Hebrews 8:10, 11    Jeremiah 29:13    

Did you know that Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots?

And Thomas Edison, inventor of the electric light bulb, was afraid of the dark?

And Dr. Alfred P. Southwick, a dentist by profession . . . invented the electric chair … I wonder  what was he thinking?


But,  simply knowing about somebody is entirely different from personally knowing that individual.  Actually knowing someone is a process, and requires a first-hand experience with that person.  Knowing someone, truly knowing someone, requires personal interaction, and that takes place over an appreciable length of time.  It’s a most wonderful process!

The ancient Greek philosopher Aesop    is famous for his colorful stories, such as The Fox and the Grapes, and the Tortoise and the Hare, and the memorable life-lessons that they taught.  One classic favorite of Mr. Aesop’s was set in the time of the cruel persecution of the early Christian Church, when many of the Faithful were mercilessly fed to hungry, ill-tempered lions.  Now, this particular tale illustrates the value of cultivating a personal, one-on-one relationship with the individual   with whom one may ultimately have a reckoning.

Mr. Aesop’s story unfolds like this:

A Christian slave named Androcles had escaped from his master and fled into the forest. As he was wandering in search of shelter, he came upon a lion,  lying on the ground, moaning and groaning.

Startled, Androcles initially turned to flee, but seeing that the lion did not pursue him, he turned back and cautiously re-approached the suffering creature.  As Androcles drew near, he quickly observed that the lion’s paw was bleeding and swollen, with a huge thorn embedded between his pads.

The lion held out his paw and Androcles gently removed the thorn, then bound up the wound.   Presently, the big cat was able to rise to his feet, and licked the hand of his benefactor. Then the lion led Androcles to the refuge of his cave, and, each day thereafter, the lion would bring his new human friend things to eat, as he hunted for his own food.

But one day while the lion was on the prowl for food,  Androcles was captured by the Roman authorities, and,   as was often the punishment for a runaway slave, Androcles was sentenced to be      thrown to the lions.

The Amphitheatre was filled to capacity, as the Emperor and his court came to view the spectacle.  A terrified Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena.   A large door across the arena was opened, and a seriously angry, obviously under-fed lion leaped from the shadows and bounded toward the quivering Androcles.

But as the lion neared Androcles, he ceased his roaring, then stopped in his tracks, as he recognized      his friend.  Slowly, he walked up to the stunned Androcles,  until they were face -to-face.  Then the lion rubbed his head on Androcles’ chest and licked his hands.

The puzzled Emperor, summoned Androcles, for an explanation of what he had just witnessed.  So, Androcles related to the Emperor his entire, incredible story, whereupon – as Mr Aesop’s story goes – Androcles was set free, while the lion was returned to his forest home.

Now, the lion in this story most assuredly hadn’t been fed for quite some time; and poor Androcles must have looked like an hors-d’oeuvre to him!  So,  why didn’t the starving lion simply   snarf up poor Androcles?

Well, that’s because … they knew each other!  Androcles had established a  reciprocating relationship with one with whom he would later have a reckoning  prior to  his personal “judgment day”, which made  a  humongous difference …  actually, to both parties!

God’s Word reveals that we, too, must face a Day of Reckoning.  Under inspiration, the Apostle Paul wrote: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,  that each one may receive what is due him  for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”  II Cor 5:10

And Dr. Luke testifies in the Book of Acts   that our Heavenly Father “has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness,   by that Man whom He has ordained.”  Acts 17:31

So, wouldn’t it seem   a capital idea   to get to know   the One to Whom we must give a final accounting,  well in advance  of that Great Day?

How do we begin   to know someone?  Well, we first need to spend some time together, learning about the other person.  Relationships need time to build, and time to grow.  We talk, we listen, we communicate, we observe and absorb.  We do things together – we walk together, we share a meal, and perhaps sometimes   we simply sit and thoroughly enjoy each other’s companionship.

And as we spend greater amounts of time together, we learn volumes about who our new friend is.  What are his values? Is there substance to her character?  What does he stand for?  Is there genuine integrity there?

The Bible says that     our Heavenly Father desires that same type of growing, reciprocating, heart-relationship with each of us;  a relationship in which He reveals to us  Who He is, what He’s like – a relationship that He likens to … to the marriage relationship.  Have you noticed the abundance     of marriage references throughout Scripture?   Jesus is the Bridegroom, and we, His Church, are “flesh of His flesh”  –  His Bride.

The Gospel of John recounts a most revealing conversation that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, in which He frankly told her, “You worship what you do not know,” John 4:22.  This dear woman had been following religious forms and rituals,  although she possessed neither acquaintance with, nor  knowledge of,  the object of her worship.  And that was me, when I was a young man!  Could that be you, too?

Listen to the Apostle Paul. from his first letter to the church at Corinth: “… some do not have not the knowledge of God.  I speak this to your shame.” I Corinthians 15:34  NKJV  What an indictment!

Our faith and our service to God should be rooted in, and predicated on, knowing Him, which the Bible says   is the very key to life.   Listen to the voice of Jesus in John 17:3: “This is life eternal:      that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent”.

Now,  2nd Thesalonians 1:7 tells us that Jesus    will return in judgment    of those who know Him not.  Why?  Because these individuals will have frittered away squandered wasted an entire lifetime of opportunity to learn to know the One who has lent them life, and breath; and has longed to give them a brand new past, and a future where there was no future!

Then, there’s Matthew 25:12, where Jesus is telling a parable of the aftermath of the Judgment. The door has already been closed. He says that many will then come to Him in that day and exclaim, “Wait a minute!  We belong in there!  We prophesied in Your name!   We cast out devils in Your name!   We did wonderful works in Your name!”

But Jesus says His reply will be, “I don’t know you!”  There was no relationship. We never knew each other.  He will say, “I know you  not!”

O.K.  Now, let’s get these ducks in a row:

* Knowing Him  is essential to Eternal Life.

* Not knowing Him – neglecting the opportunity to learn to know

Him – can exclude an individual from Eternity

*And performing good deeds, even in His Name, is not an

acceptable substitute   for seeking and developing a personal

relationship with Our Heavenly Father.

Oh how I pray    that we can see    the infinite value    of knowing Him!

I never knew my father.  He was killed in action during World War II, at the age of 27, right after I was born.   I knew about my father.  I’d seen pictures of him.  I’d heard countless stories from those who knew him, but – I never met the man. As a result, he never seemed quite real to me.

We’ll fast-forward   a generation.  I was a young man.  One evening, my mother called me into her den and handed me a pack of letters.  She said, “I think you can appreciate these, now.  Make yourself comfortable, and take your time.”  Then she left the room and quietly closed the door.

As I opened the first one, I quickly realized    that these were letters that my father had written from the South Pacific, to my mother.   Reading carefully those brittle, yellowed epistles   gradually revealed  my father to me: his concerns and his passions; the depth of his love for his bride, my mother;  his hopes for me, his unborn son; and his plans and desires for us, upon his return.  I re-read them,  studied them,  and I re-re-read them.  Each time through, I learned still more of who this man was.
You know, this very same process applies to our  gaining a first-hand acquaintance with our Heavenly Father?  We can begin to develop and deepen this personal relationship by following   the identical blueprint.

God reveals Himself to us through His written Word,   as we read His “letters” to us.  In these letters, we can clearly see the extent of His love for us, His bride; and of His great mercy; His solemn promise to return, His master-plan for a new beginning with us, when He comes back.

Job asks a pointed question: “Can you, by searching,  find out God?”  Is it possible for us to Google  “God” and, thus,  gain a knowledge that might be of some eternal value?   Should we seek Him on Wikipedia?

Can we,     by searching,    find out God?

Well, imagine my surprise when I found, right in the Scriptures, that the very capability – the capacity – to know Him is a gift!   He gives it to us!

Watch this:  The Apostle Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus was that God “…may give you … a spirit of wisdom … in the knowledge of Him”.  Ephesians 1:17

And through the prophet Jeremiah 24:7, God promises, “I will give them a heart to know Me …”   My New English Bible reads: “I will give them the wit to know me.” Our God is the Giver Who just keeps on giving!

Moreover, God’s gift of knowing Him is given,   not to the casual,   not to the frivolous,   or the curious … but His gift is given to the genuine seeker.  God assures us, “You shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me   with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

Do you remember, in Gethsemane, when Jesus cried out to His Father, calling Him “Abba”?  Do you know what “Abba” means?  “Abba” is the familiar form of “Father”, such as a loving child might use, similar to “Daddy”, or “Papa”.  God desires that  calibre of relationship with us.

In the 33rd chapter of Exodus, Moses meets with God face-to-face, inside the Tent of Meeting, which Moses had set up outside the camp, because the Lord was more than displeased, then, with the Israelites.  At the heart of the conversation, which Scripture says was, “as a man speaketh unto his friend”, Moses asks of God, “If I have found favor with You, teach me your ways, that I may know You,  and may continue   in your favor.”

1 John 2:3“And by this, we know that we have come to know Him … if we keep His commandments,”  because our obedience is “the fruit on the tree”. Our obedience is the evidence   of that continuing process   of our transformation into His likeness; the evidence that He abides in us;  that He is working His will in us, and through us – and that we do  know Him.

There was one particularly interesting item in that packet of letters that my mother gave to me, that evening.  On a half-sheet of paper, in pristine-neat handwriting, my Dad had written a letter to me – just to me.  And as I read it, and savored it, and I read it again, I could hear the voice of a loving Daddy, a proud Papa, speaking gently to the apple of his eye!

And so it is with the letters we’ve received from Our Heavenly Father.  His letters, too, reveal the depth of His love; the strength of His character; the purity of His purposes; His desire to be with us, never ever to part; His counsel for an abundant life until He returns; and there’s a roadmap to His Kingdom.  We can hear His voice when we open His Word, and ask Him for the gifts of understanding and of knowing Him.

As you “graze” upon His Word,  you may want to insert your own, personal name   wherever God reveals His promises and His plans; because His letters are intended for each of us, individually, as though we were the only objects of His love, His watchcare and His providence.

I believe those “perilous times” of which the Apostle Paul spoke … I believe they have begun.  So, when mired in difficulties, facing trials, enduring hardship, we could certainly use an Ally, couldn’t we?  One Who seriously knows how to rumble!  The good news is: we’ve got One  in our Lord and Master, Who is like no other!  There is none like Him!

Are you facing some angry,   hungry    lions?  Do you feel like Daniel  in the Lion’s Den?  or are you Androcles in that arena?  Well, the very same God who silenced those lions for the faithful Daniel is very much alive and well.  He’s your Creator, your Redeemer, and your Refuge.  He’s the Sovereign of all the Universe.  And He wants to be your Lord, your Companion and Ally.  His desire is to be    your “Abba”.

Listen to Isaiah 55:6  “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near.”  Spend priority time with your Heavenly Father in prayer.  Pursue Him with all of your heart.   Seek His face, and His companionship.  Search for Him in prayer and in His Word.   Invite the indwelling Presence of His Son,  thru His Holy Spirit.  Talk with Him, listen for His promptings, and be willing to walk in all of His counsel.

In closing, from the Clear Word Bible comes this counsel: “Getting to know God     should be our number one priority.”

Dearest Heavenly Father:  give us a relentless  hungering to know You, and the willingness to obey You,  and to serve you from the heart.  Father, please  reveal Yourself to us individually, in terms that we can grasp, and incline our feet to walk in all of Your ways,  and in all of Your Truth.

In the words of Your faithful servant, Moses, “If we have found favor with You,    teach us your ways, that we may know You, and may continue in Your favor.”  May we trust You, Lord, and live as in Your sight

In the worthy,  holy name of Jesus we earnestly pray – Amen

Copyright 2015  B. L. Schappell