24 July 2023

Paradise will be regained: How do we share knowledge of God?

Major Melvyn Knott

Knowledge of the Lord leads to a journey of discovery, writes Major Melvyn Knott.

Key texts

There is something about the past that attracts people. Deep in human hearts is a need to remember certain experiences from times gone by. Perhaps it’s the hope of recapturing a special moment. We celebrate anniversaries and birthdays, not only because they are important milestones but also because, perhaps, in those moments of celebration, we can remember how life used to be.

As Christians, we have an image of a pleasure that we have not experienced – and no longer exists – called Eden. This was a place where life was so different than anything we know. It was a life without guilt, animosity or hatred, a life that was experienced in a place full of the knowledge of the Lord. This was where Adam and Eve knew God, acknowledged him as Lord and dutifully fulfilled their responsibilities as stewards of his creation. That was until, in eating of forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, our first parents decisively shaped all humankind’s destiny.

Isaiah proclaims God’s message of hope for a future when his people will know his life-changing presence: ‘They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’ (v9).

What a different world that is from ours. What a wonderful picture those words present. Isaiah tells us it will become a reality. He speaks of God’s plan: ‘A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit’ (v1). This branch will change the old nature of that tree and with it will bring a new age filled with the knowledge of God.

Jesus was to be that new branch on whom ‘the Spirit of the Lord will rest’ and fill his whole being with ‘wisdom … understanding … counsel … might … knowledge and fear of the Lord’ (v2). It makes sense that God’s Son would be filled with his Spirit. Jesus knew how to live in the knowledge of God. Such knowledge was born not only in his heart but also in the hearts of all who would follow him.

An illustration shows a tree with orange-coloured fruit growing on it.

Isaiah 11:9

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Read Isaiah 11

Today, we can be so easily captivated by the special gifts of certain individuals. Christians, however, are called to keep their eyes on God and to invite the Holy Spirit to direct their thoughts and decisions in order to live in the knowledge of God.

Peter references images from Isaiah, when he writes: ‘But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new Heaven and a new Earth, where righteousness dwells’ (2 Peter 3:13).

Pause and reflect

  • How do you respond when you see the daily news headlines?
  • What helps you to keep everything in proper perspective?
  • Remember that God is in control and we need to cling to his promises.

Humans have amassed a vast amount of knowledge and created all kinds of new technologies. None of them, however, has led to world peace.

When filled with the knowledge of God, a person realises that harmony with God, and all creation alongside, shows the righteousness and peace that are closely linked in God’s plan for his people.

In verse 9 of our study passage, the picture that the prophet paints of the waters covering the sea depicts the entire Earth being filled with the knowledge of God. The imagery expresses a time when – and a place where – there will exist a supreme knowledge of God, who is the source of all life and truth, through an authentic, relational and collective experience of him. It will be a time when God – and the knowledge of him – will be all-pervasive.

The key to a robust Christian life is to know that the source and purpose of our lives come from the Holy Spirit living in us. We can have confidence that Jesus, who was full of the knowledge of the Lord, made wise decisions in tough times and so can enable us to live out the same lifestyle.

Pause and reflect

  • How does our understanding of God differ from the world’s understanding?

If we recognise the picture the prophet Isaiah is painting, then we begin to see what God wants for our lives and for his world. What Isaiah is talking about is what Jesus calls the Kingdom of God. Among other things, it will be a time when humanity understands the existence, plans and claims of God. In the Kingdom, people will be willing to allow him to control their lives, producing widespread peace. Since these things are intended to give knowledge of God, then in such a perfect world, the knowledge of God will fill the Earth as the waters fill the sea.

As Christians, we are not expected to keep the knowledge of God to ourselves. As we grow in this knowledge, we are to share it with others, so that they, too, can come to know him. The testimony of many believers is that their knowledge of God came as a result of somebody sharing their experience of God with them. As Jesus – ‘the Root of Jesse’ (v10) – shared the knowledge of God, we, too, should share our knowledge of him.

Pause and reflect

  • Do we have the confidence to believe that a day is coming when the glory of the Lord will cover the Earth as the waters cover the sea?
  • What difference would a deeper knowledge of God mean to you?

Bible study by

Photo of Melvyn Knott.

Major Melvyn Knott

Retired Officer, Bolton

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