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IHOP-Atlanta

April 19th, 2014

Blogs

Billy Humphrey
Knowledge of God
Billy Humphrey
April 7th, 2005

Over the last 18 months I have sensed a strong leading of the Lord calling me to the study of the knowledge of God. As I began to consider the idea of “the Knowledge of God” even the words seemed foreign to me. Other concepts about Him were much more familiar—such as the Power of God, the Fire of God, and the Grace of God. However as I began to consider the Knowledge of God, it occurred to me that, in over 15 years as a Christian, I could not recall ever engaging in a study of the Knowledge of God.

I spent much time studying about the Lord, specifically what He does and what He expects from believers; however, I had spent no significant time in prayer or study considering who He is. Consequently, the vast amount of my preaching and teaching over the years has been about what the Lord does and what we, as Christians, should do—not about who God is. This revelation was extremely convicting to my heart. For how could I proclaim with clarity anything about God without a deep living understanding of His attributes, emotions and nature? I had to come to grips with the reality: I have spent much of my time calling people to live according to God's expectations without feeding them, in a real depth, on the knowledge of who He is. I am profoundly convicted that the church cannot do what God asks if we do not know who He is. It is in a living revelation of the knowledge of this Fiery, Burning, Passionate, Kind, Beautiful God that grace is imparted to our hearts to enable us to do what He desires of us. Without hearts deeply equipped in the knowledge of God we cannot mature into the Bride who He dreams for us to be.

The reality is Jesus will have a Bride that is comparable to Him. She will be alive and soaring in intimacy and voluntary love. She will know Him at a depth and, through the knowledge of Him, she will become like Him. The fact that He desires us to be a mature Bride without spot or wrinkle is a prophetic promise and guarantee for us to become just that. Therefore, I believe there will be and there is, even now, the beginnings of a revival of the preaching of the knowledge of God.

The knowledge of God is not something available from someone else. It is something that the Holy Spirit unveils to your spirit as you mine from the Word, with a devotional heart, nuggets of revelation of His nature. The attributes of God are vast. Without spending intimate times in devotion and meditation in the word, with praying and fasting, it is impossible to get an accurate picture of who this One is. One of the greatest hindrances to getting a depth in the knowledge of God is the belief that we already know Him. It is hard to embrace the idea that you do not know God when you have been in the church for many years. Yet, I believe that in the western church we proclaim to know Him far more than we really do. The remainder of this article will address the reality of our need to know God and call us to pursue the knowledge of God.

One of the defining scriptures of my life for the last year has been Job 36:26, “ Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him…”

I believe this is a defining verse for us in this hour. Now, before you say, “But that's Job. That's the Old Testament. Job's life doesn't apply to us now.” You must know that the speaker here is not Job. In fact, it is Elihu, a young man who rightly proclaims the knowledge of God at such a level that the Lord physically manifests and audibly proclaims from the midst of a whirlwind the very same truths that Elihu proclaims (Job 32-41).

We must honestly address whether we truly consider, on a regular basis, the vast greatness of our God. To begin to conceive of His greatness must be pondered, not gotten on the run. We are surrounded with finiteness and fallibility in this fallen world. He is infinite and infallible--perfection personified. All created order, including the galaxies and the universe that contains them, consist because of the power that emanates just from His words (Heb 1:3).

Revelation chapter four and Ezekiel chapter one give us insight into several features around the throne of God. These chapters tell of brilliant colors of emerald, sapphire, jasper (diamond like), and sardius (fiery ruby red) that issue forth from the One seated upon the throne. There are thunders, lightnings, and voices radiating from His very being. Before His throne there are living creatures covered with eyes. He is surrounded with color, light, fragrance, and power. This is the One that we love, the One that we will be joined with for eternity. I propose that if these features seem unusual or strange to us it is not because He is strange. It is because we are unacquainted with Him. This is what He is like; we must come to know Him as He is, not as we want Him to be. He gives us these features in order for us to know Him. They are revealed in order to cause awe and wonder within our heart. When our spirit comes alive in the reality of the majesty and immensity of God, it touches our entire frame. The knowledge of God causes us to live in the reality of the divine, which in turn enables us to become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).

There is an allure to settle into the comfort and ease of mediocrity. It is an allure to trade in the reality of who God is and to settle for a more manageable, less awesome version of God. I agree with A.W. Tozer when he says, “The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. It begins in the mind and may be present where no overt act of worship has taken place… The idolater simply imagines things about God and acts as if they were true.” Could it be that when we shy away from embracing the supernatural, immeasurable reality of God that we embrace the same style of God as the children of Israel in the desert when they “made for themselves” (Exodus 32:8) a manageable version of God?

Does the greatness of our God cause your heart to tremble? Have you considered the immense implications that this One, in His vast enormity and pre-eminence, has centered His desire upon you? The entirety of created order is focused around the truth that our great God passionately desires eternal partnership with ones who will voluntarily abandon themselves to Him in intimacy and love. His sole pursuit is the conquest of our heart. Behold, Our God is GREAT, and we do not know Him.

Moses' Example
With only the exception of Jesus, Moses is, perhaps, the greatest prophet that has ever lived. When you consider His résumé of ministry accomplishments and supernatural encounters it is wildly impressive. His first great encounter with God is the burning bush and everything escalates from there. In days that ensue, he prophesies 10 plagues upon the strongest, most powerful nation in the world, culminating with the death of every first born in the entire nation. What follows is even more amazing, as he opens the red sea with a wave of his staff so that 2.2 million people can traverse the ocean floor on dry ground (Ex 14:16). We know the story, but it bears repeating for our purposes here. Next, the entire Egyptian army is crushed in the waves of the ocean. Through his prophecies, the most powerful nation with the most powerful army in the world is instantaneously destroyed.

Immediately, he encounters God in the desert for forty days and nights upon Mount Sinai (Ex 24:18). The children of Israel rebel and the Lord tells Moses that Israel will still receive the natural blessing of the promised land, yet the Lord will not accompany them to the promised land. Moses enjoys extremely intimate fellowship with the Lord and speaks with God “ face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex 33:11).

After all of this, you would think that Moses would be the example of someone who is “deep” in the knowledge of God. Yet, let's consider his request of the Lord in Exodus 33:

Exo 33:12-13 Then Moses said to the LORD, "See, You say to me, 'Bring up this people.' … You have said, 'I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.' Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight...”

Moses says, “I know you know me, but I don't know you.” If Moses can make this statement, then certainly we can come to the place of truth in the reality of our obvious lack of the knowledge of God. Numbers 12:3 declares that Moses was the most humble man that had ever lived. It is the reality of humility that enables you to embrace with honesty the truth of your state. Moses, even with all of His amazing encounters, cries to the Lord, “I must know you.” How much more should we, with a longing and an aching to encounter God in intimacy and full disclosure, give ourselves to the perpetual pursuit of intimacy in the knowledge of Him.

Paul's Example
Traveling on the famed “Road to Damascus ,” Saul the Pharisee had incredible resolve in his heart. He was determined that if he found any believers to have them arrested and, if possible, put to death. Just days earlier, he had heartily approved of the death of Stephen, the new Church's first martyr. He had “ made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3). Now he was compelled to imprison those who had fled from the force of his aggressive assault. He had no idea he was on a collision course with One who would divinely disrupt his life, changing him from a murderous man to a devoted disciple.

In that moment he was knocked from his horse and blinded with a heavenly flood of glorious light. His physical eyes were blinded, yet his spiritual eyes were opened as he cried out, “Who are you, Lord?”(Acts 9:5). In that moment, Jesus amazed and captivated him for the rest of his life. Paul caught a slight glimpse of the radiant glory flowing from the face of Jesus. He described it as “a light from heaven, brighter than the sun”(Acts 26:13). That one glimpse of reality changed forever his image of God. In turn, the position of his heart and the activity of His life were dramatically altered. From that moment on the pursuit of Paul's life became the knowledge of God. His chief pursuit in life is summed up in the very first words that He spoke to Jesus--“Who are you, Lord?”

When he writes to the Phillipians he makes a stunning statement regarding his passionate pursuit of Jesus. He says, “ … I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord , for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phi 3:8). The startling truth he explains is that he has not attained the knowledge of God. He says he counts all things past and present as loss that he may gain Christ. Paul, the author of almost two-thirds of the New Testament, describes himself as a man still trying to attain the knowledge of God.

When Paul writes to the Ephesians, he prays for them that their eyes of their heart would be enlightened that they might receive revelation in the knowledge of Jesus.

Ephesians 1:17-19 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 t he eyes of your understanding being enlightened ; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.

He is praying for them to have the same sort of encounter he had with Jesus: an encounter in which they are flooded with revelation so that they can come to a living revelation in the knowledge of Him. The intercession of his heart for the Ephesian? Church is a strong indicator into the his personal desire for a greater measure of revelation in the knowledge of God. If the primary pursuit of Paul's life was to have a greater revelation of Jesus, (i.e. know Him more,) how much more should we position our hearts in a place of humility before the Lord and in honesty ask Him, “Who are you, Lord?”.

Summary
The central facet of our relationship with God is our knowledge of God. The way that we believe about God determines how we relate to God. A.W. Tozer said, “ The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems.” Because we do not have a clear view and revelation of the knowledge of God, we repeatedly get weighed down with instructions on how to live day to day. If we come to a living understanding and knowledge of God, it will resound in our hearts and through all the activity of our lives. Paul prayed for the Church to have Christ formed within us (Gal 4:19). The formation of all of the attributes of God within our heart–the formation of Christ within us–comes by having a living revelation of these attributes. In other words if I know who God is, I will resonate with His nature. If I know the holiness of God and I really see him as a Beautiful, Burning, Righteous God, it will so captivate my heart and so produce desire and longing within me that I will begin to automatically live a holy life in the reality of His holiness. When I see the purity and the beauty and the fire of God's holiness, it will cause my heart to resonate with a compelling urge to desire holiness. That is the power of the knowledge of God. A true revelation of who He is will completely compel your heart to live in abandonment for Him. Let's give ourselves to plumbing the depths of the knowledge of God so that we may resonate with all that He is.

Calendar

Healing Rooms
4/20/2014 3:45pm - 4:45pm

If you are wrestling with physical sickness, a chronic disease, a painful injury, or a heavy emotional burden, then there is good news for you. God's Word says that He is exceedingly kind and loves to heal (Psalm 103:1-5). During His earthly ministry, Jesus healed all who came to Him (Matthew 4:24). God has promised that the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick (James 5:15). Therefore, we want to stand with you in prayer and faith, believing God to perform a healing work in your life.

Our Healing Rooms will be held from 3:45 - 4:45 pm on Sunday evenings weekly.

Appointments for personal ministry can be made starting at 3:30 pm on a first-come, first-serve basis. This personal time of ministry will typically last 20 minutes with one of our Healing Rooms ministry teams.

Prophecy Rooms
4/20/2014 3:45pm - 4:45pm

At IHOP Atlanta, we desire to encourage and strengthen believers through the prophetic ministry. We have prophecy teams that are trained to hear the heart of the Lord for people and to minister His words of encouragement, edification, and exhortation (1 Cor 14:3). It is our prayer that believers will be strengthened in their faith and have a clearer understanding of how God feels and thinks about them after receiving ministry in the prophecy rooms. If you desire to encounter God's love for you in practical way, we encourage you to sign up for a ministry time in our prophecy rooms.

The prophecy rooms are open on Sundays from 3:45-4:45 PM. Appointments can be made 15 minutes prior. They are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Appointments typically last 10 minutes and are recorded for your convenience.

Encounter Service
4/20/2014 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Each service incorporates prophetic worship, Biblical teaching, prayer, and ministry times. Each service is geared to call individuals to a depth of the knowledge of God, intimacy with Jesus, urgency for the hour, and the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle. Through proclamation and impartation, each service is focused on providing a place for encounter with God for the individual, as well as generating a shift in the spiritual atmosphere over the city of Atlanta. Immediately following the service, there is an Information meeting for anyone desiring more information regarding IHOP Atlanta.
Staff Intercession Meeting
4/22/2014 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Tuesday is a designated prayer and fasting day for IHOP Atlanta staff and family. We have scheduled intercession meetings at 10 a.m., 4 p.m., 8 p.m., and midnight. We ask that all staff make it a priority to attend the weekly Tuesday 4 p.m. intercession meeting, as this is the one time weekly that we come together as a community for worship and intercession. Full-time staff are required to attend the 4 p.m. and an additional intercession meeting on Tuesday. Part-time staff are required to attend only the 4 p.m. intercession meeting. This meeting is open to the public as are all IHOP Atlanta prayer meetings
Healing Rooms
4/27/2014 3:45pm - 4:45pm

If you are wrestling with physical sickness, a chronic disease, a painful injury, or a heavy emotional burden, then there is good news for you. God's Word says that He is exceedingly kind and loves to heal (Psalm 103:1-5). During His earthly ministry, Jesus healed all who came to Him (Matthew 4:24). God has promised that the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick (James 5:15). Therefore, we want to stand with you in prayer and faith, believing God to perform a healing work in your life.

Our Healing Rooms will be held from 3:45 - 4:45 pm on Sunday evenings weekly.

Appointments for personal ministry can be made starting at 3:30 pm on a first-come, first-serve basis. This personal time of ministry will typically last 20 minutes with one of our Healing Rooms ministry teams.

Prophecy Rooms
4/27/2014 3:45pm - 4:45pm

At IHOP Atlanta, we desire to encourage and strengthen believers through the prophetic ministry. We have prophecy teams that are trained to hear the heart of the Lord for people and to minister His words of encouragement, edification, and exhortation (1 Cor 14:3). It is our prayer that believers will be strengthened in their faith and have a clearer understanding of how God feels and thinks about them after receiving ministry in the prophecy rooms. If you desire to encounter God's love for you in practical way, we encourage you to sign up for a ministry time in our prophecy rooms.

The prophecy rooms are open on Sundays from 3:45-4:45 PM. Appointments can be made 15 minutes prior. They are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Appointments typically last 10 minutes and are recorded for your convenience.

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