By the Written Word

What is the most essential foundation of every relationship? Trust? Love? Respect? If we really think about it, knowledge of one another must be the basis of a relationship. A person cannot trust another if one does not know the other. Neither can he or she respect or love. Really knowing another person sets up the foundation for a close relationship. This applies in our relationships with God as well. To have a blessed relationship with him, we have to know him. God has given us various means to learn about him, including literature like this magazine. Learning about and knowing God is something that we have to do intentionally. Choosing to seek God allows us to know him, and the experience of knowing God blesses us more than anything in this world.

As Christians, we often hear the phrases seek God and know God. What do these commands mean for us? One seeks something when he or she looks for it. Seeking implies an intentional action. This person does not accidentally stumble upon something, but until he finds it, he will continue to intentionally look for it. God commands his people to seek him continually. Essentially, then, we are actively looking for him. However, we know that he is always with us. For what, then, are we looking or seeking? God is a complex being, whom we can never begin to comprehend. When we seek him, we look for who he is. We seek to find out more about him.

This ties directly into our calling to know God. As the word know is often used in the Bible, this calling refers to a deep and intimate knowledge of another. When we consider the depths of God, we realize that we can always know him more intimately. The more we seek God and look into who he is, the more we will know him.

Saints in the Bible sought to know God. As seen in Psalm 63, David says, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee, in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary” (vv. 1–2). During the Babylonian captivity, Daniel sought God by prayer, supplication, fasting, sackcloth, and ashes (Dan. 9:3). He made an intentional effort. In his prayer for the people, he appealed to who he knew God essentially was, as seen by his attributes. “O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee…To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against him” (vv. 7 and 9). In Hebrews 11:6, the great chapter of the heroes of faith, the author writes that God “is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Amidst these great examples of faith, the author, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, points out that these people sought God.

Seeking God is so important because it leads to knowing him. Jehovah promises, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). When we actively seek God, we will know him better. Jesus states the importance of intimately knowing God through seeking him in John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Seeking and knowing God is not just any calling; to do this is to have eternal life.

One way that we can actively seek God is by reading Christian literature. Amidst other, more obvious ways, we often overlook this one. Reading gives us knowledge. God commands us to seek him to know him; we do this through our regular Sunday activities, our devotions, and Bible studies, but what about the rest of our time? In everything we do, we make choices. If we choose one option, we choose to not do the other one. In every moment and in everything we choose to glorify God or ourselves; there is no in-between. This may not be a conscious thing in every choice, but making the choice to spend the next hour or 15 minutes knowing God more by reading about him is always a good one. The more we choose God, the more it will also become a habit.

If we choose to read about God, whether in the Beacon Lights, in a book, or in something else, we will be blessed. An author has spent time and energy to write what he or she knows about God, based on study and experience. We can never begin to scratch the surface of who God is, but these authors know something about God and have written it down for us. We have the blessed opportunity to learn it. Even if it is something we think we already know, we can see it from a new perspective. Whenever we look at things from new perspectives, we gain insight. Growing up, I have heard things of God explained in nearly the same way. Reading books about different topics has opened my eyes to looking at something differently. This activity requires a lot of discernment, but that is a good exercise for our souls.

Looking at something from a different angle or viewpoint provides a fuller and clearer picture. Last year, I remember driving from Crete, Illinois, back to Grand Rapids. A week later, I rode a bus on the same route, but I sat in a seat that faced the back. Nothing looked familiar. Even on the part of the route I took every day to school, I hardly recognized anything. I realized that I was only seeing half of what I thought I knew so well. I could not fully understand the landscape until I looked at it from a different angle. That is a simple example, but it applies to our understanding of complex concepts. God is a complex being about whom we should want to know as much as we can. Reading others’ perspectives helps us understand more fully. Authors explain aspects of God in different ways, and by this, we can easily see how invaluable Christian literature is to us.

Only when we truly understand what it means to know God and the blessing that results will we be able to appreciate Christian literature. God is amazing. His complexity is beyond every person on this earth. The more we know about God, the more we will be amazed and love him. The more we know about God, the more we will see the contrast between him and us in our sin. We will see how unworthy we are, compared to him, and we will see his great mercy. That is a beautiful picture. So the more we know about God, the more we will fall at his feet in humility and thanks, and the more we will give glory to him for what he has done in our lives.

If we love God, why would we not want to know him as well as we possibly can? Do we spend more time with the person whom we date? We are the Lamb’s bride; our duty to him is to know him. Look at what God has done for us; he commands us to know him. We have all these books and articles that explain to us who he is. The means are available; we have to use them. Thank God for the people who write them that we may glorify God through the literature!