When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "More About Jesus I Would Know."

 ​​​​​​​Knowing God Intimately
Exodus 33:11-16

Take your Bibles and turn to the Book of Exodus, chapter 33 and, in a moment, we're going to begin reading in verse 11. When you've found it, look up here, and let me ask you this question.

Most of you know me because you’ve heard me preach. You’ve seen me. You’ve talked with me. You might know for much of my life I was in construction, you might know I’ve been preaching and teaching since 1968, maybe you know I was a Florida State Certified Teacher and taught in adult education for eighteen years, it’s possible you know I oversaw the Regeneration Center for fourteen years, a Christ centered alcohol and drug rehabilitation center, and maybe other things, but those are things you might know about me.

How many of you know me intimately? The definition I’m using for intimately is; the state of being close, familiar and loving. Intimacy is what builds over time as you connect with someone, as you grow to care about each other, and feel more and more comfortable during your time together. 

All you know is what you know about me. You don't know me intimately. Now, Sandy knows me intimately and we’ll continue knowing each other intimately as time goes on. 

This morning I want to talk about not just simply knowing about God. I think all of us here know about God, but I wonder how many here know God intimately. And, frankly, that's one of the great problems in today's church. We have many who know about God, but few who know God intimately. How sad it will be in the resurrection to meet a God face-to-face that we have not known heart-to-heart.

Look with me in verse 11 of Exodus 33: "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend..." wow, how would you like that? And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people. And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he said unto him,"—that is, Moses said to Yehovah— "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth" (Exodus 33:11-16).

If that passage seems a little complicated, I want you to stay tuned, because it is an incredible passage that deals with the necessity of knowing God personally. The key is in verse 13; and, it is a prayer of Moses. I want you to look in Exodus 33:13. If you want to know God intimately, here's the key.

Moses prays this: "Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight..."—have you been saved by grace? Then, don't stop there—"if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee." "shew me now thy way, that I may know thee"; underscore that: "shew me now thy way, that I may know thee": have you got it? In order to know God intimately, you have to know the way of God. I pray you’ve got that? In order to know God intimately, you have to know the way of God.

Now, there are two ways that you can know God: casually or intimately. You can know about God, or you can know God. Now, to know about God is to know God's works. To know God intimately is to know God's way. I pray you get this. To know about God is to see God's works. To know God intimately is to know God's way.

Most people know God on the first level. All they know is the works of God. They know what God does, but they don't know the ways of God. They don't know God intimately.

Moses prayed, "Lord, show me thy way." Was that prayer answered? Absolutely. Psalm 103:7, says this clearly: "He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel." He made known his ways to Moses. "He made known... his acts"—or his works—"unto the children of Israel."

Moses knew God in a way the rest of the people didn't know. The rest of the people saw the works of God, but Moses knew the ways of God. And that divides everybody up. There are those people, today, who know what God does, but they don't who God is; they don't know God intimately. They know about God. They see the works of God.

What we need to do is to look beyond the works of God and to see the ways of God. Some people know God in a different way than other people know God, because they know the ways of God; they know God intimately. That brings a question: Does God have favorites? No, but He does have intimates.

Even in the New Testament, you'll find there was that little trinity of disciples—Peter, James, and John—who were not necessarily the favorites of the Lord Jesus, but they were the intimates of the Lord Jesus. How would you like to be on intimate terms with God? How would you like for God to show you His ways? When you know the ways of God, your troubled soul will be at peace. It will bring stability to your life. It will bring victory in your lifestyle.

The difference between knowing God's ways and God's works is the difference between intimacy and infatuation.

A lot of folks are simply infatuated with God, just like a boy gets infatuated with a girl. I mean, he sees a girl; he doesn't know anything about her ways, but boy, he looks at her, and she's beautiful. I mean, he sees her style; he looks at the way she's formed physically. He looks at her—the way she just handles herself, and he thinks he falls in love with her. But, he's not really in love with her. 

You can't be in love with someone until you know their ways. And, many a man has made the mistake of falling in love with a dimple and marrying the whole girl. The problem is infatuation. 

Let's talk about knowing God intimately. To know God intimately will give you tranquility; it will give you rest. Look, in verse 14: "And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." 

If you only know God casually, if you're only infatuated with God, if you only see God outwardly, if you only see God's works, you will never have rest. As a matter of fact, you will be constantly pushing the panic button. 

We’ve just seen that God made known His ways to Moses; God made known His acts (works) to the children of Israel (Psalm 103:7).

You see, the children of Israel were constantly frantic, constantly worried, constantly murmuring. Why? Because, all they saw were the works of God. They saw God do His miracles. 

They saw God open the Red Sea. They saw God give manna in the wilderness. They saw God give water out of a rock. You'd think that would satisfy them, wouldn't you? You'd think that they'd just have a heart full of rest, but they were constantly murmuring. Why? They didn't know the ways of God. All they knew were the works of God. 

Here's a key verse, Hebrews 3:10, 11 God speaks of those Israelites who were constantly murmuring, and yammering, and complaining, and were filled with fear, no rest. And, here's what God said about them: "Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do always err in their heart;"—now notice—"and they have not known my ways." They don't know My ways. "So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest" (Hebrews 3:10-11). "They don't know My ways. They'll not have My rest. 

If all you see is what God does, and you don't know God intimately, you'll never have rest. You'll have the spiritual heebie-jeebies all of your life. God said, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." (Exodus 33:14) 

You see, the children of Israel were doing fine, as long as the works of God pleased them. As long as God was opening the Red Sea, as long as God was giving them water out of a rock, as long as God was feeding them with manna from Heaven, they were doing fine, as long as the works of God pleased them. But then, when God didn't do things just the way they thought that God ought to do, they pushed the panic button. 

You'll never have that peace, that deep peace, until you understand the ways of God; because, folks, God's ways are often confusing to human wisdom.

Notice, Peter and James were both put in prison. They were servants of the Lord Jesus, apostles of Christ, arrested, and put in prison for preaching the gospel. You know what happened to James? His head was cut off. Peter was delivered miraculously out of prison. How are you going to explain that? 

Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost. He stood up for the Lord Jesus Christ, and accused that crowd of crucifying Jesus; and, 3,000 souls came to Christ. Stephen preached; he didn't get 3,000 souls. He got 3,000 stones. They stoned him to death. 

If all you see are the works of God, you're going to be hopelessly confused. You're going to say, "Does God have people's heads cut off?" Or, "Does God let people out of prison? Does God give 3,000 souls when you preach, or do you get stoned when you preach?" I mean, if all you see is what God does, if you don't have a deeper insight into the ways of God, you're going to be pushing the panic button all the time. 

You will never rest until you know God intimately. You see, to know the ways of God is the way of tranquility. To know God intimately is the way of tranquility. God says, in that verse—look at it again—verse 14: "I will give you rest, when My presence goes with you." 

There is nothing that will bring rest to your troubled soul like an intimate knowledge of God. If all you see is what God does in this world you are going to be one nervous Christian, until you learn to know the ways of God. To know the way of God is the way of tranquility. 

Something else; To know the ways of God—to know God intimately is also the way of stability. The difference between Moses and Israel: Israel, who only saw what God did—they were so fickle. You ever know any fickle Christians? They are the ones just infatuated with God. 

When God opened that superhighway through the Red Sea, they went through the Red Sea. They got on the other side; and then, all that water tumbled in on the Egyptians. The Bible says? Exodus 15, They sang "The Song of Moses and the Lamb." They were leaping, and dancing, and praising God for what God had done. "What a mighty God we serve," they wanted to sing. 

Three days later—just three days later—they’re out in the wilderness with no water, and they're murmuring; they're complaining. They had been singing "The Song of Moses and the Lamb"; and now, they're criticizing Moses. Moses has gone from hero to zero in three days. 

I mean, there's not a greater leader than Moses. He brought us through the Red Sea. Then, they say, "What did you do? Brought us out in the wilderness to die? There's no water out here." They were so fickle. 

If you don't know God intimately, you'll not be a stable Christian. You'll be just like Israel was. You'll blow hot and blow cold. "Good Lord; good devil. Sometimes I'm up; sometimes I down." Why? Because all you see is the works of God. You don't know the ways of God. You don't know the heart and mind of God. You don't know God intimately, so you blow hot and blow cold. 

No stability, all they see are the works of God. They don't know the ways of God. He'd made known His acts unto the children, His ways unto Moses; we need, in our lives, stability. 

There were those who followed the Lord Jesus when they saw His works. It's an interesting thing; Keep your place there, in Exodus 13, and turn with me to John 2, and look with me in verse 23. See if this doesn't remind you of a lot of folks that you know of, right now: "Now when he was in Jerusalem..."—this is speaking of Jesus—"when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name"—now notice—"when they saw the miracles which he did." You see that? What was that miracle that He did? He just turned water into wine. They saw His works. "Man," they said, "I like that. Did you see what He did? He turned water into wine. Sign me up. I want to be a part of it." 

But, notice in verse 24: "But Jesus did not commit himself unto them,"—the word commit, in verse 24, and the word believe, in verse 23, in the Greek language, are the same word. They believed in Jesus, but Jesus didn't believe in them—"because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man" (John 2:23-25). 

Jesus knew these were just miracle mongers. Jesus knew that they didn't know His ways. All they saw were His works. They saw the miracles that He did; that's all they saw. They didn't see the crucifixion. They didn't see the coming cross. 

You go on a few chapters in John 5, 6—where Jesus fed 5,000. Oh boy, the crowds were following Him! But, when He talked to them about the deeper spiritual things like eating His flesh, and drinking His blood, and all of that—they left. Jesus had to say to His disciples, "Will you also go away? (John 6:67). Fickleness, no stability. 

If all you do is to the see the works of God, when everything is fine, the sun is shining, and all of that, you'll be marching in the parade. But, just let adversity come. Just let difficulty come. Let something come that you can't understand. You say, "God, why did You do this? How did You allow this? I'm going home to Mama." 

You know why you want to hotfoot it back to Egypt? You're fickle. You don't know God intimately. You can't stick it out. You see, to know God intimately is the way of tranquility. To know God intimately is the way of stability. 

Here's the third thing I want us to notice: to know God intimately—is the way of necessity. It's not just that you're going to get tranquility and stability. I mean, it is a necessity. Look, if you will, in verses 1, 2. Let's get the context of this whole story. 

Moses had gone up on Mt. Sinai, and up on Mt. Sinai, God was giving Moses the Ten Commandments and the plan for the tabernacle. Moses comes down from Mt. Sinai, and Moses' brother Aaron has collected golden earrings from all of the people, melted the gold, and made a golden calf like they worshiped in Egypt. And, the people, in a naked orgy—are dancing around an idol, a golden calf. 

God's wrath—God's anger—is burning against them, and Moses is frightened for his people. He knows that God has every right to eradicate them. Moses begins to stand in the gap. Moses begins to intercede. And, by the way, only a person who knows God intimately can be an intercessor. Moses begins to intercede; and, Moses says, "O God, don't do it! Don't destroy this people! O God! God, have mercy!" 

And, then, in answer to that prayer—look in Exodus 33:1, 2: "And the Lord said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou has brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will give it:"—he says, "All right, okay, then go on to Canaan"—"and I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:"—these are all the Canaanites. 

These were all demonically empowered people. And, God says, "I'm going to send an angel before you. This angel's going to clear out that bunch." And then, he says, in verse 3, "I'm going send you into"—"a land flowing with milk and honey:"—but notice this—"for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way" (Exodus 33:1-3). 

God says, "All right, you want the land; you want victory over the Canaanites; you want the Promised Land; you want somebody to provide for you and protect you. I'm going to send my chief angel. Angel, go with those folks. Take care of those Hivites, and those Jebusites, and Perizzites, and termites. Take care of them, drive them all out. Let those people go into that land. Let them have the milk. Let them have the honey. Let them have the corn, the wine, the oil, and pomegranates. Let them have it. 

But," God says, "I'm not going with you. You will go, but you won't have My presence." When Moses heard that, a chill went over him. Verse 15. Here's what Moses prays: "And he said unto him, If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.". "God, if You're not going, I'm not going. God, I don't want Canaan without You. I don't want the blessing without the Blesser. I don't want the victory without the Victor. I don't want the land without the Lord. God, if You're not going, I am not going." 

You see, to know God intimately means tranquility. To know God intimately means stability, but to know God is necessity. This is what it's all about; so many don't understand this. 

Learn and learn it well: You can have provision, and you can have protection, and still not have God's presence. That ought to frighten us. A lot of folks say, "Well, I'm saved. I'm going to Heaven. I don't want the intimate presence of God; after all, I'm saved." My question is “Are you?” 

You're just like this bunch here. "You mean, God, You're going to send an angel? I'm going to have victory all the way? You mean I'm going to have the land that flows with milk and honey? I'm going to know victory? Thank You, Lord." And, they would not have been bothered that God's presence was not with them. 

Let me tell you one of the most frightening things I can tell you, this morning: You can have provision, and you can have protection, without having the Lords presence. That's what this teaches

Don't just think that because you have the things you want, that you know God intimately. The Bible says, on another occasion concerning these Israelites, that God gave them the desire of their heart and "sent leanness into their soul" (Psalm 106:15). 

The problem with many of us is we're doing just fine. We live in a beautiful home. Our children are healthy. We've got a job. We're putting money in the bank. Our retirement looks good, and we're satisfied. May God have mercy upon us! 

Moses said, "I don't want Canaan, Lord, without You." We live in a prison of prosperity. And, we think, because we're there, that everything is fine.

Dr. Vance Havner said, and I quote "I'm often amused and amazed at the way we equate Christianity with success, popularity, and prosperity. We may not admit it, but we use the same old gauge the world uses, except we employ religious language. It would appear that gain is godliness with us, in spite of Paul's formula that godliness plus contentment equals prosperity." 

If you can be satisfied with the things of this world, if you have Canaan without the Lord’s presence; that's a very dangerous thing. Don't take prosperity; don't you take victory; don't you take a land flowing with milk and honey; don't take anything as a substitute for knowing God intimately. 

Moses said, "Hey, I don't want Canaan without You. I don't want an angel. I don't want victory. I don't want milk and honey. I want You, O God" (Exodus 33:15). 

God is not satisfied with you, and God is not finished with you, until your chief desire is God and God alone. To know God intimately brings tranquility; it brings stability. It is necessity to know God intimately. 

Well, how do you know God intimately? Obviously, you're not going to know God intimately by human reason. Can a man, by reason, find God? The answer is obviously no. How do you know God intimately? 

You know God intimately by direct dealing with God. This is why God kept bringing them into situations. Why did God bring them to the Red Sea? Why did God bring them to a place where there was no water? Why was God bringing them into this situation and into that situation? Why was God bringing them to difficulty? Why? So they'd have to deal with God. 

God is wanting you to come face-to-face with Him. You learn God by direct dealing with God, and God puts you in places where there's nowhere out but Him. When they came to the Red Sea, the only way they could turn was to God—to know to God intimately. 

I have to say this; You cannot know God by hearing sermons about knowing God. You cannot know God by reading books about knowing God. You can't know anybody that you don't spend time with. You see, to know Him is to love Him. To love Him is to trust Him. To trust Him is to obey Him. To obey Him is to be blessed. And, to be blessed is to be a blessing. And, it all begins with knowing Him. 

If all you see are the works of God, you're just infatuated with God. When the bad times come, like a scared rabbit, off you'll go. But, when you know God, when you know the ways of God, when you know the heart and mind of God, when God speaks to you face-to-face, as He spoke with Moses, that's to know God intimately. 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!