Monday, June 02, 2014

Praying To An All-Knowing God (PrayerLife)

God knows everything that can be known. God is omniscient, all-knowing.

Nothing is secret from God. You cannot hide from God. This is good, because God is also Love. Love sees all of you and all of me and all of everything.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Psalm 139:1-5

For some it might be bad news that God sees all my moral and spiritual failures! But David, in the next verse, is in awe of God's all-knowingness, and praises:

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 
too lofty for me to attain.

Psalm 139:6

Why is David thankful for God's omniscience? I can think of at least two reasons.

#1 - So I can be healed (God's omniscience is wonderful)

I have an appointment this morning with my eye doctor. It's a follow-up to do another series of tests on one of my eyes. "Why do I need a follow-up?" I asked the doctor a few weeks ago? "As a precaution on possible problems in the future," he replied. I am going to allow my eye to be searched-out by my doctor. I think he's excellent at what he does. His purposes are for my well-being. If there is a potential problem then we need to know so it can be treated.

I am grateful for my eye doctor's superior knowledge combined with his care for me. In the same way I thank God for his all-knowingness combined with his all-lovingness towards me. I submit to God in this, and feel his lovingkindness. When God sees failure in me his objective is not to condemn, but to restore and renew and transform me. How wonderful this is!

#2 - Awe in regard to the nature of God (God's omniscience is lofty)

When I was a doctoral student at Northwestern University I took Reginald Allen's graduate seminar on Aristotle's Metaphysics. I'll never forget the first day of class. There were 8 of us waiting for him. He walked into the seminar room carrying the Metaphysics, and began teaching. The astounding thing was that Dr. Allen knew the entire Metaphysics by heart (or close to it), in Greek! He just walked slowly around the classroom, rarely opening the book. I've had classes where a professor is not so awe-inspiring, and the students challenge him or her. But not so in Dr. Allen's class. No one of the planet knew Aristotle (and Plato, Allen's speciality) better than he. 

Occasionally a Northwestern professor would drop in on our class, sit quietly, and take notes on this brilliant professor. One day - to my shock and awe - E.M. Curley sat next to me. I think I said nothing in class that day!

In Dr. Allen's class I saw and experienced human brilliance. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty to attain. But when I think of God and his omniscience, nothing compares. I only have weak analogies to comprehend this. Shall I fall on my face and not look up? Shall I forget trying to understand and just worship? Does not God have to seriously dumb down the conversation so I can comprehend even a little of it?

How can it be that Omniscient God invites me to pray, to speak to him, to listen to him? 

Yet God does.

Pray to our All-Knowing God, and be in awe.