Knowledge or relationship?
Over the past few years I have been in conversations that centered on the importance of seeking after the knowledge of God. In these conversations, it became clear that seeking after God equaled the attainment of the knowledge of God and that there was “more.” In other words, the more you know, the more (in intimacy) you can and will grow. My question has become; “should knowledge of God be the goal and the intimacy with God the byproduct or should intimacy with God be the goal and knowledge of God the byproduct?” I find my answer when I look back to the beginning. On the sixth day of creation God made mankind in His own image and this creation of man was the pinnacle of all the things He had created, after all man was created in His very image.
B’resheet (Genesis) 1:26- 26 Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, in the likeness of ourselves; and let them rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the animals, and over all the earth, and over every crawling creature that crawls on the earth.”
God gave man the rule over all things and as God walked in the cool of the day He had a relationship with man that was close and/or intimate. I find it interesting to note that there was only one command in this relationship and it was to stay focused on the relationship.
B’resheet (Genesis) 2:16-17- 16 ADONAI, God, gave the person this order: “You may freely eat from every tree in the garden 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. You are not to eat from it, because on the day that you eat from it, it will become certain that you will die.”
Even though man had this command and a close and real and intimate relationship with God, it ended up not begin enough for him, because he wanted more. I believe that very much like we are today, mankind was not completely satisfied with the relationship because he reasoned that there was “more” and in his hunger for wanting “more,” he was ripe for the scheme of the serpent.
B’resheet (Genesis) 3:4-6- 4 The serpent said to the woman, “It is not true that you will surely die; 5 because God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it had a pleasing appearance and that the tree was desirable for making one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her; and he ate.
Mankind traded the intimacy of a relationship with the creator of the universe for the knowledge of the creator. We look at the first man and standing from the perspective of past millennia we scream “watch out!” But so many in the body of messiah do the same thing that original man did in the garden so long ago. We trade relationship for knowledge thinking “if we just knew more, than we could or would have a deeper relationship with God.” We do this when reading the Bible, in prayer, in community and we all “seek” after a “deeper” head knowledge all the while forsaking the intimate relationship that would give us all that we truly desire. This is why Yeshua told the Pharisees that the greatest commandment was to Love God with all they were; with all they had.
Mattityahu 22:37-40- 37 He told him, “`You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ 38 This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. 39 And a second is similar to it, `You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.”
What is it you are seeking, knowledge or relationship? I agree that knowledge of God and of the Bible is very important but knowledge in place of relationship bears no spiritual fruit. As I have been reminded recently; “even the demons believe”… Ya’akov (James) 2:19