TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  Being Close to God

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Chapter 24  Part I

Being Close to God

Being or growing close to God involves consciously seeking God and focusing on him. Additionally, we can actually meet with God and also should live throughout each day in awareness of his presence. In growing close to God, we come to know him – the importance of which is emphatically stated by the Bible.

Seek God

See also:

The Bible tells all people to seek God in order to find him and become one of his people – as spoken of in the first two of the above cross references. But it also shows that God’s people are to continue seeking him – the focus of this section. “Seeking” typically entails intense effort, which is very much applicable to seeking God and fellowship with him. Seeking God also requires prayer, worship and obedience – along with persistently focusing on God, as per the following section, Focus on God.

Seek God – with all your heart

Ps 105:4  Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! ▤ 

1Chr 22:19a  Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God. ▤ 

2Chr 19:3  Nevertheless, some good is found in you, for you destroyed the Asherahs out of the land, and have set your heart to seek God. ▤ 

2Chr 22:9b  They buried him, for they said, “He is the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart.” And the house of Ahaziah had no one able to rule the kingdom. ▤ 

2Chr 30:18-20  For a majority of the people, many of them from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun, had not cleansed themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than as prescribed. For Hezekiah had prayed for them, saying, “May the good Lord pardon everyone 19who sets his heart to seek God, the Lord, the God of his fathers, even though not according to the sanctuary’s rules of cleanness.”o 20And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. ▤ 

o Hebrew not according to the cleanness of holiness

The fact that the people were earnestly seeking God took precedence over their failure to carry out the purification rituals (cf. NSB).

2Chr 34:3  For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet a boy, he began to seek the God of David his father, and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the Asherim, and the carved and the metal images. ▤ 

Ps 63:1  O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. ▤ 

Ps 119:2, 10  Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, ▤ 10With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! ▤ 

Isa 26:9  My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. ▤ 

Dan 9:3  Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. ▤ 

  • David resolved to seek to dwell in God’s presence:

Ps 27:4  One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquirep in his temple. ▤ 

p Or meditate

David sought to have access to God’s house (later the temple) and so to God’s presence, for worship. God’s “beauty” appears to refer to his “goodness” (GNT) and/or wonder (cf. CEV).

Seek God wholeheartedly and you will find him

See also:

Deut 4:27-29  And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. 28And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. ▤ 

Jer 29:12-14  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. ▤ 

1Chr 28:9  And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. ▤ 

2Chr 15:2-4, 12, 15  … and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. 3For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, 4but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. ▤ 12And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, ▤ 15And all Judah rejoiced over the oath, for they had sworn with all their heart and had sought him with their whole desire, and he was found by them, and the Lord gave them rest all around. ▤ 

Isa 45:19  I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness; I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’q I the Lord speak the truth; I declare what is right. ▤ 

q Hebrew in emptiness

This implies that God does not tell us to seek him for nothing (cf. AMP); i.e. he would not tell us to do so if he could not be found.

Matt 7:7-8  Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. ▤ 

These verses concern persistence in prayer, but the promise “seek, and you will find” is applicable to persistently seeking God, with all one’s heart.

Prov 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. ▤ 

The speaker is Wisdom personified. As with seeking God, those who sincerely seek godly wisdom will find it.

  • Seek God’s kingdom and righteousness before other things:

Matt 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ▤ 

In this context, God’s “righteousness” involves “doing what God wants” (NCV™, cf. CEV, GNT), i.e. doing what is right in God’s eyes. So to seek it means to seek to do what God wants. See also Pursue righteousness . . ..

Seeking God should be accompanied by obedience to him

See also:

2Chr 14:3-4  He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim 4and commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment. ▤ 

2Chr 17:3-4  The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, 4but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. ▤ 

Ps 119:2-3  Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 3who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways! ▤ 

Zeph 2:3  Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands;r seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the Lord. ▤ 

r Or who carry out his judgment

2Chr 31:21  And every work that he undertook in the service of the house of God and in accordance with the law and the commandments, seeking his God, he did with all his heart, and prospered. ▤ 

This may mean that in all Hezekiah did in service and obedience to God, he in effect sought God or aspired to seek him. Alternatively it may mean that Hezekiah sought God and God’s will in regard to what he did. The first possibility would be the one most pertinent to this subsection.

Ps 24:3-4, 6  Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. ▤ 6Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.s Selah ▤ 

s Septuagint, Syriac, and two Hebrew manuscripts; Masoretic Text Jacob, who seek your face

To seek God and fellowship with him (vv. 3, 6) one’s life must reflect such aspects of obedience as purity and faithfulness (v. 4) – and righteousness (Isa 51:1 ).

Isa 51:1  Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the Lord: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. ▤ 

Hos 10:12  Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. ▤ 

Righteous living and faithful love are portrayed here as preparatory to seeking the Lord (although “steadfast love” could instead be referring to God’s love). Repentance may also be in view here, with the expression “break up your fallow ground” possibly speaking of preparing oneself (primarily by repentance) to be productive and/or for blessing.

Isa 58:1-3  Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins. 2Yet they seek me daily and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that did righteousness and did not forsake the judgment of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments; they delight to draw near to God. 3‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,t and oppress all your workers. ▤ 

t Or pursue your own business

This passage and Hosea 5:5-6 below show that seeking God should be accompanied by obedience to him by indicating that it is futile while persisting in sin. Because of their sins (vv. 1, 3b), the people’s efforts to seek God (v. 2) had been fruitless (v. 3a).

Hos 5:5-6  The pride of Israel testifies to his face;u Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt; Judah also shall stumble with them. 6With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them. ▤ 

u Or in his presence

Seek God and his help through prayer and fasting

2Chr 7:14  … if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ▤ 

Isa 26:16  O Lord, in distress they sought you; they poured out a whispered prayer when your discipline was upon them. ▤ 

Dan 9:3  Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. ▤ 

2Sam 12:16  David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. ▤ 

2Chr 20:2-4  Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom,v from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). 3Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. ▤ 

v One Hebrew manuscript; most Hebrew manuscripts Aram (Syria)

Ezra 8:21, 23  Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods. ▤ 23So we fasted and implored our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. ▤ 

Blessings of seeking God

2Chr 14:7  And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered. ▤ 

2Chr 26:5  He [Uzziah] set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper. ▤ 

Ezra 8:22  For I was ashamed to ask the king for a band of soldiers and horsemen to protect us against the enemy on our way, since we had told the king, “The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him.” ▤ 

Ps 24:4-6  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. 5He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.w Selah ▤ 

w Septuagint, Syriac, and two Hebrew manuscripts; Masoretic Text Jacob, who seek your face

To seek God’s “face” has been equated with seeking God’s favor, but usually it probably primarily refers to seeking his “presence” or fellowship – from which would follow his favor.

Ps 27:4-6  One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquirex in his temple. 5For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. 6And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord. ▤ 

x Or meditate

Ps 34:4, 10  I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. ▤ 10The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. ▤ 

The reference in v. 4 and possibly also in v. 10 is to seeking God and his help in times of need.

Ps 40:16  But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the Lord!” ▤ 

Likewise Psalms 105:3 says, “… let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!” The suggestion in both verses is that seeking God leads to rejoicing in him (cf. Ps 27:6 ).

Ps 69:32  When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. ▤ 

God’s answering of the psalmist’s prayer for salvation (cf. v. 19) is in view. Answered prayer – particularly prayer regarding deliverance of God’s people – brings encouragement not just to those concerned, but to all who seek God.

Ps 119:2  Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, … ▤ 

Prov 28:5  Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely. ▤ 

Lam 3:25  The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. ▤ 

Hos 10:12  Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. ▤ 

Hosea indicates that seeking God would result in God making his presence known, showering “righteousness” on his people. This “righteousness” may refer to God, in faithfulness to his promises, righteously either saving his people (cf. CEV) or showering blessings on them (cf. GNT). Alternatively it may indicate that God would make them righteous.

Amos 5:4-6  For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live; 5but do not seek Bethel, and do not enter into Gilgal or cross over to Beersheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing.” 6Seek the Lord and live, lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel, … ▤ 

Israel is called upon to seek God in repentance so as to live, rather than face the consequences of continuing in its rebelliousness.

Matt 6:33  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ▤ 

In conjunction with seeking God, we should persistently seek his kingdom, seeking it before anything else. This would appear to encompass both seeking to enter it ourselves and seeking its advancement throughout the world. The phrase “all these things” refers to life’s needs – in particular food, drink and clothing (cf. vv. 25-32).

  • God has never forsaken those who seek him:

Ps 9:10  And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. ▤ 

Not seeking God has detrimental results

2Chr 12:14  And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord. ▤ 

Isa 31:1  Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord! ▤ 

Hos 7:9-10  Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not. 10The pride of Israel testifies to his face;y yet they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him, for all this. ▤ 

y Or in his presence

Verse 10b implies that if Israel did seek God – searching for him and returning to him – then it would not suffer the problems mentioned in v. 9. It also suggests that the problems were a result of not seeking God and departing from him in the first place.

Zeph 1:4, 6  “I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off from this place the remnant of Baal and the name of the idolatrous priests along with the priests, ▤ 6those who have turned back from following the Lord, who do not seek the Lord or inquire of him.” ▤ 

Zeph 3:1-2  Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! 2She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord; she does not draw near to her God. ▤ 

  • Salvation is far from those who do not seek out God’s decrees:

Ps 119:155  Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes. ▤ 

Note: Desire God and things of God

See also:

Ps 73:25  Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. ▤ 

Isa 26:8-9  In the path of your judgments, O Lord, we wait for you; your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul. 9My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. ▤ 

Verse 8b is speaking of desiring or longing for either God (cf. GNT, NASB, NCV, NKJV) or his honor (cf. CEV, NLT) – or possibly both.

Ex 33:18  Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” ▤ 

Moses desired to see God’s glory.

Matt 5:6  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. ▤ 

1Cor 14:1, 39  Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. ▤ 39So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. ▤ 

Similarly 1 Corinthians 12:31a says, “But earnestly desire the higher gifts.”

Phil 3:8-11  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. ▤ 

In v. 10a, Paul speaks of wanting to know Christ and to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection in his own life and the fellowship with Christ produced by sharing in the sufferings incurred by furthering his cause. In v. 10b, “becoming like him in his death” is usually interpreted as referring to either: identification with Christ in his death, in our death to sin; or being willing to obey God to the point of death, as Christ did (cf. CEV).

1Pet 2:2  Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— ▤ 

The term “pure spiritual milk” probably denotes God’s word or truth, which God’s people are to desire to the point of craving.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Focus on God

See also:

Keep thinking about God and his love

Ps 16:8  I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. ▤ 

As reflected in the second clause, with the first clause David indicates that he continually kept himself aware of God’s presence (cf. GNT).

Ps 63:5-7  My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, 6when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 7for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. ▤ 

Ps 119:55  I remember your name in the night, O Lord, and keep your law. ▤ 

Ps 27:4  One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquirez in his temple. ▤ 

z Or meditate

David desired to persistently dwell in God’s presence, focusing on God’s “beauty” – which appears to refer to his “goodness” (GNT) or wonder (cf. CEV).

Ps 26:3  For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness. ▤ 

Here David probably means that he intentionally kept God’s love in view. Alternatively David may mean that he was constantly aware of God’s love being shown to him.

Ps 48:9  We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. ▤ 

Ps 107:43  Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord. ▤ 

The phrase “attend to these things” refers to giving attention or heed (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV) to God’s deeds for his people, which demonstrated his “steadfast love”.

Ps 145:5  On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. ▤ 

  • God gives peace to those who focus on him:

Isa 26:3  You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. ▤ 

Keep thinking about what God has done

See also:

Ps 77:11-12  I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. 12I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. ▤ 

Ps 105:5  Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, … ▤ 

Ps 119:27  Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works. ▤ 

Ps 143:5  I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands. ▤ 

Job 37:14  Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. ▤ 

Ps 111:2  Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. ▤ 

  • Consider what great things God has done for you:

1Sam 12:24  Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. ▤ 

Think about Jesus Christ – and his example

See also:

In saying to think about Jesus, the following references appear to primarily have in view Jesus’ example (Heb 3:2a; 12:2b-3).

Heb 3:1-2  Therefore, holy brothers,a you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’sb house. ▤ 

a Or brothers and sisters; also verse 12

b Greek his; also verses 5, 6

We should “thoughtfully and attentively” (AMP) consider Jesus and his example.

Heb 12:1-3  Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. ▤ 

Look forward to what is to come in the afterlife . . .

See also:

Note that Colossians 3:1-3 below in Further godly things to focus on, also pertains to this subsection.

Rom 8:23  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. ▤ 

2Cor 4:17-18  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. ▤ 

The phrase “eternal weight” (v. 17b) appears to be in contrast to the phrase “light momentary” (v. 17a). In v. 18, “the things that are unseen” primarily has in view the “eternal weight of glory” (v. 17b) to come.

2Cor 5:2-4, 8  For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3if indeed by putting it onc we may not be found naked. 4For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. ▤ 8Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. ▤ 

c Some manuscripts putting it off

The “heavenly dwelling” (v. 2) appears to refer to the believer’s resurrection body. Paul longingly looked forward to being “clothed” with such a dwelling, when he would be “at home with the Lord” (v. 8).

Heb 11:10, 13-14, 16  For he [Abraham] was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. ▤ 13These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. ▤ 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. ▤ 

The “city” (vv. 10, 16b; cf. Heb 13:14 ) – in association with the “homeland” (v. 14) and the “country” (v. 14) – can be linked with “the holy city, new Jerusalem” (Rev 21:2).

Heb 11:26  He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. ▤ 

Heb 13:14  For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. ▤ 

2Pet 3:11-13  Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 13But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. ▤ 

For comment on the phrase “hastening the coming” (v. 12a), see the comment on 2Pet 3:11-12 – under Await Jesus Christ’s return – and for all that will follow.

Job 19:26-27  And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet ind my flesh I shall see God, 27whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! ▤ 

d Or without

The final statement appears to be expressing a yearning or longing (cf. AMP, CEV, NCV, NIV, NKJV) for the aforementioned things to eventuate.

. . . Do not dwell on the past

Isa 43:18-19  Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. ▤ 

The first statement (v. 18) may be speaking of Israel’s former sins and/or circumstances, meaning that they should forget these things. Instead they were to focus on God’s new work (v. 19).

Luke 9:61-62  Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” ▤ 

We must not look back to things that took precedence in the past, focussing on them to the detriment of our work for God. Even things that are genuinely important – which appear to be in view here (v. 61) – need to be made a secondary consideration if they conflict with the work of the kingdom. Note that Jesus did not advocate the shirking of family responsibilities (cf. Mark 7:9-13).

Phil 3:13-14  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ▤ 

Heb 11:15  If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. ▤ 

Abraham in particular is probably in view here, as an example to all believers. If he had been thinking longingly of the country he had left at God’s command he would have found a way to return. Instead he looked forward to that which God had called him (cf. v. 16).

Gen 19:17, 26  And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” ▤ 26But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. ▤ 

Lot’s wife failed to heed the warning to not look back at the sinful city that they had left behind. Her action arguably suggests a longing for or desire to hold on to that which was to be left behind.

Further godly things to focus on

Ps 101:2a  I will ponder the way that is blameless. ▤ 

Rom 8:5  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. ▤ 

Phil 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ▤ 

Col 3:1-4  If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is youre life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. ▤ 

e Some manuscripts our

Believers are to seek things above (v. 1), setting their minds on them (v. 2). They are to focus on both the present reality – including Christ’s authority (v. 1) – and on sharing in these things in the future (v. 4). Such a heaven and Christ centered focus leads believers to act in a way that is consistent with: heavenly priorities and goals; a life in Christ (vv. 3-4); and a future share in his glory (v. 4).

Matt 16:21-23  From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord!f This shall never happen to you.” 23But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindranceg to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” ▤ 

f Or “[May God be] merciful to you, Lord!”

g Greek stumbling block

Obviously the implication here is that we should set our minds or focus on “the things of God”, as opposed to “the things of man” (i.e. earthly or worldly considerations).

Pray for persecuted Christians

Meet with God and Live before Him

We are to come before God – in the sense of coming into his presence, i.e. intentionally being aware of his presence – to meet with him. Christians typically set aside some time everyday to do this, focussing fully on God. Generally this involves reading the Bible, prayer and even meditation.

Additionally, we are to constantly live before God in the sense of living in awareness of his presence, companionship, help and discernment of our lives. As such we should think, speak and act accordingly.

Prepare yourself to come before God, as shown in the OT practice of consecration

See also:

To “consecrate” oneself means to set oneself apart for God or to dedicate oneself as sacred to him (cf. Consecrate yourself to serve God . . .; . . . Be holy and set apart). It is also spoken of in the OT in regard to cleansing oneself before approaching God or entering his temple. In both cases it signifies ridding oneself of all that is sinful. As such, a parallel can be drawn between the OT practice of consecration and the need for believers to rid themselves of sinful practices in order to approach God.

Ex 19:22  Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them. ▤ 

1Sam 16:5  And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. ▤ 

One needed to be consecrated in order to offer a sacrifice before God.

2Chr 5:11  And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, … ▤ 

The “Holy Place” and the temple (cf. 2Chr 23:6 ) were places where the priests and – in the case of the temple – the people could come before God. Thus there was the need for one to be consecrated before entering them.

2Chr 23:6  Let no one enter the house of the Lord except the priests and ministering Levites. They may enter, for they are holy, but all the people shall keep the charge of the Lord. ▤ 

Note that this refers to a particular situation where only the priests and Levites on duty would have been “consecrated” (GNT, NIV) at that time.

Ex 19:10-11  … the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. ▤ 

Here and in Joshua 3:5 below it is God coming to meet with the people, as opposed to them coming before him. But as this would also require the people to be in God’s presence, they were likewise required to consecrate themselves.

Josh 3:5  Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” ▤ 

Approach God . . .

See also:

Ezek 45:4  It shall be the holy portion of the land. It shall be for the priests, who minister in the sanctuary and approach the Lord to minister to him, and it shall be a place for their houses and a holy place for the sanctuary. ▤ 

Just as the priests approached God to “minister to” him, believers should also approach him. One reason they should do so is that they also have priestly roles, such as interceding with God on behalf of others.

Ps 24:3-4  Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. ▤ 

The “hill of the Lord” (v. 3) refers to Mount Zion, the place of God’s holy sanctuary, which signified his presence amongst his people in the OT. This sanctuary was firstly the tabernacle and later the temple. These verses suggest that not only may God’s righteous people approach him, but it is desirable and appropriate that we do so.

Ps 132:7  “Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!” ▤ 

According to some commentators “his footstool” refers to the ark of the covenant, but it may more generally be referring to the temple – which contained the ark – as the place of earthly worship of him. The temple was the primary place for one to approach God, as reflected by most of the verses in this subsection.

Jer 26:2  Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. ▤ 

Luke 18:10  Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. ▤ 

Acts 3:1  Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.h ▤ 

h That is, 3 P. M.

Eph 3:11-12  This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. ▤ 

This speaks of “access” (v. 12) into God’s presence. As per the comment on Psalm 24:3-4 above, this suggests that we should access God’s presence.

. . . Draw near to God

See also:

Heb 7:18-19, 25  For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness 19(for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. ▤ 25Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermosti those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. ▤ 

i That is, completely; or at all times

The “better hope” (v. 19) alludes to Jesus Christ’s priesthood and the new covenant, by which we are able to draw near to God (cf. Heb 10:19-22 ). The Greek verb translated as “draw near” (v. 25) speaks of constantly coming to worship God, through Jesus Christ (cf. NBC).

Heb 10:19-22  Therefore, brothers,j since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. ▤ 

j Or brothers and sisters

The earlier reference to entering the holy places (v. 19) suggests that in speaking of drawing near to God (v. 22) the writer has in view believers coming into God’s presence to meet with him – as opposed to one coming near to God in the sense of beginning a right relationship with God. The “full assurance of faith” (v. 22) appears to refer to a full assurance “that comes from having faith” (CEV).

James 4:8  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. ▤ 

This is an appeal to wayward believers to draw near to or come back to God in repentance, rather than simply encouragement to draw near to God so as to meet with him. But even so it is somewhat applicable to the latter.

Ps 73:28  But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. ▤ 

  • Condemnation of ones who rebel and do not draw near to God:

Zeph 3:1-2  Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, the oppressing city! 2She listens to no voice; she accepts no correction. She does not trust in the Lord; she does not draw near to her God. ▤ 

Come before God, meeting with him

See also:

Deut 31:11  … when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. ▤ 

Just as the Israelites at times together came before God, believers can both individually and corporately come before God, to meet with him.

Judg 20:26  Then all the people of Israel, the whole army, went up and came to Bethel and wept. They sat there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. ▤ 

We ought to come before God and meet with him when facing hard times (cf. 2Chr 20:13 ; 2Ki 19:14 ), as well as a matter of course.

2Chr 20:13  Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. ▤ 

2Ki 19:14  Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. ▤ 

Deut 12:18  … but you shall eat them before the Lord your God in the place that the Lord your God will choose, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your towns. And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all that you undertake. ▤ 

For their festivals, the Israelites were to come before God and celebrate in his presence (cf. 2Sam 6:5, 21 ), at the designated centre of worship, which later would be in Jerusalem.

2Sam 6:5, 21  And David and all the house of Israel were making merry before the Lord, with songsk and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. ▤ 21And David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as prince over Israel, the people of the Lord—and I will make merry before the Lord. ▤ 

k Septuagint, 1 Chronicles 13:8; Hebrew fir trees

This clearly demonstrates that being before God involves not only times of being quiet and solemn – as is also reflected in Deuteronomy 12:18 above.

Ps 63:2  So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. ▤ 

Here and in 16:11 below David speaks of meeting with or being with God, with a heightened sense of God’s presence.

Ps 16:11  You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. ▤ 

Note that being in God’s presence in the afterlife is possibly in view here.

  • The psalmist’s yearning to come before God in his temple:

Ps 84:1-2, 10  How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. ▤ 10For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. ▤ 

Continue to live before God, in his presence . . .

See also:

The references amongst the following verses to dwelling in God’s temple, in his presence, involve more than just simply being there. They also imply interaction with God, in particular being in regular communion and fellowship with him – and so are applicable to believers as they seek to live as such.

Isa 23:18b  It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the Lord. ▤ 

Ps 15:1-2  O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 2He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; … ▤ 

Ps 23:6  Surelyl goodness and mercym shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwelln in the house of the Lord forever.o ▤ 

l Or Only

m Or steadfast love

n Or shall return to dwell

o Hebrew for length of days

Ps 27:4  One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquirep in his temple. ▤ 

p Or meditate

Ps 84:4  Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah ▤ 

Ps 91:1  He who dwells in a the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. ▤ 

Ps 92:12-13  The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. ▤ 

Verse 13 indicates that the righteous live in fellowship with God, in which they “flourish” (cf. BBC).

Luke 24:52-53  And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53and were continually in the temple blessing God. ▤ 

Acts 23:1  And looking intently at the council, Paul said, “Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day.” ▤ 

Ps 43:3  Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! ▤ 

The psalmist’s plea to be brought into God’s presence is indicative of his desire to live in or at least be in God’s presence. The term “holy hill” refers to Mount Zion. Note that this verse is part of a prayer for deliverance.

Ps 90:1  Lord, you have been our dwelling placeq in all generations. ▤ 

q Some Hebrew manuscripts (compare Septuagint) our refuge

The reference is apparently primarily to God being the people’s refuge (cf. AMP). It is also indicative of the people living in his presence, under his protection.

. . . “Walk” with God

See also:

To “walk” with God involves living before him. It suggests a personal and interactive relationship, inclusive of such things as prayer and trust in God.

Mic 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,r and to walk humbly with your God? ▤ 

r Or steadfast love

Gen 5:24  Enoch walked with God, and he was not,s for God took him. ▤ 

s Septuagint was not found

Gen 6:9  These are the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation. Noah walked with God. ▤ 

Mal 2:6  True instructiont was in his mouth, and no wrong was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness, and he turned many from iniquity. ▤ 

t Or law; also verses 7, 8, 9

Ps 56:13  For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. ▤ 

Ps 89:15  Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face, … ▤ 

Walking with God entails walking in the spiritual light of his “presence” (CEV, NCV, NIV, NLT) and “kindness” (GNT).

  • Cling to God:

Ps 63:8  My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. ▤ 

Act before God – in awareness of his presence and scrutiny

See also:

Verses that speak of acting “before” God, generally suggest that the action/s should be done in awareness of God’s presence and scrutiny.

Gen 17:1  When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty;u walk before me, and be blameless, … ▤ 

u Hebrew El Shaddai

In contrast to the phrase “walk with God” (the subject of the previous subsection), most references to walking “before” God (cf. 1Ki 8:25 ; 1Ki 9:4 ) probably refer more to obeying him than fellowship with him – although they are applicable to and even inclusive of the latter. Note that “walk before God” in Psalms 56:13 in the previous subsection, probably has the fellowship aspect foremost in view.

1Ki 8:25  Now therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ ▤ 

1Ki 9:4  And as for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, … ▤ 

Note that in addition to the above verses, other references to walking “before” God are: “The Lord, before whom I have walked” (Gen 24:40); and “The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked” (Gen 48:15).

Deut 6:25  And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us. ▤ 

Deut 18:13  You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, … ▤ 

2Chr 31:20  Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God. ▤ 

2Chr 27:6  So Jotham became mighty, because he ordered his ways before the Lord his God. ▤ 

2Cor 2:17  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ. ▤ 

2Cor 4:2  But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. ▤ 

Paul in effect claims to “tell the truth before God” (NLT; cf. 2Cor 12:19 ), commending himself to “everyone’s sense of what is right and wrong” (NIrV®). As with 2:17 above and 12:19 below, this implies that Paul spoke not only in awareness of God’s presence, but also his scrutiny.

2Cor 12:19  Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? It is in the sight of God that we have been speaking in Christ, and all for your upbuilding, beloved. ▤ 

Num 32:20-22, 27  So Moses said to them, “If you will do this, if you will take up arms to go before the Lord for the war, 21and every armed man of you will pass over the Jordan before the Lord, until he has driven out his enemies from before him 22and the land is subdued before the Lord; then after that you shall return and be free of obligation to the Lord and to Israel, and this land shall be your possession before the Lord. ▤ 27but your servants will pass over, every man who is armed for war, before the Lord to battle, as my lord orders.” ▤ 

The references relating to going into battle “before the Lord” imply not only recognition of God’s presence and scrutiny or authorization, but also reliance on him. Note that the references to “before the Lord” in v. 22 appear to speak of God’s witness to and authorization of the outcome of the Israelites’ action.

  • Jesus Christ’s exhortation to the church in Sardis:

Rev 3:2  Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. ▤ 

Jesus Christ exhorts the church members to ensure that they do all that they should in God’s eyes.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Know God

See also:

In verses included in this section, occurrences of the term “knowledge of” in relation to God (or Christ), have been interpreted as encompassing knowing God in a personal sense, rather than just simply knowing about him. (This is reflected in some of the comments.) Moreover, knowing God in a personal sense is intertwined with knowing about God. For it is in coming to know more about God that leads us to respond to and interact with God – and thus develop a personal relationship with him.

Know God and Jesus Christ

Jer 9:23-24  Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” ▤ 

Verse 24 may be presenting two things to boast about. Firstly, that one understands and knows God; and secondly, that he is the Lord who exercises love, justice and righteousness on earth. Alternatively the second thing may be intended as an extension of the first – i.e. the verse may be speaking of boasting that one knows that God is the Lord who exercises such wonderful characteristics.

1Jn 2:13  I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. ▤ 

John wrote this letter to believers partly because they knew Jesus Christ and the Father, one implication of which is that believers know – or should know – Jesus Christ and God. Note that the reference to “fathers”, “young men” and “children” are interpreted by some to denote various stages of spiritual maturity or possibly chronological age groupings, but John may just be using these three terms to emphasize that he is referring to all of his readers. As such the achievements attributed to each of the three groups would be applicable to all of them.

1Chr 28:9  And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. ▤ 

Hos 6:6  For I desire steadfast lovev and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. ▤ 

v Septuagint mercy

Such “knowledge of God” (cf. Hos 4:1 ) may well refer to or be inclusive of knowing God (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT).

Hos 4:1  Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; … ▤ 

The Israelites are censured here for having no “knowledge of God [from personal experience with Him]” (AMP; cf. NASB, NCV, NKJV, NRSV).

  • Learn about Jesus Christ:

Eph 4:19-21  They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, … ▤ 

Verse 21 describes what was presumably the way that they had “learned Christ” (v. 20).

Knowing God and Jesus Christ is linked to obeying their commands

See also:

1Jn 2:3-4  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, … ▤ 

Ex 33:13  Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people. ▤ 

Moses’ request to be shown God’s ways or “plans” (CEV, GNT, NCV, cf. v. 12), leading to knowing God better, was based on him having found favor with God. A key aspect of finding favor with God is obedience to him – reflecting the importance of obedience for knowing God.

Col 1:10  … so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. ▤ 

This appears to indicate that living a life worthy of and pleasing to the Lord, bearing fruit, leads to one “increasing in the knowledge of God” – or coming to “know God better and better” (NLT, cf. GNT). Note that alternatively some interpret the final phrase as referring to growing (spiritually) in or by the knowledge of God.

John 8:55  But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. ▤ 

This is not necessarily indicating that keeping God’s word leads to one knowing God, but it does at least associate them.

John 14:21  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. ▤ 

Jesus Christ will reveal himself or make himself known to those who obey his commands.

Knowing God is linked with loving and caring for others

1Jn 4:7-8  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. ▤ 

Jer 22:16  He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the Lord. ▤ 

Knowing God is manifested in caring for the poor and needy, amongst other things. Note that this verse may be implying that one who knows God reflects his character and deeds.

Knowing God and Jesus Christ aids godly living

Note that the previous two subsections also pertain to this topic.

2Pet 1:3  His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us tow his own glory and excellence,x … ▤ 

w Or by

x Or virtue

The Greek for “knowledge” indicates a complete or additional knowledge, here implying a very close, personal relationship with God. (BKC)

1Chr 28:9  And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. ▤ 

This suggests that knowing God encourages one to serve God.

Ps 9:10  And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. ▤ 

Knowing God fosters trust or faith in him, as reflected in 2 Timothy 1:12 immediately below.

2Tim 1:12  … which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.y ▤ 

y Or what I have entrusted to him; Greek my deposit

Dan 11:32  He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. ▤ 

This verse is referring to the evil ruler Antiochus Epiphanes, but is applicable to resisting any forces opposing God and his people.

Gal 4:8  Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. ▤ 

This suggests that knowing God leads to freedom from ungodly things, such as idols (which are in view here).

2Pet 2:20  For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. ▤ 

Although speaking of false teachers who had fallen away from the faith, the verse still does indicate that knowing Jesus Christ enables one to escape “the defilements of the world”.

1Jn 4:6  We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. ▤ 

This is speaking of recognizing teachers as true or false, depending on whether they listened to the apostles. It can also be applied more generally. For people who know God recognize and listen to true authority – notably that based on the apostolic writings of the NT.

Knowing God and Jesus Christ is vital for spiritual growth

See also:

2Pet 3:18  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. ▤ 

Believers grow spiritually through Christ’s grace and knowledge of him. As noted earlier, the latter probably encompasses personal knowledge of him or knowing him personally.

Col 1:10  … so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. ▤ 

As indicated earlier in Knowing God and Jesus Christ is linked to obeying their commands . . ., the final clause is often interpreted as referring to growing to know God better or increasing in knowledge of him. But because it can alternatively be understood as speaking of “steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God” (AMP), it arguably pertains to this topic.

Eph 4:11-13  And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherdsz and teachers,a 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,b to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, … ▤ 

z Or pastors

a Or the shepherd-teachers

b Greek to a full-grown man

Knowledge of Christ is important for unity amongst Christians. The verse also suggests that such knowledge leads to the spiritual maturity of the body of Christ (cf. v. 12). As such it is vital for the spiritual growth of believers – both individually and corporately.

Eph 3:17-19  … so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. ▤ 

This is speaking of knowing the love of Jesus Christ rather than Jesus Christ himself, the theme of this subsection, but obviously the former is one aspect of the latter. Knowing Christ’s love develops one’s spiritual growth to the extent that one “may be filled with all the fullness of God” (v. 19b) – which appears to be referring to believers growing in God’s communicable attributes.

John 17:26  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. ▤ 

The last phrase of the verse speaks of the intimate relationship the disciples had with Jesus Christ (cf. Phil 3:8 ) which, like the aforementioned love of God, resulted from Christ making God known to them. One can thus infer from this verse that the more one knows God, the more one experiences God’s love and such a relationship with Jesus Christ. (For comment on “that the love with which you have loved me may be in them”, see John 17:26 – under … . . . God enables his people to love.)

Prov 9:10  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. ▤ 

Knowing God brings spiritual understanding (cf. GNT, NCV).

Further blessings of knowing God and Jesus Christ

See also:

John 17:3  And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. ▤ 

Eternal life involves knowing God and Jesus Christ in an ongoing, progressive, intimate relationship. While this is not explicitly saying that eternal life is a blessing resulting from knowing God and Jesus Christ, it certainly at least associates knowing them with eternal life.

Phil 3:8-11  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. ▤ 

Paul appears to associate knowing Jesus Christ with gaining him (v. 8b) and being “found in him” (v. 9a). Thus it can be inferred that these – along with the associated righteousness (v. 9) – are in a sense blessings of knowing Jesus Christ. Additionally, in vv. 10-11, the concepts immediately following Paul’s declaration that he wants to know Christ (v. 10a) are understood as an elaboration on what knowing Christ involves or leads to. For comment on them, see Phil 3:8-11 – under Note: Desire God and things of God.

2Pet 1:2  May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. ▤ 

Ps 36:10  Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart! ▤ 

The implication here is that God does do this – i.e. consistently shows his love to those who know him.

Ps 91:14  Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. ▤ 

  • Those who do not know God will be punished when Jesus Christ’s returns:

2Thes 1:7b-10  … when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away fromc the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. ▤ 

c Or destruction that comes from

Similarly, on judgment day Jesus Christ will reject those whom he “never knew”, as indicated in Matthew 7:22-23 – “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Note: Not knowing God leads to sin and evil

See also:

John 15:21  But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. ▤ 

John 16:2-3  They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. 3And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. ▤ 

1Cor 15:34  Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. ▤ 

The sin referred to here is that of not believing in the resurrection of the dead – one which Paul links to ignorance of God.

Gal 4:8  Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. ▤ 

1Thes 4:3-5  For this is the will of God, your sanctification:d that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4that each one of you know how to control his own bodye in holiness and honor, 5not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; … ▤ 

d Or your holiness

e Or how to take a wife for himself; Greek how to possess his own vessel

3Jn 1:11  Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. ▤ 

Those who do evil do not know God (cf. AMP, NCV, NIrV, NLT).

Ex 5:2  But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.” ▤ 

1Sam 2:12-17  Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord. 13The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servantf would come, while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, 14and he would thrust it into the pan or kettle or cauldron or pot. All that the fork brought up the priest would take for himself. This is what they did at Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. 15Moreover, before the fat was burned, the priest’s servant would come and say to the man who was sacrificing, “Give meat for the priest to roast, for he will not accept boiled meat from you but only raw.” 16And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 17Thus the sin of the young men was very great in the sight of the Lord, for the men treated the offering of the Lord with contempt. ▤ 

f Hebrew young man; also verse 15

Acts 17:29-30  Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, … ▤ 

Sins such as idolatry (v. 29; cf. Gal 4:8 ) resulted from ignorance of God, with people thinking that his divine being was like a man-made image.

  • No one who continues to sin has known Jesus Christ:

1Jn 3:6  No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians