Have you ever met a person who seemed to be a “know it all?” They give the impression that they know a little about everything though not a lot about most things. In this vast universe in which we live, how much does God know? Is He like a “know it all,” who knows a little about all things, though he is not able to know the details about everything?
Many people have chosen to take human abilities and their limits and project them on God. The final result is they end up with a God who is a little bigger than human. He knows a lot but does not know everything. What does the God of the Bible tell us about Himself, and how did the people of the Bible perceive what God said about Himself? First let us read Psalm 139:1-6: “O LORD, You hast searched me and known me. You dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down; And art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before; And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.”
The writer of this Psalm is King David, who certainly understood that God was more than a “know it all.” David understood that God was intimately acquainted with all his ways. Ways, meaning more than general knowledge about a subject. He explains how God knew him in detail and knew his ways, from the simplest thing of lying down and getting up, to the more complex thoughts and words, which had not yet been spoken. David said God knew all this, and his faith in God was in light of this. But let’s look at some more angles from scripture.
We are also told in Isaiah 46:10 and 48:3-5, that God knows the progress of all events, how they actually happen — past, present and future — and with exactness God knows their real relation to each other. Allow me to explain. You may have been handed the news that your job position is ending and you either have to resign, retire early or be repositioned in your airline. It is difficult for you, and the choices you have seem to make life even more complex. What we tend to look at is loss of position, reduction of money and maybe even loss of job. However, what God’s sees is the relationship of these entire events, how they will fulfill His purpose. You might be wondering what those purposes are. We are told that God’s purposes are according to His good pleasures, which has more than monetary value. God is committed to making His people more Christ-like in all areas of their life (Romans 8:28-29), something that money or position cannot provide.
In light of this, the Bible also portrays that God knows the hidden meaning of things, to which the knowledge of man cannot penetrate. The news media constantly is forecasting their interpretation of things, and they do so from the knowledge they have as well as from their values and beliefs. When God looks at events, He knows the hidden meaning, whether humans do or do not get an accurate picture. There is an astonishing climax to a real life story in the life of a man named Joseph. He was one of 12 children who as a young man while working with his brothers was sold, out of their jealousy, to slave traders in the region. Well, he ends up in Egypt facing some personal challenges for some time, but after many years he ends up being second in charge of all Egypt right under the Pharaoh. During this time his brothers were forced, because of famine, to come to Egypt to buy food. He discovers their presence in Egypt and eventually discloses his identity to them. The day this takes place his brothers are struck with joy and fear. . . joy to know their brother is still alive but fear of what he may do to them. Joseph is aware of this, but even more so, he is aware of God’s hidden meaning that after years and through some tough time is now disclosed. Here is what he said: “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones. So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:20). Truly only God can understand the hidden meaning of the difficulties in our lives. What He asks is that we trust in Him and His provisions needed at such times.
There is another astonishing angle to the knowledge of God. His knowledge penetrates to the depth of the human heart, whereas humans can only see outward manifestations of a person’s life and character. According to 1 Samuel 16:7, 2 Chronicles 29:9 and Hebrews 4:12-13; God’s knowledge pierces all the way to the core of our being. There have been times in all of our lives where we have thought or done something that even surprised ourselves. But with God it is not a surprise because no action or thought is lost, and actually God is nearer to you and I than our own thoughts. When King David wrote Psalm 139 about All-knowing God (the chapter we started with), he concluded it with these verses: 23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”
David is telling us that in light of God’s penetrating knowledge into the depths of our heart, we should call on Him to search us and try us in order to reveal hurtful ways in us, and lead us in ways that are lasting. This is so applicable for airlines personnel at this time. Why? Because there are so many hurtful, bitter, angry and discouraging thoughts floating around the workplace. We, therefore, need the All-knowing God, who is closer to us than our thoughts, to reveal to us if any of these kinds of thoughts have taken root in our lives.
There is one more important angle the Bible lets us see about the knowledge of God. Because God knows all things, He also knows what could be possible as well as what is actual. In the book of Genesis (4:6-7), when Cain became angry and jealous against his brother Abel, the Lord offered him a choice. Knowing what was in Cain’s heart, God exposed it and asked that he choose what is right and not let his angry sinful thoughts control and direct his life. Well, the story ends sadly. Cain pursued his thoughts and ended up murdering his brother out of jealous anger. God knew what Cain would do but still offered Him the right way. With us it is the same. God knows what we will chose and because we are not his robots, but people, He offers us to make the right choice. God has also given us the Scriptures/Bible, so that we can know what are the right choices to make. It would benefit each of us to have a working knowledge of Bible. (Read: 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16-17; Colossians 1:9-12)
In light of God being an All-knowing God, there is no place where we are apart from Him, nor is there the existence of chance or fate. He knows it all and is directing all things according to His purpose and will. But also know this, that God knows you intimately, your strength, weaknesses, successes, failures and sins, and in full knowledge before you were born and knowing everything that could be against you, He chose to show His love to you. The apostle Paul understood this well when he said, “If God, who did not spare His own son, (Jesus Christ) but gave him to purchase our forgiveness and salvation, and who freely presented this on us, who can be against us or bring a charge against us?” (Romans 8:31-33)
For the Christian who rests by faith in the one who is All-knowing, it is a great comfort. But for the one who rejects the All-knowing God, he or she feels God is infringing on their privacy. How do you live in light of God knowing all things?
NEXT click on Part 2 The Greatness of God