come — are founded on Your most
blessed and holy Word.
"O Lord, You know" mySINS and FOLLIES. No one else does. No one else ever will. How could I look anyone in the face — if I thought he knew what was passing in my heart, or what is transacted in the chambers of my imagination within! The Lord alone can search the heart. He only knows the worst of us; and He only knows the best; for the best and the worst, are both concealed in the same heart. The eye of God sees every motive, every thought, every lust, every action! His eye is on that mysterious portion of our nature, called the imagination, on which such strange pictures are often painted, in which such fearful scenes are sometimes transacted. What a depth of pollution there is within us! What billows of corruption sometimes roll and swell! What streams of moral filthiness sometimes flow from the heart into the imagination! How difficult sometimes to keep it back. "You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from You!" Psalm 69:5
Little does the young Christian think what the pure and holy eye of God sees within him; and what his own eye will one day discover, filling him with alarm — if not with horror, with shame and self-loathing before God. Then he will enter into poor Job's confession, "Behold, I am vile!" and into Isaiah's exclamation, "Woe is me! I am undone!" "What more can I say unto You? For You know Your servant, O Sovereign Lord!" 2 Samuel 7:20
But blessed be God, the righteousness of Jesus covers all, conceals all; and the grace and Spirit of God will ultimately purge away the whole foul heap from us!
Now our iniquities are forgiven, and our sins are
covered; but then our natures will be perfectly purified, and be white as
the falling snow! "Beloved, now we are children of God, and what we
will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we
shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is!" 1 John 3:2
"O Lord, You know" myFRAME. You know what it was — when I lay dead in trespasses and sins! You know what it is — in my present transitory state. You know the diseases and disorders, from which the body suffers. You know the imperfect organization and depraved principles, by which the soul is fettered, troubled, and hindered. You know the weakness of the memory, the smallness of the mental capacity, the trembling state of the nerves, and the weak condition of the muscles. Yes, my Father knows it all!
"He knows our frame, He remembers that we are dust." The entire whole of us — is perfectly known to our Heavenly Father! He can fully understand us. He can sympathize with us. He can make all things work together for our good. All that in us is good — He has produced by His own Spirit and Word. All that is evil, He has permitted in His wisdom and holiness.
He knew us from eternity. When He chose us to eternal life — He knew all about us. When He called us by His sovereign and distinguishing grace — He was well aware of what we were, and what we would be. God has never been disappointed in us, whoever else may be.
O to know Him! To know Him fully, to know Him
experimentally, to know Him so as to love Him with all our
powers, to serve Him every moment of our lives, and to seek to
promote His glory in every action we perform. O to know Him as revealed in
Jesus, as seated on a throne of grace, as working all things after the
counsel of His own will! O to know Him in His own glorious world, where all
His perfections are fully displayed, all His attributes are manifested, and
all His gracious relations are enjoyed. O for the time, when we shall know
Him — even as also we are known by Him!
"O Lord, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue — You know it completely, O Lord. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to the heavens — You are there; if I make my bed in the depths — You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You!"
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139