The Knowledge of God
After a brief acknowledgment of what God knows the Psalmist exclaims: "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it." (Psalm 139:6). John states "If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything (1 John 3:20). The Psalmist praised God declaring that "Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite" (Psalm 147:5). Our thinking and knowledge is finite for it has limits and ends but God's understanding is simply without limits.
Examples of God's infinite understanding and knowledge abound in the scriptures. The Psalmist says that He is able to count the number of stars and that he gives to all of them their names (Ps. 147:4). The current thought about the number of stars is simply that man cannot count them, so they 'guestimate'. The current guess is 1021. I have no real concept of how many that is. The number looks like 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Yet God knows the exact number and has given each its own name. Jesus said that God knows when even one sparrow dies and that He knows the very number of hairs on the head of each person (Matt. 10:29-30). When you contemplate the 1.4 billion people of China, add in about the same number of people from India, and then throw in the rest of the world's people THAT is a lot of HAIR. Yet He knows.
In a practical consideration God not only knows all the facts of the universe He knows what each of us is doing. "His eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps" (Job 34:21). "The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds" (Psalm 33:13-15). It does no good to try and hid for God sees 'in secret says Jesus in Matt. 6:4, 6, 18. Attempting to hide our actions by doing them in the dark is futile for "if I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you (Psalm 139:11-12).
God not only has knowledge of what we do but He knows our hearts (see Acts 15:8; Luke 16:15, etc.). The heart includes not only our emotions but our very thoughts and intents. The Hebrew writer wrote that "no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Heb. 4:13).
Even more amazing to me is the concept that God knows what is going to happen. The prophet Isaiah was waging a theological war against the concept of idols among the people of Israel. God firmly lays the foundation of His uniqueness as God upon the very claim of knowing and foretelling what will happen. He challenges the idolaters to "set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified" (Isa. 41:21-23). Again God declares "thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen" (Isa. 44:6-7). (Read also Isa. 46:8-10; 45:20-21; 42:8-9; etc.). One of the very things that makes God to be God is this ability to know the future.
Such ability is amply illustrated to Israel as Isaiah speaks of God foretelling the name of Cyrus who would arise hundreds of years later to deliver Israel from a bondage that had not even taken place yet (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). In Daniel God reveals the coming of the four great kingdoms and goes into great detail concerning their various activities (Dan. 2 and chapters 11-12). The whole of messianic prophecy is in fact based upon God's ability to know what will happen and thus to tell ahead of time the various events in the life of the Christ. In Acts 2 Peter says that "this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men" (2:23). While God indeed knew what they were going to do, He also affirms that it was THEIR doing and THEIR responsibility for such actions.
My reaction to this concept of the knowledge of God is first to stand in awe. As the Psalmist declared: "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it." As I try to wrap my head around this I quickly realize I don't know enough to even begin to comprehend the depths and extent of such knowledge. Let me ever acknowledge my in ability and ignorance before this great God. Second, I am comforted by such knowledge. God knows what is going on with me. He knows what I am struggling with and has offered to help. He invites me to cast my cares upon Him. He already knows them but has given me the great privilege of petitioning Him. He knows what I intended to do even though people often misjudge and accuse of ulterior motives. Third, I indeed fear for I know that I have wrong thoughts and deeds. I must acknowledge my sin for God knows them already and they cannot be hid from Him. The good news is that through Jesus I can be forgiven and cleansed of all these sins.
What an awesome thought - God knows everything.