Intimate With His Ways
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, (Deuteronomy 10:12)
I regularly take a journey from the city where I work to a house in the country where I go to relax. The first few times I made this journey I would miss a turn or get confused about how far I had to go, and sometimes had to get out the map and study it. Now I have made this journey many times and know it so well that I don't need to use a map anymore. I know which way to turn at every junction and can tell by the landmarks how long and far I have traveled without looking at a clock or odometer. I could draw you a detailed map from memory of the way I travel and describe all of the places along the road where you could stop for food or fuel. But even with my detailed description, your knowledge of the journey would never be the same as mine. You would have knowledge about the journey; I have an intimate knowledge of it.
There is a knowing about something that is different from an intimate knowing of something through experience. Only when we walk in God's ways do we gain this intimate knowing of God's ways. We fool ourselves if we think we know God's ways because we can recite the Bible from memory or quickly locate many verses with a concordance or Bible software. Anyone can do that without ever gaining an intimate knowing of God's ways. We must seek that point of knowing such that God's ways seem natural and obvious. His ways must so deeply enter into our heart, mind and soul that we feel, think and act in the manner of His ways without hesitation or doubt.
This intimate knowledge comes through experience. We cannot simply study and study until we have complete knowledge. No matter what level of knowing about God's ways we have, we only gain intimate understanding when we step forward by faith that His word is true and good. And then, through that step of faith, we test our understanding and gain an intimate knowledge of His ways. When our interpretation is wrong, we find ourselves lost, confused and must go back to the map of His word. Through this repeated experience of walking by faith, He trains us in His ways until the knowledge of His ways enters into our heart. Only with that intimate knowing do we never get lost again.
We gain intimate knowledge of the journey by making the journey. We gain faith by living by faith. We learn forgiveness by forgiving and love by loving. So too, we gain knowledge of God's ways by walking with Him. In so doing we become intimate with His ways.
Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:4-5)