The power of knowing God

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but He will heal us; He has injured us but He will bind up our wounds. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will restore us, that we may live in His presence. Let us know the Lord; let us press on to know Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” Hosea 6:1-3

If you’ve walked any distance in this life, you will have gone through times where the circumstances didn’t line up with your personal understanding of the term “blessing”. Prolonged seasons like this can lead to us feeling weary or baffled in our spiritual walk, because we don’t understand what is happening. Pain, frustration, sickness, grief or rejection can cause you to retreat, losing sight of God’s perfect plan and destiny for your life. Pretty soon, you find yourself in a dry and parched place emotionally and/or spiritually. Why does this happen? and how do we come back from that place?

I have often wondered about Elijah’s decision to run from Queen Jezebel, less than twenty-four hours after God answers his prayer with fire from heaven. Consider it…Elijah, who in his own words, ‘stood before the Lord’, and whose walk with God had already resulted in tremendous spiritual authority and supernatural miracles, ran away.

Elijah had just returned, after being away from Israel, for the famous showdown on Mt. Carmel. At the end of this monumental spiritual confrontation, Elijah witnesses not only a national revival (the people choose God) but he decimates the prophets of Baal. Then he prays, and God answers him, this time with rain. Yet, after all these incredible events, at the word of Jezebel, Elijah runs. He turns away and flees to a dry, desolate place, deciding that he is the only one remaining who wants to pursue the one true God. Had he not just witnessed something few in the entire history of the human race would ever see? Had God not then given him the victory over the enemy camp and changed weather patterns to bring the rains of blessing? How could Elijah still doubt the power of God to answer and overcome the wayward rulers?

My life is dedicated to worshiping God and to creating a place where the hearts of men can meet the heart of God. I believe that this is where true transformation occurs, which leads to fruitfulness and the fulfillment of our calling in God. I have seen the amazing power and tasted of the goodness of God. Recently however, I walked through a very difficult season. It was long and drawn out. I cried out to the Lord in prayer until I couldn’t pray anymore. I tried everything I knew to understand the will of God and to overcome, but the seeming lack of response caused the hardship to seem overwhelming. I could not hear the voice of God regarding that for which I was seeking Him, and felt despair. Retreating, I found myself in a spiritual desert where the silence all around me was deafening.

“I have had enough Lord,” Elijah says (1 Kings 19:4). He was emotionally, physically and dare I say spiritually, spent. He had walked faithfully, and still in Zarephath Elijah had been accused by the widow of causing her son’s death. Elijah had dug deep then, and by the power of God raised her child from the dead. He expected the complete transformation of the rulers and the people, following the tremendous events on Mt. Carmel, but the king and queen refused to repent. Elijah could not see his way clear to the end goal which he knew was God’s ultimate desire – to restore the hearts of the nation to Himself. He knew if the leaders didn’t have a change of heart, the chances of true lasting transformation were small. Disappointed, afraid and having come to the end of himself, Elijah withdrew.

Right at that moment God comes calling. Just like in the garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve stepped out of His marvelous plan. While they were hiding God came looking for them. Here is God’s incredible response to Elijah’s plea in the desert, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord” (1 Kings 19:11). God’s call through the prophet Hosea is the same; that we come back to the Lord so that He may restore and heal us, so that we will live in His presence. How could we resist such a call by the Lord?

In the desert, God meets Elijah and gives him divine instruction and strategy concerning the future. God’s plan was different. He shows Elijah that he is not alone and commissions Elijah to further invest into his legacy by pouring into the next generation. Perhaps still feeling defeated, Elijah decides to press on.

If we press on, Hosea says that God will come to us like rain. To fully grasp the incredible nature of this promise, you have to understand it in its geographical context. During a recent trip to Malaysia I was joking with the conference delegates I was leading in worship, that singing the song “Let it rain” didn’t make much sense, and everyone laughed. It was funny because being so close to the equator it rains all the time there. Living in Israel however, you get a whole new level of appreciation for rain. Summer is very hot, long, dry and dusty. It doesn’t rain for months on end. So, when the rain finally does come the people, gardens, fields and animals are all eagerly awaiting it.

Since the land is so dry, the rains cause flash floods in the desert as the water runs down from Jerusalem through the Judean desert towards the Dead Sea. Immediately the desert comes to life, green shoots spring up everywhere, and what a short time earlier, was barren ground, is now vibrant with green life. It is like witnessing a resurrection. It is sudden and amazing. After the winter rains that soak the earth, come the spring rains that are gentler. The weather starts to warm and the land bursts into bloom, with flowers on the fruit trees which are the sign of the abundant fruit the trees will produce. So when Hosea prophesies that God will come like the winter and spring rains, this is the tangible imagery that he is referring to. A people blessed by a sudden transformation and abounding fruitfulness.

King David, an incredible worshiper and as the scriptures tell us, ‘a man after God’s own heart’, fled to a desert too. He was running from the man who held the very throne David was destined for. I believe the reason that God says that David is a man after his own heart, is first and foremost because David lived differently to most men. David lived with a unique perspective – he knew God’s heart. This knowledge caused David’s actions to run contrary to the logic of the people around him. He refuses multiple times to kill king Saul, even though Saul was out to kill him and the people around him council him to do it. David didn’t need to take matters into his own hands. He knew that God would fulfill His promise and chose not to take matters into his own hands.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Instead of the word ‘acknowledge’, the word in the Hebrew is ‘know’. It’s the same word that is used in the Hosea 6 passage above. In all your ways know Him. Know what God’s perspective is, on what is going on. What is God’s heart for you? For others around you? For the situations you face?

Consider what a magnified impact our lives would carry if we lived fully from this revelatory perspective. How do we do that? Like David, we press on, pursuing the very knowledge of God. God in turn will direct our ways, He will give us divine understanding, instruction and strategy for what is ahead. Knowing God’s heart means that we will live a life free from the world’s perspective, a life abundant with the sound of God’s rain and the fruit that is a result of it.

In this long personal season of hardship and retreat, I continued to press in and stand in His presence, even when it was the last thing I wanted to do. Growing weary of seeking answers with no apparent response, I wanted to quit. One day I changed the way I prayed and adopted an attitude of gratitude for what I was going through. I began to thank God for what I was not seeing…yet. I decided I would not “die on this hill” because God was greater than what I was I was facing. I determined to lay down my good ideas and plans and find a deeper place of surrender. This helped me to rest in God while enduring the hardship. Then I saw that God had a different perspective, a must greater plan than my own limited understanding would account for.

Then God started to move, bringing breakthrough, and much needed encouragement. I saw evidence of the small cloud, just as Elijah did, that would be the sign of the downpour that was coming. The trickle of a few drops has grown. Excitement is rising within me for the incredible things that lay ahead. I know that God is faithful and He is going to fulfill everything that He has said. You see, God’s silence is not his disapproval, it’s a way of development.

I want to encourage you today, to stop, and take hold of the amazing promises of God’s breakthrough, healing, restoration and revival we find in Hosea. Wherever you are at, no matter what the circumstance, determine to thank God because you know who He is. Do whatever it takes to spend time pursuing the knowledge of God. Gain that and your path will not be set asunder. You will be sure of His protection and provision no matter what – living an indestructible life because not leaning on your own understanding, you will live with His perspective.

Let us press on to know Him.

This article originally appeared on Ascend Music blog, March 7, 2018, and reposted with permission.

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Sarah Liberman is an internationally acclaimed Israeli worship leader, speaker and recording artist. Sarah has devoted her life to blessing the heart of God and making a place for others to meet with Him. Sarah travels, singing and speaking, bringing the powerful new sound of this generation of Israeli worshippers to the nations. With millions of views on YouTube, and songs sung in congregations around the world, her music brings you into the real presence of God. Her first two albums “I Am Before You” and “A Pure Heart” include well known and loved songs such as ‘Fire of Your Spirit’ and ‘Gadol Adonai’.