What Does It Mean to Really Know God? – Learning from Psalms 23

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” As we begin this new year it is important to trust the Lord as we make decisions. This verse tells us to not lean on our own knowledge. Instead God wants to, “acknowledge Him.”

The Hebrew word translated, “Acknowledge” is the word, “yada`.” Strong’s Lexicon defines this word as, “to know[1].” In all that we do, we are called to know God. He directs our paths, but He does not control our path.

What does it mean to know God? To many, God sits far away in heaven, has a white beard, and is ready to judge us as soon as we fail. The truth is that God walks with us. Keep in mind that, “…God is love” (1 John 4:8). He is the essence of what we need in this life. In the Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, Carl Schultz wrote, “To know is not to be intellectually informed about some abstract principle, but to apprehend and experience reality[2].”

Psalms 23 explains how God takes care of us. In this chapter we are told how He, “…is my shepherd…He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me…He restores my soul; He guides me…” (Psalms 23:1-3). On and on we are told of how the Lord protects us.

Yet notice what happens when I walk. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me…” (Psalms 23:4). Psalms 23 turns from, “He leads me” to, “I walk.” Where does He lead us? Beside the still waters and by the green pastures. Where do I walk? “Through the valley of the shadow of death.” Notice this valley, was not guided by God. It is easy to lean on our own knowledge and strength, but it is vital to rely on the Lord’s wisdom.

Knowing God is not about having knowledge of Him in an impersonal way. To really know God is to walk with Him. It is to know His heart. Trust the path of God. Believe that He will lead you to be at the right place at the right time. Give this year to God, and allow Christ to direct your path.

[1] “H3045 – yada` – Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 1 Jan, 2017. <https://www.blueletterbible.org//lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H3045&t=KJV&gt;

[2] Schultz, Carl. “Know, Knowledge – Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology Online.” Bible Study Tools. Bible Study Tools, n.d. Web. 02 Jan. 2017. <http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/know-knowledge.html&gt;.

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