|Volume 19 Number 3 March 2017||
Man’s greatest goal in life should be acquiring a knowledge of God. This was to be a great achievement of Israel (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Indeed, man has the ability to know God (Romans 1:18-32), and he can even know of His everlasting power and divinity (Romans 1:18-20).
One of the many individual, infinite attributes of the divine, personal God we serve as Christians is His omniscience. By definition, omniscient means “having infinite knowledge; knowing all things.” Strong, in his Systematic Studies, wrote, “By which we mean God’s perfect and eternal knowledge of all things which are objects of knowledge, whether they are actual or possible, past, present, or future.” A.W. Tozer in his book, The Knowledge of the Holy, penned:
God perfectly knows Himself and, being the source and author of all things, it follows that He knows all that can be known. And this He knows instantly and with a fullness of perfection that includes every possible item of knowledge concerning everything that exists or could have existed anywhere in the universe at any time in the past or that may exist in the centuries or ages yet unborn. God knows instantly and effortlessly all matter and all matters, all mind and every mind, all spirit and all spirits, all beings and every being, all creaturehood and all creatures, every plurality and all pluralities, and every law, all relations, all causes, all thoughts, all mysteries, all enigmas, all feeling, all desires, every unuttered secret, all thrones and dominions, all personalities, all things visible and invisible in heaven and in earth, motion, space, time, life, death, good, evil, heaven, and hell” (62).
From these definitions it should be clear to all that God knows everything completely, perfectly, independently, simultaneously and innately. Thus, it is the case that: (1) the quantity of His knowledge is complete; (2) the quality of His knowledge is perfect; (3) the source of His knowledge is independent; (4) the time involved concerning His knowledge is innate.
As the Psalmist said, “Great is our Lord, and of great power; his understanding is infinite” (Psalm 146:5). “Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?” (Job 37:16). “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things” (1 John 3:20). The wise man wrote about the extent of God’s knowledge, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). “He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4).
The perfection of the knowledge of God can be seen in several areas. God knows all men and their works. He knows all the works of the inhabitants of earth (Psalm 33:13-15). Nothing is hidden from His eyes. “For I know the things that come unto your mind, every one of them” (Ephesians 11:5). Though He is invisible to us, we are not invisible to Him. Neither the darkness of the night, the closed curtains, nor the deepest dungeons can hide anyone from the eyes of omniscience! The trees of the Garden were not able to conceal Adam and Eve. No human eye saw Cain murder his brother, but his Maker witnessed his crime. Sarah, in the confines of her tent, thought she could laugh and not be heard, but God heard her. Achan stole what belonged to God and hid it in the floor of his tent, but God brought it to light. David went to much pains to cover up his sin, but not long after the All-Seeing God sent Nathan, the prophet, to say to him, “Thou are the man!” In addition, to all of us, writer and reader alike, the principle is applicable. “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).
On the day that Jesus taught parables from a boat to crowds on a Galilean shore, He, at evening, got into a boat with His disciples to cross to the other side. They were accompanied by other little boats (Mark 4:35-36). As they crossed, one of those notoriously sudden and violent storms arose on the Galilean Sea. It is called a “windstorm” in Mark 4:37 and Luke 8:23, but a “tempest” in Matthew 8:24 (NKJV). The word for tempest there is related to the word from which we get seismology. Seismologists measure earthquakes—monumental events. This would have been a monumental storm.
The disciples become afraid. Many of these had been professional fishermen (Mark 1:16-20), but the storm still scared them. The accounts give no more mention of the other ships or what happened to them, but for two millennium, followers of Christ have known what happened in this disciples’ boat.
The fearful disciples went to wake up Jesus. That’s right, they went to wake up Jesus. Many people cannot sleep through a storm on land—even when in a brick house with a solid foundation. Jesus was being tossed about by the sea, and He was sound asleep (Matthew 8:24; Mark 4:38). He had apparently fallen asleep during the journey, probably before the windstorm struck (Luke 8:23). It is incomprehensible how He could have slept. Waves were beating into the boat (Mark 4:37). “They were filling with water, and were in jeopardy” (Luke 8:23). Yet, “He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow” (Mark 4:38). Remember, this Son of Man had no usual place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20). He just had to rest wherever He happened to be.
It is still difficult to imagine Him asleep. Some have suggested the stern would have been higher than the sides of the ship in the middle where the waves would have first beaten into the vessel. Perhaps the Lord thus stayed dry. Perhaps, though, just perhaps, His restfulness can be attributed to two factors—two factors in which He was the only being to have them intertwined.
Jesus was fully human on earth, taking upon Himself the form of a man (Philippians 2:5-8). The demands upon Him as the Master Teacher must have been overwhelming. He taught the multitudes on a mount (Matthew 5-7). He healed—sometimes on individual occasions and sometimes, even after a day’s activity—many in the crowds who relentlessly came (Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 1:32-34). He dealt with lepers and demons, the lame, the blind and the deaf. Sometimes, He tried to escape for prayer, but the crowds caught up with Him (Mark 1:35-39). In His humanity, He must have been well beyond the point of total physical exhaustion.
Then, He was Divine. He had created the laws of nature (Colossians 1:16-17; John 1:1-3). He knew how they worked. He also knew when, exactly, it would be time for Him to leave this earth. He knew when His hour had not yet come (John 2:4; 7:6-7). He knew when His hour had come (John 12:27; 17:1). He would have known that He would not perish in this storm.
Yet, the disciples were afraid. They urgently entreated Him, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” (Matthew 8:25). He rebuked them for their little faith (Matthew 8:26; Mark 4:40; Luke 8:25). Did they not realize they were with the Master who could speak to the winds and have them stop, and to the sea and have it—inexplicably, miraculously, superseding the laws of nature—be immediately calm? “Peace, be still!” (Mark 4:39).
We serve the Son of Man who knows humanity’s frailty and temptations (Hebrews 2:17-18). We serve the Son of God who has the power to calm every heart in every storm. He may not take away our storms, but He provides sufficient grace (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).