Much has been made of this year being 2020, and what that might have to do with our ability to see things more clearly as His sons and daughters. God knows we need more clarity and precision in our vision and priorities and pursuits. I certainly do.
Seems to me the best place to start in that pursuit is God Himself. King Solomon put it this way, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10
Since God is the One who created life and who imparts life; since Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life; only when we see Him and know Him and love Him can we experience and live life as He has intended for us to live it.
We should love God with our whole heart, soul, strength and mind if for no other reason because we are commanded to do so as seen in the following passages:
“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deut. 6:4,5 (See also - Matthew 22:37,38; Mark 12:29,30; Luke 10:27).
We should strive to know Him if for no other reason because He delights in our doing so as seen in the following two passages:
“Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might; let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23,24
“For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6
But there are wonderfully practical benefits in making our greatest pursuit in life – God Himself. The author of Proverbs alludes to this when he states, “Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the Lord understand all things.” Proverbs 28:5
The greatest prize or blessing or acquisition from seeking God is God Himself. But along with intimacy with Him comes His gladness to share His heart and mind with us. This passage does not mean we will always understand everything. Sometimes God tries, refines or prunes us by withholding things from us for a time that we would like to know or understand. This builds our faith and trust in Him. But in general a wonderful byproduct of seeking Him is understanding of things those who do not seek Him will not be able to understand.
One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 73, wherein the author (Asaph) was on the edge of bitterness and resentment towards God (vs. 2,3) because of hardships he was facing due to his pursuit of righteousness (vs. 14) and the apparent ease and prosperity and luxury of the wicked (vs. 3-12). He was just about to give up his faith and trust in the Lord having lost all perspective and understanding of God’s righteous and good dealings with both the righteous and the wicked (vs. 13-16). But he decided one more time to enter “the sanctuary of God” where God met him powerfully and restored perspective and understanding to him as can be seen in vs. 17-20. Also while in God’s presence, His vision of God Himself and what He meant to Asaph was restored as can be seen in vs. 23-28.
A Psalm of Asaph.
73 Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart! 2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps [a]had almost slipped. 3 For I was envious of the [b]arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no pains in their death, And their [c]body is fat. 5 They are not [d]in trouble as other [e]men, Nor are they plagued [f]like mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; The garment of violence covers them. 7 Their eye [g]bulges from fatness; The imaginations of their heart [h]run riot. 8 They mock and [i]wickedly speak of oppression; They speak from on high. 9 They have set their mouth [j]against the heavens, And their tongue [k]parades through the earth.
10 Therefore [l]his people return to this place, And waters of abundance are [m]drunk by them. 11 They say, “How does God know? And is there knowledge [n]with the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; And always at ease, they have increased in wealth. 13 Surely in vain I have [o]kept my heart pure And washed my hands in innocence; 14 For I have been stricken all day long And [p]chastened every morning.
15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” Behold, I would have betrayed the generation of Your children. 16 When I pondered to understand this, It was [q]troublesome in my sight 17 Until I came into the [r]sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end. 18 Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to [s]destruction. 19 How they are [t]destroyed in a moment! They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors! 20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when aroused, You will despise their [u]form.
21 When my heart was embittered And I was pierced [v]within, 22 Then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like [w]a beast [x]before You. 23 Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. 24 With Your counsel You will guide me, And afterward receive me [y]to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but You? And [z]besides You, I desire nothing on earth. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the [aa]strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have [ab]destroyed all those who [ac]are unfaithful to You. 28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord [ad]God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.
2020 vision was restored to Asaph as he encountered God Himself in a place of worship. I’m sure as he began to see God as He truly is, he repented of his bitterness and resentment and envy. And as he did that God opened his eyes to things he just couldn’t have seen otherwise.
Many believers in 2020 are hoping to better understand their calling or assignment or lane God would have them run in. I hope we all get more clarity on this and more zeal and passion to run our races well this year. But I would remind us as Paul reminded the fledgling Corinthian church that our highest calling and assignment and privilege is to know and fellowship with and walk with Him. “God is faithful through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” I Corinthians 1:9
I close for now with these thoughts from J.I. Packer’s book – “Knowing God” - “What makes life worth while is having a big enough objective, something which catches our imagination and lays hold of our allegiance: and this the Christian has, in a way that no other man has. For what higher, more exalted, and more compelling goal can there be than to know God.” J.I. Packer