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Evidence of Knowing God (1)


Drawing from the book of Daniel, J. I. Packer lists four evidences of knowing God.

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1. Those who know God have great energy for God. In one of the prophetic chapters of Daniel we read, “the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (11:32 KJV). RSV renders thus: “the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” In the context, this statement is introduced by “but” and set in contrast to the activity of the “contemptible person” (v. 21) who sets up “the abomination that causes desolation” and corrupts by smooth and flattering talk those whose loyalties to God’s covenant has failed (vv. 31–32). This shows us that the action taken by those who know God is their reaction to the anti-God trends which they see operating around them. While their God is being defied or disregarded, they cannot rest; they feel they must do something; the dishonor done to God’s name goads them into action.

This is exactly what we see happening in the narrative chapters of Daniel, where we are told of the “exploits” of Daniel and his three friends.

. . . Daniel in particular appears as one who would not let a situation of that sort slide, but felt bound openly to challenge it. . . . When Darius suspended the practice of prayer for a month, on pain of death, Daniel not merely went on praying three times a day, but did so in front of an open window, so that everyone might see what he was doing (6:10). . . .

Such gestures must not be misunderstood. It is not that Daniel . . . was an awkward, cross-grained fellow who luxuriated in rebellion and could only be happy when he was squarely “agin’” the government. It is simply that those who know their God are sensitive to situations in which God’s truth and honor are being directly or tacitly jeopardized, and rather than let the matter go by default will force the issue on men’s attention and seek thereby to compel a change of heart about it’even at personal risk.

Yet the invariable fruit of true knowledge is energy to pray for God’s cause—energy, indeed, which can only find an outlet and relief of inner tension when channeled into such prayer—and the more knowledge, the more energy! By this we may test ourselves. Perhaps we are not in a position to make public gestures . . . But we can all pray about the ungodliness and apostasy which we see in everyday life around us. If, however, there is in us little energy for such prayer,and little consequent practice of it, this is a sure sign that as yet we scarcely know our God.

—J. I. Packer, Knowing God (InterVarsity Press, 1993), 27–29.



Posted 2008·10·14 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Godliness · J I Packer · Knowing God · Persecution/Suffering · Prayer

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