In order to love someone, we generally have to know something about him or her. At the very least, we need to know a name or what he or she looks like (and preferably more information!). In the early stages of a relationship, we spend a great deal of time getting to know about someone.
Where are you from?
What’s your favorite food?
What sort of things do you enjoy doing?
We must know about someone. That’s the first step. But, knowing about people doesn’t mean that we actually know them. I can know the answers to all the above questions and yet have no intimacy whatsoever with the other. Just because I know a few facts about an individual doesn’t mean that I really know that person. It just means that I have some information.
The same can be said of our relationship with God. We must first know something about God. But, knowing about God does not mean that we know God. The ability to spout off a few facts about God does not mean that we have an intimate relationship with God.
It’s interesting to think about how the word know is used in the Bible. When we think of the word know or knowledge, we usually think in terms of intellectual knowledge. However, the use of the word know in the Bible isn’t always the same as our word know. To be clear, the word does often mean something like “to be aware of” but it can also mean something deeper. Consider for example Genesis 4:1. “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain…” We understand that the use of knewimplies more than just information about Eve. It’s used in terms of intimacy.
This being the case, consider Hosea 6:6. “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” The knowledge of God here means something more than just some facts about God. The book of Hosea is about covenant faithfulness. The people already knew something aboutGod, but they didn’t know God. God loves the people and knows them intimately, and He wants them to love Him and know Him intimately in return. Without God, our lives are empty, and God knows this.
God wants us to know about Him. But He wants us to know about Him so that we might come to truly know Him. How much time do we spend with God? Do we talk to Him regularly? Do we seek His counsel? Do we share with Him our deepest longings and concerns?
To love another is to enter into the vulnerable and risky position of knowing and being known. “God is love” (1 Jn 4:8). This God who is love should be the love of our life. When He is, we will be better able to love and be loved by others. Let’s do more than just know about God. Let’s really know Him.