In order for the mature Christian to fully do God’s will he/she must KNOW the Lord, His will, His ways and His voice. How do we come to fully know the Lord? How do we learn to hear His voice? This article will discuss and define those essential issues and teach us to, like Hosea said: “Come, let us return to the LORD… “So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
What does it mean to know the really know the Lord? There is a scriptural distinction between just seeing His acts and knowing Him personally. In Psalm 103:7 the psalmist said: “He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel”. The Sons of Israel saw the acts and miracles that God performed through Moses. They saw them and recognized that those acts were from God. They followed the cloud and the pillar of fire while in the wilderness. They acknowledged that it was God who had delivered them from slavery to the Egyptians. However Moses, their leader, knew something far deeper-he knew God’s ways; he knew how to do the things God wanted done. He had a personal relationship with God wherein God spoke to him face to face. Thus, Moses’ relationship with God was distinctly different from the relationship God had with the rest of His people.
Only Moses went up to Mt. Sinai, the mount of God, while Israel was in the wilderness. The rest of the sons of Israel were forbidden to ascend the Mount (Exodus 19:12). The Sons of Israel camped at the foot of the mountain and they saw the cloud of glory and the results of God’s appearing there to Moses, but only Moses ascended into the cloud of glory resting there.
Exodus 24:16-18 describes the scene: “The glory of the LORD rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; and on the seventh day He called to Moses from the midst of the cloud. And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top. Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights”.
This principal appears elsewhere in the scriptures. When Elijah was translated to heaven many prophets knew he was going to be taken but only one actually saw the event. As described in 2 Kings 2:1-14:
“And it came about when the LORD was about to take up Elijah by a whirlwind to heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here please, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As the LORD lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel. Then the sons of the prophets who were at Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he said, “Yes, I know; be still.” Elijah said to him, “Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho. The sons of the prophets who were at Jericho approached Elisha and said to him, “Do you know that the LORD will take away your master from over you today?” And he answered, “Yes, I know; be still.” Then Elijah said to him, “Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.” And he said, “As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them went on. Now fifty men of the sons of the prophets went and stood opposite them at a distance, while the two of them stood by the Jordan. Elijah took his mantle and folded it together and struck the waters, and they were divided here and there, so that the two of them crossed over on dry ground. When they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” He said, “You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw Elijah no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. He also took up the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and returned and stood by the bank of the Jordan. He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the LORD, the God of Elijah?” And when he also had struck the waters, they were divided here and there; and Elisha crossed over.
This portion of scripture paints a vivid picture of those who know the Lord and those who just know His acts. Let’s examine the above scripture in detail as it contains several clues on really knowing the Lord. At the time of 2 Kings chapter 2 there were many prophets of God in the land. No less than 50 of them were perceptive enough to know that Elijah was going to be taken to heaven by God (see above). Now to really know the Lord one must be more than just perceptive. He/she must be persistent. Elijah did everything he could to discourage the prophets, including his servant Elisha, from following him to the place where he was to be taken. First Elijah left Gigal and told Elisha to remain there. Elisha refused and followed Elijah against his orders (remember Elisha was Elijah’s servant).
So Elisha followed Elijah to Bethel and the perceptive prophets at Bethel told Elisha what he already knew i.e. that Elijah was going to be taken by God. Again Elijah commanded his servant Elisha to remain at Bethel but again Elisha disobeyed his master and followed Elijah to Jericho. At the Jericho the same thing happened. The prophets at Jericho told Elisha what he already knew, that Elijah was going to be taken. Elisha told the prophets again to “be still” (shut up) because Elisha refused to be distracted with the information he already knew. He wanted something more and refused to be deterred.
Elijah, in one last ditch attempt to deter Elisha and the other prophets,Elijah said he was going to the Jordon River and commanded Elisha to remain at Jericho. However Elisha and 50 prophets followed Elijah to the area of the Jordon River. 50 of them stood at a distance but 2 of them actually went with Elijah and Elisha to the banks of the river. Elijah then took his mantle and parted the Jordon river but only he and Elisha crossed the river-everyone else remained behind for whatever reason.
On the other side of the Jordon Elijah calmly folded his mantle and, realizing that he had been unable to shake Elisha off his trail, and realizing that Elisha was probably going to see him be taken to heaven, he asked Elisha what he wanted before he was taken. Remember Elijah had managed to elude prophets of God, seers, men of God, at Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho and the vicinity of the Jordon River. He had even eluded the last 2 prophets who went with him to the actual bank of the river. But only Elisha had followed him across the Jordon to the place where Elijah was to be taken by God.
Being found at the very spot where his master was to be taken up, Elisha told Elijah he wanted a double-portion of the spirit that was on Elijah. Remember Elijah was the prophet who defeated the 600 prophets of the God Baal in Israel, caused a drought, caused it to rain, anointed kings and was known as the prophet who “stood in the presence of the Lord” (1 kings 18:15). How audacious was it for Elisha to ask for a DOUBLE-PORTION of that? Yet that is what he asked for. Elijah finally gave in told Elisha that if he actually saw Elijah being taken he could have his double portion. Elisha passed the final test, saw the chariots of God take Elijah to heaven, recovered Elijah’s mantle and began to move in the double portion he had been given. His first act was to part the Jordon river, as Elijah had done, and went on to do exploits that actually exceeded those done by Elijah as recorded throughout the Book of 2 Kings.
There is then a distinction between those who are Christians, and even prophets, and those who really KNOW the Lord, like Moses, Elijah and Elisha (there were many more recorded in the scriptures). There is a destiny available for some who actually press on to KNOW Him. The Apostle Paul was one of those. In Philippians 3:10 Paul has laid out the burden of his own heart: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death”. He goes on; “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect [mature], have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;” (Philippians 3:12-15).
The ultimate goal of God he wants for us is that He wants us to be made perfect like His son was perfect. “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). And: “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance [steadfastness] And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”. (James 1:2-4).
To simply be saved is one thing, to be perfect is another. When Christ told the multitudes that they were to be perfect He did not qualify His statement to mean that after you die and go to heaven you will be perfect. He was speaking to those who were alive and stood before Him on that day. It is God’s will, to all that can hear it, that we be perfect here and now, in this earth. Christ told us to pray that : “thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Paul said: “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). He was speaking to those who were physically alive that their life in this earth was hidden in Christ above. He said: “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Col. 3:4). Perfection not in the sweet bye and bye but in the here and now, if you can receive it.
Only by intimately knowing the Lord will we fulfill God’s purpose and be made perfect in this age. Many died before they saw this vision that they had fulfilled. Let’s not be among them. Let us live and see it fulfilled in our lifetimes, once and for all, and finally. The myth that if you die and go to heaven you automatically become perfect is not supported by the scriptures. Hebrews chapter 11 makes this clear. Hebrews 11, called the roll call of faith, describes many men of God, who knew the Lord, who died but never received the promise. “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect”. (Hebrews 11:39-40). The perfection of those who have gone before us is dependent on us becoming perfect. We are those who will be allowed to see, in this lifetime, the fulfillment of the promise seen but not obtained by those who have gone before us.
This is not accomplished by simply being saved. As we saw in the preceding paragraphs there were many prophets and men of God who knew things or saw certain acts of God but only the really chosen, men like Moses and Elisha, obtained the promise and KNEW the Lord and were persistent enough not to be denied the fulfillment of that promise while they were here. Let us, as Paul said, have this attitude in ourselves. Let us not be denied the total and complete fulfillment God intends, if not for us, then for Christ and all who have gone on before. Let us press on to KNOW Him and the power of His resurrection. Let us become perfect as He is perfect.