Human knowledge of God may be a purely intellectual phenomenon, as when one knows about God through observing the results of his actions, but God’s people know him in a personal way because of their relationship with him.
Knowledge of God through his actions
God acts in creation
Romans 1:20 (NASB95) — 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
See also Ps 19:1–4; Ac 14:17
Psalm 19:1–4 (NASB95) — 1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. 4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Acts 14:17 (NASB95) — 17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
God acts in judgment
Ezekiel 38:22–23 (NASB95) — 22 “With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone. 23 “I will magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, and make Myself known in the sight of many nations; and they will know that I am the Lord.” ’
See also Ex 7:5; Ex 14:4; Ps 83:9–18; Eze 6:13; Eze 39:6; Eze 39:23
Exodus 7:5 (NASB95) — 5 “The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.”
Exodus 14:4 (NASB95) — 4 “Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
Psalm 83:9–18 (NASB95) — 9 Deal with them as with Midian, As with Sisera and Jabin at the torrent of Kishon, 10 Who were destroyed at En-dor, Who became as dung for the ground. 11 Make their nobles like Oreb and Zeeb And all their princes like Zebah and Zalmunna, 12 Who said, “Let us possess for ourselves The pastures of God.” 13 O my God, make them like the whirling dust, Like chaff before the wind. 14 Like fire that burns the forest And like a flame that sets the mountains on fire, 15 So pursue them with Your tempest And terrify them with Your storm. 16 Fill their faces with dishonor, That they may seek Your name, O Lord. 17 Let them be ashamed and dismayed forever, And let them be humiliated and perish, 18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth.
Ezekiel 6:13 (NASB95) — 13 “Then you will know that I am the Lord, when their slain are among their idols around their altars, on every high hill, on all the tops of the mountains, under every green tree and under every leafy oak—the places where they offered soothing aroma to all their idols.
Ezekiel 39:6 (NASB95) — 6 “And I will send fire upon Magog and those who inhabit the coastlands in safety; and they will know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 39:23 (NASB95) — 23 “The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword.
God acts in saving his people
Isaiah 52:9–10 (NASB95) — 9 Break forth, shout joyfully together, You waste places of Jerusalem; For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. 10 The Lord has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God.
See also 1 Sa 17:46–47; Is 37:20; Is 49:26
1 Samuel 17:46–47 (NASB95) — 46 “This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.”
Isaiah 37:20 (NASB95) — 20 “Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God.”
Isaiah 49:26 (NASB95) — 26 “I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all flesh will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”
God’s people know him through his dealings with them
God delivers his people
Exodus 6:6–7 (NASB95) — 6 “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 ‘Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
See also Ex 10:2; Ex 16:6; Dt 4:32–35; Jos 3:10; Jos 4:23–24; 1 Ki 20:13; 1 Ki 20:28
Exodus 10:2 (NASB95) — 2 and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”
Exodus 16:6 (NASB95) — 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the sons of Israel, “At evening you will know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt;
Deuteronomy 4:32–35 (NASB95) — 32 “Indeed, ask now concerning the former days which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and inquire from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it? 33 “Has any people heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard it, and survived? 34 “Or has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? 35 “To you it was shown that you might know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him.
Joshua 3:10 (NASB95) — 10 Joshua said, “By this you shall know that the living God is among you, and that He will assuredly dispossess from before you the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Hivite, the Perizzite, the Girgashite, the Amorite, and the Jebusite.
Joshua 4:23–24 (NASB95) — 23 “For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the Lord your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; 24 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, so that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”
1 Kings 20:13 (NASB95) — 13 Now behold, a prophet approached Ahab king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will deliver them into your hand today, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ ”
1 Kings 20:28 (NASB95) — 28 Then a man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel and said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Because the Arameans have said, “The Lord is a god of the mountains, but He is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ ”
God provides and cares for his people
Exodus 16:8 (NASB95) — 8 Moses said, “This will happen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and bread to the full in the morning; for the Lord hears your grumblings which you grumble against Him. And what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the Lord.”
See also 1 Ki 8:56–60; Is 41:17–20; Is 45:4–6; Eze 37:26–28
1 Kings 8:56–60 (NASB95) — 56 “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant. 57 “May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us, 58 that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, which He commanded our fathers. 59 “And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day requires, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no one else.
Isaiah 41:17–20 (NASB95) — 17 “The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them. 18 “I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. 19 “I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress, 20 That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.
Isaiah 45:4–6 (NASB95) — 4 “For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me. 5 “I am the Lord, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me; 6 That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other,
Ezekiel 37:26–28 (NASB95) — 26 “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people. 28 “And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.” ’ ”
In giving them his law
Ezekiel 20:19–20 (NASB95) — 19 ‘I am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and observe them. 20 ‘Sanctify My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’
See also Ex 31:13; Eze 20:11–12
Exodus 31:13 (NASB95) — 13 “But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
Ezekiel 20:11–12 (NASB95) — 11 “I gave them My statutes and informed them of My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live. 12 “Also I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.
God judges and restores his people
Ezekiel 11:10–12 (NASB95) — 10 “You will fall by the sword. I will judge you to the border of Israel; so you shall know that I am the Lord. 11 “This city will not be a pot for you, nor will you be flesh in the midst of it, but I will judge you to the border of Israel. 12 “Thus you will know that I am the Lord; for you have not walked in My statutes nor have you executed My ordinances, but have acted according to the ordinances of the nations around you.” ’ ”
See also Nu 14:34; Je 24:5–7; Je 31:33–34; Eze 6:2–10; Eze 7:4; Eze 12:15–16; Eze 20:38; Eze 36:11; Eze 37:14
Numbers 14:34 (NASB95) — 34 ‘According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition.
Jeremiah 24:5–7 (NASB95) — 5 “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Like these good figs, so I will regard as good the captives of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans. 6 ‘For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. 7 ‘I will give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me with their whole heart.
Jeremiah 31:33–34 (NASB95) — 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Ezekiel 6:2–10 (NASB95) — 2 “Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them 3 and say, ‘Mountains of Israel, listen to the word of the Lord God! Thus says the Lord God to the mountains, the hills, the ravines and the valleys: “Behold, I Myself am going to bring a sword on you, and I will destroy your high places. 4 “So your altars will become desolate and your incense altars will be smashed; and I will make your slain fall in front of your idols. 5 “I will also lay the dead bodies of the sons of Israel in front of their idols; and I will scatter your bones around your altars. 6 “In all your dwellings, cities will become waste and the high places will be desolate, that your altars may become waste and desolate, your idols may be broken and brought to an end, your incense altars may be cut down, and your works may be blotted out. 7 “The slain will fall among you, and you will know that I am the Lord. 8 “However, I will leave a remnant, for you will have those who escaped the sword among the nations when you are scattered among the countries. 9 “Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations to which they will be carried captive, how I have been hurt by their adulterous hearts which turned away from Me, and by their eyes which played the harlot after their idols; and they will loathe themselves in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations. 10 “Then they will know that I am the Lord; I have not said in vain that I would inflict this disaster on them.” ’
Ezekiel 7:4 (NASB95) — 4 ‘For My eye will have no pity on you, nor will I spare you, but I will bring your ways upon you, and your abominations will be among you; then you will know that I am the Lord!’
Ezekiel 12:15–16 (NASB95) — 15 “So they will know that I am the Lord when I scatter them among the nations and spread them among the countries. 16 “But I will spare a few of them from the sword, the famine and the pestilence that they may tell all their abominations among the nations where they go, and may know that I am the Lord.”
Ezekiel 20:38 (NASB95) — 38 and I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 36:11 (NASB95) — 11 ‘I will multiply on you man and beast; and they will increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited as you were formerly and will treat you better than at the first. Thus you will know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 37:14 (NASB95) — 14 “I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the Lord, have spoken and done it,” declares the Lord.’ ”
Knowledge of God leads to confidence in him
Psalm 9:10 (NASB95) — 10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.
See also Ge 22:7–8; Job 19:25; Ps 18:2; Ps 37:25; Ps 71:5–6; Is 12:1–2; Da 11:32
Genesis 22:7–8 (NASB95) — 7 Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.
Job 19:25 (NASB95) — 25 “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
Psalm 18:2 (NASB95) — 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 37:25 (NASB95) — 25 I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread.
Psalm 71:5–6 (NASB95) — 5 For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my confidence from my youth. 6 By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb; My praise is continually of You.
Isaiah 12:1–2 (NASB95) — 1 Then you will say on that day, “I will give thanks to You, O Lord; For although You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, And You comfort me. 2 “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation.”
Daniel 11:32 (NASB95) — 32 “By smooth words he will turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant, but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.