Do you believe God knows everything?
Yes, I’m setting you up with a trick question, but it’s a question we must settle in our minds. It affects how we live out our faith.
What if God (as in, it was unquestioningly clear that it was God) asked you to pack up and leave your family and friends? What if God asked you to fight for a people who were being devalued and mistreated?
Did your heart and mind jump forward, ready to pack your bags? Or did you hesitate?
Your heart just revealed your true beliefs to you. Deep in your heart, you are acting on one of these three foundations:
- God knows everything and what He’s asking is for my best, now matter what it looks like.
- God only knows everything. But He either can’t or doesn’t care to control everything.
- God doesn’t really know everything.
These are tough statements that I tend to wrestle with during those times when my life is interrupted with a problem or God asks me to do something I know I’m not capable of doing on my own.
What about you?
Examples from the Bible
Both of the scenarios I mentioned above happened to men that many consider great heroes today. In their time, they were just ordinary men acting on their beliefs.
What makes them great is that they allowed God to stretch and challenge them, prove Himself to them.
Go from your country
Many of your are familiar with the story of Abraham. We’re not given an introduction to him. Genesis 11 ends with the genealogy of Noah’s son Shem which includes Abraham. Chapter 12 starts with God saying to him,
Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:1-3).”
Verse four simply says, “So Abraham went, as the Lord had told him.”
How could he do that? He was seventy-five years old, but he grabbed his wife and everything they owned and headed out. Destination unknown.
Ultimately, Abraham believed God knew everything and was acting in his best interests.
Many of you are also familiar with the story of the burning bush.
Moses’s first twenty or thirty years were complex. Born at a time when Egypt’s pharaoh didn’t trust the Israelite nation living within his borders, he shouldn’t have lived. The midwives were under orders to kill all the male babies (Exodus 1:15-22).
But Moses’s parents protected him, hiding him for three months before taking the risk to put him in the Nile where he would be found by the Princess.
Not only did the Princess find him, but she adopted him. That meant that Moses’s life was saved, but it also meant that he received the best education available in his time. He would have spoken multiple languages, understood the movement of the stars, and been trained in matters of war and strategy.
He was a force to be reckoned with, but did he believe more in his own abilities than in God? Perhaps, he fell into the second category: God knows everything, but He doesn’t control everything.
Think about what we know of those first few years.
- He killed an Egyptian who was hurting an Israelite (Exodus 2:11-12). The Bible doesn’t indicate he took the time to inquire anything of God. He just acted, believing in his knowledge and trusting in his training.
- When his murder became known, he fled Pharaoh’s anger, again believing his knowledge, trusting his training, and never asking God what He thought.
And then came the burning bush.
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground…. Now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt (Exodus 3:5, 9-10).”
God’s instructions couldn’t have been much simpler: Go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Yet the excuses began piling up (Exodus 3:12-4:17).
He showed doubt in his importance, disbelief that anyone would believe him, and uncertainty in his abilities given his physical limitations.
Yet God persisted, and Moses eventually conceded. When Moses trusted and obeyed, God took care of the details.
Back to modern times
Much like Moses, I sometimes hesitate to follow God’s instructions. I claim “Jesus is Lord” but then act like Moses, submitting rationalizations as to why God must be wrong.
I’ve noticed that sometimes it doesn’t even matter what the size of the job is that God wants me to do. I’ll sometimes balk at the small assignments as quickly as I will the scary big ones.
I act as if God knows everything about the universe except the one fragment of information that prevents me from participating in His plan. If He could understand my natural limitations and insecurities, then He would agree with me that I am not the right person for the job.
In other words, I fall into the third belief. I behave as if God doesn’t know everything.
The truth of the matter
The truth is that God does know our strengths and our weaknesses, and He still wants to use us.
One of the things I love about the Bible is that shows us real people, including their shortcomings, fears, and doubts. Neither Abraham nor Moses were perfect, yet they moved forward in God’s plan. Sometimes they stumbled and occasionally they outright messed up. But they never stopped progressing.
And because of that, because they never quit but continued to turn to God and get back on track, they learned that He does know everything. They taught their hearts to trust in God’s goodness. And by the end of their lives, nothing could shake their belief that God is in control.
That’s the example we should emulate, the heart we should seek. No matter what you’re facing today, God knows everything and what He’s asking of you is for your best.