It is once again time to prepare our hearts for worship. Last week I quoted Ligon Duncan who said that one way to prepare for worship would be to: “Reflect on and pray through the attributes of God. Consider what makes Him worthy of our worship. Consider yourself, and spend time in confession of sin. Pray that God would prepare your heart to hear the proclamation of His Word.” I thought that praying through the attributes of God was a great idea and I thought it would be good to discuss a different attribute of God every week for several weeks. Last week I mentioned God’s immensity. As a quick reminder about God’s immensity A.W. Tozer said: “God has the attribute of immanence and immensity. God is immanent, which means you don’t have to go distances to find God…He is right here…God is above all things presiding, beneath all things sustaining, outside of all things embracing and inside all things filling. That is the immanence of God.”
Psalm 139: 7-10 says: “Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.”
This week I want to focus on God’s omniscience. A.W. Pink says: “God is omniscient. He knows everything: everything possible, everything actual; all events, all creatures of the past, the present and the future. He is perfectly acquainted with every detail in the life of every being in heaven, in earth and in hell…His knowledge is perfect. He never errs, never changes, never overlooks anything.” Hebrews 4:13 reminds us: “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
Sam Storms says that God: “sees things at once and in their totality, whereas we know only as the objects of knowledge are brought before us, one bit after another. With God the act of perception is complete and instantaneous. God thinks about all things at once.” Wayne Grudem helpfully tells us: “If he [God] should wish to tell us the number of grains of sand on the seashore or the number of stars in the sky, he would not have to count them all quickly like some kind of giant computer, nor would he have to call the number to mind because it was something he had not thought about for a time. Rather, he knows all things at once. All of these facts and all other things that he knows are always fully present in his consciousness” This is the God we are preparing to worship! Psalm 147:5 says: “Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.”
Sam Storms reminds us: “God’s knows exhaustively all his own deeds and plans. He also knows us thoroughly and exhaustively. No secret of the human heart, no thought of the mind or feeling of the soul escapes his gaze. Carl Henry points out: “Psychologists and psychoanalysts speak of deep areas of subconscious experience of which human beings are hardly aware. But God knows all men thoroughgoingly, psychologists and psychoanalysts and theologians included.”
What are some practical implications of God’s omniscience for us? John Piper is helpful here when he says: “It means that there are no complete secrets in your life. You may have succeeded in hiding something all your life from everyone on this earth. But you have not hidden it from Jesus. The person who matters most knows most. The person whose judgment about you is all important knows all. Let that sink in. You are totally known. Totally. There is not the slightest part of your heart unknown to Jesus, at this hour, and every hour.”
God’s omniscience should fill us with adoration and comfort. Sam Storms says: “What is even more glorious is that this doctrine which makes us fearful of sin is also the foundation of comfort and assurance. If God is omniscient, then he knows the worst about us, but loves us notwithstanding! The apostle John writes: “By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. (1 John 3:19-20) A.W. Pink similarly says: “The apprehension of God’s infinite knowledge should fill the Christian with adoration. The whole of my life stood open to His view from the beginning. He foresaw my every fall, my every sin, my every backsliding; yet, nevertheless, fixed His heart upon me. Oh, how the realization of this should bow me in wonder and worship before Him!”
Lastly and powerfully John Piper tells us: “Let me close with one word about the cross of Christ—the death of Christ. You would think that a man who can see perfectly into the heart of every soul and know what everyone is thinking and feeling and planning—you would think that such a man could move through life by avoiding all human danger. He can simply see all thoughts of ill-will and get out of reach. That’s true. He could. If that was his plan.
But it wasn’t Jesus’ plan. He knew what was in man—including Judas (John 6:64). And so he chose when and where and how and why he would die. And he did it for you. If you see him and his cross as the greatest glory and believe on him, the Lamb of God takes away all your sins, you will have eternal life. He is a glorious Savior.”
As we prepare our hearts for worship let’s be sure to pray for Ian and Erin as they will be leading us in worship. If you would pray for me as I will be doing the confession I would appreciate it. Let’s be sure to pray for Mark as well, who will open up God’s Word to us. He will be preaching on Genesis 46-47. The links to the ESV text are below:
Picture from here