What does God know?
August 10, 2014
We live in a world where information is available everywhere. Some call this time the “information age”. Yet, with every piece of data that is available to us, our knowledge pales in comparison to what can be known.
In this message, Pastor Ed Young asks the question, “What does God know?” And as we learn the answer, we discover how God’s omniscience can lead us to a life of purpose, direction, and eternal hope.
Well good morning this morning. How are you guys doing? Welcome to Fellowship Church. We’re one church in many locations. You know, this past summer I had an opportunity to film a reality fishing show. It’ll debut on the channel Destination America in October. You can Google it: Silverkingstv.com I’m not the main star of the show. I am, however, one of the personalities. And for the first time in my life while I was filming this show I saw drones. In fact, the camera boat used drones extensively throughout this shoot. And the drones seemed to be behind me, above me, in front of me, capturing different images and recording everything we did on the water for two straight weeks.
So as I was out there sort of staring into the water and looking at drones I came up with this series idea. Because drones are everywhere. A lot of people think they’re really powerful and I guess they are. They can gain a lot of information. Well, our great God is present everywhere. There is nowhere where he is not. Not only is God present everywhere, the Scripture says from cover to cover he knows everything. God knows it all. And that’s – wow – something to really consider and contemplate. The Bible also says that God has all power. He’s all powerful. So I thought why not put together this study and call it drones, and talk about the attributes of God. Because most of us don’t really understand the nature and the character of God. In fact, I would say that the more deeply we understand the attributes of God, the more we can mature and grow and become the kind of people that God wants us to be. So the question is, who is God?
For some of you, you’re asking that question. For some of you, you’re not a Christ-follower. For some of you maybe you were drug here or manipulated to come to Fellowship Church. You need to understand, you need to know, the God you are seeking. For others, you live in this secret denial, this secret rebellion, because it behooves you not to even consider the fact that God is everywhere, that God knows everything, and that God can do anything he wants to do. It’s sort of scary. So you’re turning from him, you’re running from him. You know you are down deep. I don’t know who you are but you know it in your heart of hearts. Maybe you’re in a hurtful habit, maybe you’re in a damaging relationship or you’re into some toxicity, you need to know the God that you’re trying to dodge. You need to know the God you’re trying to shake.
Others here have been believers for a long time and we need, once again, to discover how great and how awesome our God is. So I thought I’d call this series Drones. You’ll notice we have a drone. And this drone flies back and forth over us today. And it will especially be active during the offering time because it has the ability to see and to know if you’re sort of allowing the offering plate to skip by or just to tip God or to really, really bring the tithe.
Drones, they’re everywhere. I was thinking about drones and sometimes people have some bad things to say about drones, and I understand that. Some people have a hard time with drones and they think about privacy issues, they think about voyeurism. And I thought about what are some things, what are some dynamic things that drones could do. Would you like to know that?
Eleven, Ed Young’s 11 dynamic things that drones can do straight from the world wide web.
#11 – They can help capture weddings. You want to do a cool wedding? That scared me. Use a drone.
#10 – Sell real estate. You get a better view of the property you’re selling, the property you’re looking at. It might help you make that sale.
#9 – It enables the paparazzi to go to a whole ‘notha level because they can see things now they just dreamed of seeing.
#8 – It makes sports look cool. Did you check out Johnny Football last night? I’m telling you, man. What was Jerry Jones thinking? Anyway, watching that game. I don’t wanna really know what he was saying but, anyway. Johnny Football. What if a drone could have flown around and seen this guy in action? I think he’s a pretty amazing guy.
#7 – Fight crime. You want to fight crime? Use a drone. A lot of the people, a lot of the agencies that fight crime use a drone.
#6 – Put out wildfires. I can tell you’re excited about this.
#5 – Monitor wildlife.
#4 – (I came up with these. Give me a break!) Deliver pizza! Domino’s is already experimenting with this. You’ve gotta show me some love here!
#3 – Transport medicine. OK. This is one of my favorites.
#2 – Entertain nerds. I’m just sayin’. And we all have a little nerdesque quality within us, some more than others, but a lot of times those who, like, collect drones and fly them all the time, they’re a little nerdy. That’s OK. Nerds are cool.
#1 – But #1, here we go, the most important thing, the most dynamic thing that drones can do, they can help me preach sermons!
Powerful. Eleven dynamic things that drones can do. Wow, drones. Drones.
Well, last weekend we talked about “God Is Everywhere.” If you missed it, please log onto FellowshipChurch.com because you won’t understand the full gist of this message until you understand the fact that our great God is everywhere. Watch that. We have all of the messages archived for you. It’s huge that you get this.
For some of you, your next step in this series is going to be to attend this, obviously this week, and own the message and understand the message and apply the message, and also attend next week as we talk about God being all-powerful.
So that’s your homework for some here. In fact, I would like all of you not to miss any segment or session of this series. Because something supernatural takes place when groups of people gather together to hear God’s word proclaimed. And the Bible says we’re not to turn our backs on the gathering-together of people in church. Because the only thing Jesus built was the church. He did not build hospitals, he didn’t build schools, he didn’t build para-church organizations. No, no, no. He built the church and the Bible says the gates of Hell will not prevail against the church.
Well, let’s talk about God. Let’s talk about God’s omniscience. Say it with me. Omniscience. Once again, omniscience. “Omni” means all. “Science” has to do with knowledge. What does that mean that God is all-knowing? It means God knows everything from the past, he knows everything in the present, he knows everything in the future. You can’t throw a surprise party for God. You can’t shock him. God is not a learner. He knows everything about everything. God is the environment for the universe. God is everywhere and he knows everything.
Notice right up front that God’s omniscience is intrinsic. It’s intrinsic. It’s woven into the very fabric and framework of who God is. It’s intrinsic. That’s who God is.
Not only is it intrinsic, it’s infinite. Eternity lasts a long, long time. There’s no way we can wrap our little pea-brains, our finite brains, our minds around the mind of God. God surrounds us. He is around us. And many times he confounds us because we’ll never understand his ways. His ways are higher than our ways. Many times God is a mystery, yet he’s revealed himself to us in this book. So God’s omniscience is intrinsic. It’s infinite.
It’s instantaneous. You know the Scripture says that God knows the number of hairs on your head and mine. And most of us have an average of about 100,000 hairs on our head. God knows the exact number: 98,423… or 62,409… or 72. He knows those numbers! And it’s not like he has to Google it or look it up or go… He knows! He knows. God knows.
For a lot of us, think about it, for a lot of people here, for me, for you, that really brings up some accountability issues. It really brings up some themes in our lives. It’s like, “wow, I thought I could run from God. I didn’t know that God knew that.”
There’s no such thing as something on the D.L. or something on the Q.T. from God. There’s no such thing as a private conversation, a closed office door or a closed bedroom door. Everything is out in the open for God. All knowledge ever thought about, ever conjured up, even potential knowledge, God knows instantaneously.
ILLUS: A couple of days ago I flew out to the east coast with Lisa. And so often I will teach and lead in conferences and talk about leadership and talk about the great things that Fellowship is doing. I jumped on an airplane to fly to the east coast. I didn’t design the airplane. I don’t know that much about airplanes. I trusted the engineers, whoever built this particular plane, I trusted them with their information, with their knowledge, to get me from point A to point B.
Have you ever thought about how you trust people’s knowledge? I mean, you don’t know. Your knowledge stops. My knowledge stops. Airplanes, I don’t know anything about airplanes. A driver picked us up at the airport and he began to escort us to our hotel. He had this really cool car, it was a Mercedes, you know. And I don’t know how to design cars. I trusted him. I trusted whoever built this Mercedes Benz that took us from the airport to this hotel. And I’m like, wow, this is a nice car. And this guy, I guess I trust his information because he knows where he’s going. We checked into a hotel. We had just a couple of hours before I had to speak. This hotel was a tall hotel, on the water, packed full of tourists. You walk into the lobby and you can smell sun block and you can see sunburn. I’ve never waited ever for elevators as long as I waited in this hotel to go up to 18 floors. I don’t know. They have a severe problem in this hotel.
Anyway, I’m standing there looking at this elevator, 18 floors, and I’m thinking I don’t know anything about an elevator. Who designed this elevator? Who built this elevator? Someone knows a lot about elevators, more information than I do, yet I trusted them and I packed in with all of these tourists. Made it to the 18th floor, got off, Lisa and I walked to our room, opened the door and we – Oh wow, this is a cool room! We walked outside, a little balcony, and I looked to my right with Lisa. Then we looked to our left and all we could see were like squillions of dots, people in the ocean, people lying out in the sun. There was a lifeguard competition going on. We later found out Def Leppard was staying in our hotel. You know the group with the one-armed drummer <boom-boom-boom> and KISS, they were there as well. They were doing a concert the next night. I mean, I was not speaking at that but I’m saying to ya, it was just a pretty cool thing.
So I’m looking down, looking at all the sand, at all the tourists, and I’m going, whoa. This is crazy. So I’m thinking about the lectures I had to do the following several hours and the following days, and then I started thinking and reflecting on this message.
The omniscience of God. Tens of thousands of people were on this beach. I mean, I didn’t go down to the beach, I didn’t have time. I wish I could’ve but I didn’t. and I thought, all these dots, God knows all these dots. He knows all these people better than they know themselves. He knows the number of hairs on their head. He knows what they’re thinking before they think it, what they’re doing before they do it. God knows it all. And the Bible says, talking about sand, talking about a beach community, that God’s thoughts about you and me are more numerous than the sands on the seashore.
See, I’ve got to, as I live my life, trust people. Whether it’s driving in cars or flying in planes or using an elevator, I’ve gotta trust people that have more knowledge than I do because my knowledge is limited. Your knowledge is limited. And you’re going to tell me, and you’re going to tell God, and you’re going to tell your spouse and others that you’re going to do life alone?
The omnipresence of God, God is around us, he’s surrounded us. He many times confounds us, and the omniscience of God. God knows it all. And he’s still crazy about you. He’s still crazy about me. He knows all of your shams, all of my shams.
He knows why you’re here today. You might be here because you’re like, “Man. I’m single and I saw this girl last week… this girl, man I’m telling ya, she’s hot.” God knows if that’s why you’re here. He knows if you’re here and you’re just kinda going through the motions. “Well, whatever, you know. Man, that drone. I’d like to have that. Wonder if I could buy that drone. Where did they get that? Look at those lights. That’s pretty cool.” You’re out there. God knows that. He knows if you’re leaning in. He knows if you’re really serious about his character and nature. God knows it all. Again, for all of us, he’s crazy about us.
Psalm 139, this is the omni-chapter. God is omnipresent. He’s omniscient, and omnipotent. Check this out, Psalm 139:1-6. “You’ve searched me…” The word search, say search with me, is the picture of someone digging for precious metal. God has searched you and he’s searched me.
ILLUS: One time I had a CT scan several years ago. They scan your entire body. And after the scan the doctors and technicians went over the scan with me. It was nerve-wracking. You see your entire body in all these different images. They can flip your heart around and lungs around and say this and say that. Oh, yeah, you broke the ring finger of your left hand a long time ago. Yeah, I was in the second grade. And this and that. You need to work on this, now. You have heart disease in your family so you better watch out. It was amazing. They told me the good, the bad, the ugly about my body.
Well, God takes a CT scan and that’s like just nothing to him. “You’ve searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise.” God knows what we do before we do it.
This is the fabulous five:
#1 – God knows what we do before we do it.
Also, #2 – God knows what we think before we think it. “You perceive my thoughts.”
Look at verse 3, here’s #3 of the fab five. #3 – God knows where we go. “You discern my going out and my lying down. You’re familiar with …” some of my ways? Most of my ways? No, no, no. Say it with me. “… all of my ways.”
#4 of the fab five. God knows what we say before we say it. “Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord know it completely.” Whoa. That word you said to your spouse. That word you said to your mom or your dad. That word you said to your boss. That word you said to that client. That word, those words… So God knows what we do before we do it, what we think before we think it, where we go before we go there, what we say before we say it.
And look, the #5 of the fab five, what we need before we need it.
Here’s what David said: “You hem me in behind and before and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge (here’s what David is saying, this is sensory overload – my brain is about to explode) … such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” Let me stop here. I want you to work with me.
Think about the omniscience of God. Go back to the 18th floor of that tourist hotel that Lisa and I stayed in for two nights during the conference. Think about all those people on the beach. Think about all the sand. God knows every one of those people, he knows every person here. Every person you lay eyes on, 7 billion people on planet Earth, God knows them. He’s never too busy. He’s never like, “Well, I gotta put you on hold.” He never goes, “Wait, let me Google that. Lemme go to my library.” He knows it all about you and me right now. It’s all instantaneous.
So not only – and I want you to get ready to clap. Do your hands like this. Because this statement is a great statement. Not only does God know everything, he has made himself knowable. God is not a detached deity. Jesus is not some sequestered Savior. He has made it so obvious. Put the cards on the table. Are you ready for the next reality? Because you’re not ready for this reality, you’re not really ready for this reality until you’re ready for the next one.
All you have to do is say, “God, I admit to you my wrongdoings, my sins, my shams, my cover-ups.” And you’re not going to surprise God. God’s not going to say, “Whoa! I didn’t know that! Thanks, Ed, for giving me the 4-1-1 on your inconsistencies, on your hypocrisies.” You can’t surprise him. As I said earlier, you can’t throw a surprise party for God. He knows it all and he loves you and he loves me.
You know, it’s really big in the world of technology now. You’ve heard about Snapchat? Anybody heard about Snapchat? The young people know it. Parents, they’re like, “Ed, don’t tell my parents about Snapchat. Please, don’t.” Well, basically you take a picture and you send it to someone else, and poof! After several seconds the picture is gone. Now some of the students are going, “Ed, you can save it if you take a picture.” I know that. But that’s the cool thing.
Then our boy, Mark Cuban, right here in Dallas invented Cyber Dust. Same thing but Mark has taken it to another level because with texting and with pictures, after a while, boom. It’s gone.
Our God is not that way. He knows everything about you and about me instantaneously. If you knew, if I knew, how many thoughts that God had about us, again, it would outnumber the sand on the seashore of the east coast that I just saw. It’s one of the most obvious doctrines in Scripture.
1 Samuel 2:3, “The Lord is a God who knows.” Everything about everything.
1 John 3:20, “He knows everything.”
Psalm 147:5, “Great is our God and mighty in power. His understanding has no limit.”
Proverbs 15:3, “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”
T.S. Now I could diesel on about the omniscience of God. I could go through squillions of Scriptures and impress you, I guess, by the Biblical knowledge and my theological knowledge of the omniscience of God, but I’m not going to do that. You can do that yourself. What I’m going to do is what Jesus did. When Jesus taught he used 30% of his words for information, about 70% of the words for application. It’s the So What? Principle. So what? God’s omniscient. So what? So what? So what? So what? God is omniscient.
I want you to write down several things. #1 – God, and this is practical, I’ll say it again, God knows all of our ways. He knows all of our ways. Let me give you the bad news first, then I’ll give you the good news.
ILLUS: When I was in the 6th grade my family and I moved to a home in the country on a dirt road. Across the dirt road was a little lake. That’s where I fell in love with fishing, which is a passion of mine. I think fishing is a Biblical sport, as I always say. Most of the disciples were fisherman and Jesus talked about fishing a lot. So anyway, I love to fish. Well, I started with cane poles and then Dad saw I was really into it so he took us to Kmart. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Kmart. They changed the name to the Big K, I just don’t like it. I just like Kmart. It flows. Kmart. “Grab a blue light special, blue light special…” I remember all that. So, Dad took us to Kmart. I can see right now where the sporting goods section was in that store. And he bought us three rod and reels, little push-button <spinning reel sound effect> those little things. One for my brother, Ben, one for himself, one for me. He taught us how to fish and then he said,
“OK, guys. You have your own rod and reel. Be responsible for it. Here are your little tackle boxes. I’m going to put my rod and reel in my closet.” And he looked at me specifically and he said, “Ed, you can use it but ask me before you use it.” I said,
“Yes, sir.” A little time passed, a friend of mine came over. I said, “Let’s go fishing!” So I let him use Ben’s rod. I had my rod, then I thought I’m just going to have another rod. I’m going to get Dad’s rod and reel. Dad’s gone, I’m just going to grab it. So I went to his closet without asking him, grabbed his rod and reel, rode out into the middle of this lake. Thirty feet deep was the deepest point, and it was in the middle of summer, you know, one of those dog days. Africa-hot. I mean I’m talking about so hot you wouldn’t believe it. So I’m out there and we’re fishing with minnows. I have a minnow on my rod and then I put another minnow on Dad’s rod and my friend was using a minnow. Minnows were the bait for the bass.
All of a sudden, boom! On my rod, whoa, got one! Got one! Ohh… here… he’s jumping and I’m fighting this fish and I see something out of the corner of my eye. I see my father’s rod kinda do this, and then go over the side of the boat, sinking – to my shock and awe – 30 feet down. Down, down, down in those coffee-black waters of the lake we were fishing. It was gone. I mean, am I going to find the rod and reel? The fish is dragging it around everywhere! Gone! I get back. I’m feeling terrible. I have a case of the guilties. I’m like, oh my goodness. This is horrible. This is terrible. This is terrible, this is terrible, this is terrible. And weeks go by and finally I muster up enough courage and say,
“Dad, I’ve got something to tell you. I took your rod and reel and now it’s at the bottom of the lake <sniff>.” And he looked at me and I’ll never forget what he said. He goes,
“Ed, I know you took the rod and reel. I knew it was missing. And I just wanted to wait to see how long it would take you to confess. I forgive you.”
Do you have any rod and reels at the bottom of your lake? Maybe your lake is packed with rod and reels and you think your father doesn’t know about it? The Holy Spirit of God is pointing out those rod and reels, pointing out those lies, pointing out those immoralities, pointing out those inconsistencies, pointing out those harsh words, pointing out that selfishness. That’s the bad news.
But the good news is God is waiting to forgive you and me! He’s waiting to say, “I forgive you.” Because what is Jesus doing right now? People say what is he doing? Well, yeah, he’s everywhere, he knows everything, but what is he doing? I’m glad you asked that question. Hebrews 7:25, “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them.”
In other words, “Pray for them.” Jesus, the Son of God, is praying for you and for me right now! So he’s everywhere, he knows everything, and he’s praying for us. Because we know the enemy, the Devil, Satan himself is accusing us. But we know the Man. God knows all our ways.
Also, too, God knows all of my wounds. He knows all of my ways, God knows all of my wounds. A practical thing. You might be going through a divorce. Maybe you’re fighting through depression. Maybe someone in your life has just passed. You know, we had one of our volunteers who recently lost a son. Maybe you’ve shed tears over being betrayed or hurt. Maybe you’ve shed tears over some situation and you think no one knows.
Psalm 56:8, “You have taken account of my wanderings and you’ve put my tears in your bottle.”
How about that? There is a bottle somewhere that says ‘Ed Young’s Tears.’ That’s how intimate, that’s how aware, that’s how much God loves you and me.
Another thing is God knows my secret works. Do you ever get weary in well-doing? Sometimes you’re like, I wish people saw that! I mean, I’ve really sacrificed. I’ve really written a big check for me. Or how about, I’ve really served and I really shared with that person. I wish people saw that! I want people to give me the love! Show me the love! And guys, especially, we’re like that.
ILLUS: Those of us who are married, it’s like I have a hard time doing something good for Lisa without bring attention to myself. That’s why I’ve written a song, guys, I would encourage you to learn. So whenever you’re working or serving or helping just sing this song:
“Working, serving, helping, ba-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum-bum. Helping, serving, working.”
Or sing this one:
“A helper I will be (see I’m cleaning the house?) A helper I will be (I’m taking the trash out without you asking me!) Hi-ho the Derry-o a helper I will be.”
I think it’s Biblical. Didn’t Jesus say that? To draw attention to yourself? No, he didn’t! He didn’t say that! Here’s what he says: “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret (Matthew 6) will reward you.”
God sees it all. He knows it all. He loves us all. We’ve never locked eyes with someone who does not matter to God.
One question, one final question. Just think about this just for a second. When was the first time in your life you felt really and truly loved? Think back. First time. First time.
“Oh, it was in the 7th grade when that girl…” OK, OK.
Or, “When my father, after that incredible catch looked at me and gave me the thumbs-up.”
Or, “I was at a church service and I felt ambushed by the mercy of God.” Think back. First time you ever felt loved. I guarantee you two things were in play. #1 – That person who loved you, knew you intimately. They knew you. #2 – That person accepted you. They knew you, warts and all. They knew you, wayward ways and all, and they accepted you. That’s what our great God has done for humanity, for all 7.1 billion of us. What, I ask you, what is your response to our omniscient God?
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]