"And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend ... And Moses said unto the LORD, 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 He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And he (Moses) said unto Him (God), If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." Exodus 33:11-15
In Exodus, Moses prayed, "Lord, show me now Thy way." And we read in Psalm 103:7 that his prayer was answered: "He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel." Notice, He made known His ways to Moses. He made known His acts, or His works, to the children of Israel. Moses knew God in a way the rest of the people didn't. The rest of the people saw the works of God, but Moses knew the ways of God. They knew about God, but Moses knew God intimately.
One of the great problems in today's churches is that 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.
To Know God Intimately Is the Way of Rest
God says He will provide rest to those who know Him intimately. Verse fourteen says, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest." Now if you only know God casually, 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.
The children of Israel were constantly frenetic, worried, and murmuring. They saw the works of God. They saw God do His miracles. They saw Him open the Red Sea, give manna in the wilderness, and provide water out of a rock. You'd think they would have had a heart full of rest, but they were constantly murmuring. They didn't know the ways of God. All they knew were the works of God. Listen to Hebrews 3:10: "Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known My ways. So I sware in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest."
There is nothing that will bring rest to your troubled soul like an intimate knowledge of God.
To Know God Intimately Is the Way of Stability
Knowing God also provides stability. Israel, who only saw what God did, was fickle. When God opened that forty-eight-lane superhighway through the Red Sea, they went through with towering walls of water on either side. They got to the other side, and all that water tumbled in on the Egyptians. Three days later — just three days later — they got out there in the wilderness and were murmuring. They were complaining! They wanted to go back to Egypt.
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 cold.
To Know God Intimately Is the Way of Necessity
Not only is knowing God a good thing; it is a necessity. While Moses was on Mt. Sinai, the people gave up on God and built an idol. God then told Moses He would send an angel in front of them and defeat their enemies (Exodus 33:1-2). But He added in verse three: "...I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way." He said He would send them. Boy, when Moses heard that, a chill went over him. And Moses replied, "God, if you're not going, I'm not going."
Learn this and learn it well. You can have provision and protection, and still not have God's presence. Now, that ought to frighten you. A lot of folks settle for eternal security. They say, "Well, I'm saved. I'm going to heaven. I don't want the intimate presence of God...." How sad — to know about God but never really know Him.
Moses knew God because he spoke to Him face to face. You won't know God merely by studying about Him. You will only know Him by communion with Him face to face. You cannot love a person until you know his ways, and you cannot know his ways until you spend time with him. That's what a quiet time is all about. You can't know God if you don't spend time with Him.