"SO WILL I MAKE MY HOLY NAME KNOWN in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel." (Ezekiel 39:7)
Gods great purpose is to make Himself known. This is the great emphasis of the Bible. Gods program of missions centers upon Himself. Gods great concern is to glorify Himself and to make Himself known to all men: "Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only" (2 Kings 19:19).
From history let us illustrate Gods great objective to make Himself known. Pharaoh once made the great mistake of saying, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice...I know not the LORD" (Exodus 5:2). God made Himself known to this wicked king:
"And he said, To morrow. And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the LORD our God" (Exodus 8:10).
"And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth" (Exodus 8:22).
"For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth" (Exodus 9:14).
"And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the LORD; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lords" (Exodus 9:29).
God made Himself known not only to Pharaoh but to all the Egyptians:
"And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them" (Exodus 7:5).
"And I will harden Pharaohs heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD" (Exodus 14:4).
"And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen" (Exodus 14:18).
The Exodus was also the time when God made Himself known to His own people in a very special way:
"And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians" (Exodus 6:7).
"And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy sons son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD" (Exodus 10:2).
"Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him" (Deut. 4:35).
God made Himself known even to His unbelieving, murmuring people in the wilderness:
"I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God" (Exodus 16:12).
"And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the LORD your God" (Deut.29:5-6).
God even made Himself known to a non-Israelite, Jethro, the priest of Midian, the father-in-law of Moses:
"Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them" (Exodus 18:11).
In the wilderness God dwelt in the midst of His people, thus making Himself known in a special way:
"And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God" (Exodus 29:46).
In our study of the book of Leviticus we have found certain phrases which occur repeatedly in this book. Again and again a verse will end by saying, "I AM THE LORD," or "I AM THE LORD YOUR GOD." Again and again God reminds His people concerning WHO HE IS, the Holy One of Israel, even their God.
What was mans great sin? What was it that plunged our race into paganism and heathenism? It was the terrible rejection of the knowledge of God. God made Himself known to man and man rejected that knowledge and became blind:
"Because that, WHEN THEY KNEW GOD, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened" (Rom. 1:21).
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient" (Rom. 1:28).
Even Gods people Israel rejected the knowledge of God which they had:
"Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land....My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because THOU HAST REJECTED KNOWLEDGE, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children" (Hosea 4:1,6).
Joshua understood that Gods purpose was to make Himself known to His people and to all the world:
"And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites" (Josh. 3:10).
"That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever" (Josh. 4:24).
David, in his battle with Goliath, knew what the real issue was all about. David had a glimpse of what Gods overriding purpose and objective was:
"This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (1 Samuel 17:46).
Solomon, at the time of the dedication of the temple, understood Gods purpose and objective, and that this purpose extended far beyond Israel:
"Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name....That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else" (1 Kings 8:43; 8:60).
"Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name" (2 Chronicles 6:33).
Elijah, in his contest with the prophets of Baal, wanted God to make Himself known:
"And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again" (1 Kings 18:36-37).
The Gentile (Syrian) general Naaman came to know of the God of Israel:
"And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant" (2 Kings 5:15).
God allowed wicked king Ahab to have a victory on the field of battle in order to make Himself known:
"And there came a man of God, and spake unto the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thine hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD" (1 Kings 20:28; compare 20:13).
As King Hezekiah prayed for deliverance from the Assyrian invader he had Gods greater purpose in view:
"Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only" (Isaiah 37:20).
God made Himself known even to wicked king Manasseh:
"And prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God" (2 Chron. 33:13).
Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, was the powerful dictator of the Babylonian empire, one of the greatest of the ancient kingdoms. The true KING OF KINGS made Himself known to this man in a special way:
"That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Dan. 4:25).
"And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will" (Daniel 4:32).
"And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will" (Daniel 5:21).
In the book of Ezekiel we see this important theme repeated again and again. Notice how often you read phrases such as this: "and they shall know that I am the LORD" "and ye shall know that I am the LORD"; etc. Indeed these phrases occur more than 55 times in the book of Ezekiel (see for example 6:7,10,13,14; 7:4,27; 11:10,12; 12:15,16,20; etc.).
According to Isaiah the prophet, Gods people shall know that He is the LORD:
"Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I" (Isaiah 52:6).
Indeed, Isaiah also tells us that God will make Himself known to nations that knew Him not:
"Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee" (Isaiah 55:5).
Egypt in the millennium will know the Lord:
"And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it" (Isaiah 19:21).
Yes, during the kingdom age the knowledge of the LORD will be universal:
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9).
"For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14).
In the kingdom Israel shall know the LORD in a saving way:
"And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jer. 31:34).
Gods people Israel need not be ashamed. They have a glorious future:
"And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed" (Joel 2:27).
Is Gods purpose being fulfilled in your life? Carefully consider the following passages:
"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10).
"Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Psalm 100:3).
"For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods" (Psalm 135:5).
"Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isaiah 43:10).
"And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Daniel 11:32).
"And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee" (Psalm 9:10).
Our responsibility as believers in Christ involves two things:
1) WE ARE TO KNOW HIM
"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death" (Phil. 3:10).
2) WE ARE TO MAKE HIM KNOWN
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place" (2 Cor. 2:14).
May we be getting to know Him more and more. May we be making Him known more and more.
Middletown Bible Church, Missions Report, 1991
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