I am going to make a very shocking statement, and I mean every word of it: I really do not know God! That is, I don’t know him in the way he wants me to know him.
How do I know this? The Holy Spirit told me. He whispered to me, lovingly, “David, you really don’t know God in the way he wants you to. You really don’t allow him to be God to you.”
In the Old Testament, God took a people unto himself—a people no richer or smarter than the rest—only so that he could be God to them: “And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God” (Exodus 6:7). God was saying, in other words, “I’m going to teach you to be my people—so that I can be God to you!”
Indeed, God revealed and manifested himself to his people over and over again. He sent angels. He spoke to them audibly. He fulfilled every promise with great deliverances. Yet after forty years of miracles, signs and wonders, God’s estimation of his people was: “You don’t know me—you don’t know my ways!”
“Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways” (Psalm 95:10). God said “In all of this you never really let me be God! In my forty years of wanting to teach you, you still never knew me—you still didn’t know how I work!”
God is still looking for a people who will let him be God to them—to the point that they truly know him and learn his ways!
Scripture says of Israel “Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel” (Psalm 78:41). Israel turned away from God in unbelief. And likewise, I believe we limit God today with our doubt and unbelief.
We trust God in most areas of our lives—but our faith always has boundaries and limits. We have at least one small area that we block off, where we don’t really believe God is going to undertake for us.
I limit God most in the area of healing. I have prayed for physical healing for many, and I have seen God perform miracle after miracle. But when it comes to my own body, I limit God! I am afraid to let him be God to me. I douse myself with medicine or run to a doctor before I ever pray for myself! I’m not saying it’s wrong to go to the doctor. But sometimes I fit the description of those who “sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians” (2 Chronicles 16:12).
I ask you: Do you pray for God to bring down walls in China or Cuba—but when it comes to the salvation of your own family, you don’t have an ounce of faith? You think, “God must not want to do this. My loved one is such a tough case. God doesn’t seem to be hearing me in this matter.”
If this is true, you are not seeing him as God! You are ignorant of his ways! God’s desire is to “do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
The seventy elders of Israel ate and drank in God’s very presence on the mount. Yet the Lord said of them, “You never got to know me or my ways!”
The disciples spent three years in God’s presence—with Christ, who was God in the flesh. They sat under his teaching and were with him night and day. Yet, in the end, they forsook him and fled—because they did not know his ways!
Jesus says that God does not hear our prayers and praises simply because we utter them over and over, for hours at a time. It is possible to pray, fast and do righteous things, and still not reach the place where we hunger to know him and begin to understand his ways. We do not learn his ways in the prayer closet alone, although everyone who truly knows the Lord is very intimate with him. You cannot know God’s ways without spending much time with him in prayer. But prayer must include quality time in which we let God be God to us—laying every need and request in his hands and leaving them there.