And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more. Jer. 31:34
So, what does it mean to know the Lord? Well, if I think in context of myself, the people who know me are not those who read about me in a book, nor see me in the store or say hi or goodbye to me a couple times a week. Likewise, the people who come up and ask for help often don’t really know me either, although they do learn what I am able to do.
The people who know me are those that spend personal time with me, in the good times and the bad; the ones who don’t bail on our relationship because they don’t like something I’ve done or not done (ouch Lord!) or because it’s too hard. They’re the people who not only talk to me, but share their lives with me, and listen to me in return. They ask me how I’m doing and care enough to hear my reply, and after years of time together, they can almost read my mind.
In other words, it is not knowledge they’ve acquired in their heads, but heart knowledge- that which resides deep inside over time and with effort. This is the same with the Lord. We can read all about Him and know every fact there is to know, but it doesn’t mean we know Him personally.
Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD." Jer. 9:24 ESV
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Jer. 31:33 ESV
It is not the learning of facts or intellectual truths, but a personal understanding of the Truth, as in Jesus Christ; “…I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” (Jh. 14:6). Those who only learn facts are those who are “ever learning and never able to come to the full knowledge of the truth.” (2Tm. 3:7)
We can know God’s deeds, His attributes, His abilities, memorize His Words, even teach all we know to the entire world, but it doesn’t mean we know Him or His ways. The Hebrews knew all about their God, but love for Him was not in their hearts. They knew His works because they saw them happen, but they never wanted to get closer to the Lord whereas Moses knew His ways.
…this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me… Is. 29:13
He revealed his plans to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. Ps. 103:7 ISV
For forty years I was grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways; Ps. 95:10; Heb. 3:10
We have the ability to be personal with God. He started a personal relationship with Adam and Eve in the garden, “And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God…” Gen 3:8 (They knew His voice and knew who it was despite being hidden. It was not strange to them He was there, so He must have done it often.) and if we read through the Bible, a relationship is what He always works toward with man. Just knowing about Him isn’t good enough!
And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. Jh. 17:3
…I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection… Php 3:8-10 ESV