In 2017, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy declared that the US had a loneliness epidemic. Even before the COVID-19 shutdowns and the proliferation of shelter-in-place and work-at-home arrangements, we were recognizing our need for meaningful relationships.
It’s not surprising, really. God created us with a heart for community – close association or intimacy - because we are created in His image.
We have done many things in our culture to put our need for connection at risk. Many have written volumes on this topic. Without denying or discounting the reality of physiological issues causing depression or other mental illnesses that might result in loneliness, I suggest that the top reason we are lonely is that we seek a connection that no human can fulfill.
No matter how many people we have in our lives and how close we might feel to them, we need intimacy with our Creator because He is an intimate God, and this is one of His many worship-worthy attributes.
In English, we use the word intimate to describe friendship, romantic relationships, or our knowledge of a particular subject.
Let's look at God's intimate nature and desire to have a personal relationship with us for a few minutes.
The Beginning of God’s Intimacy
That God is intimate in His foundational character is shown from the beginning of Scripture when Moses writes that God (Elohim, plural) created (singular) the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). He goes on to say that the Spirit of God was hovering (Genesis 1:2). John tells us in John 1:1 that the Word (Jesus, the Son) was there, in the beginning, creating. They are very close. So close that they are actually three persons in one.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always working in unison, while each person of the Trinity has His own role. Explainable in any human’s understanding? I think not. Yet that relationship displays intimacy as a trait of Almighty God.
God's Life and Breath
We don’t have to go much farther into the creation narrative to see another demonstration of God’s intimate nature.
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
Have you ever had to give someone mouth-to-mouth resuscitation? It requires very close contact.
Yahweh Elohim (LORD God) formed man and gave man His breath. Not only is man made in God’s image, He breathes God’s breath.
God's Intimate Knowledge
Going back to Webster’s definition of an association with familiarity, we realize that type of relationship requires knowledge of the one we're in association with. We’ll never find someone more acquainted with our ins, outs, strengths, and weaknesses than God.
God Knows All
The Word of God is full of descriptions of God’s knowledge.
- His understanding has no limit - Psalm 147:5
- He is perfect in knowledge. Job 37:16
- He calls the stars by name. Psalm 147:4
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! Romans 11:33 (NASB)
God's intimate knowledge of all creation is beyond our understanding. That is what makes his deep knowledge of us so meaningful.
God Knows You
If you are married or have a very good friend, you can remember when you would (and, hopefully, still do) talk for hours learning about each other. Take a moment to meditate on the fact that God knows you better than anyone and does not need a conversation, website, blog, or social profile to get any of the facts.
Take time to read just a few passages about God's knowledge of each person.
- He knows your name – John 10:3
- He knows the hairs on your head - Matthew 10:30
- He knows what you need – Matthew 6:8, Matthew 6:32
- He knows your heart – Psalm 44:21; Acts 15:8
- He knows you’re frail – Psalm 103:14
Have you ever had a relationship with someone that started well, but the more you learned about them, the less you desired to know them? When I think about all that God knows about me, I praise Him that He invites me into a relationship with Him through Christ ANYWAY!
God Wants You to Know Him
God began making Himself known from the very beginning. After creating the world, He created humans and told them His plan for them. He wanted them to know Him, the one whose image they bore (Genesis 1:27-30, 2:15-17, 2:24).
A Constant Pursuit
Even after they had failed, He revealed Himself further by providing covering and sharing His plan for redemption (Genesis 3:15, 3:21).
God spoke often “at many times and in many ways” (Hebrews 1:1), ultimately sending His Son to display His desire for us to know Him more intimately. God Himself walked among us, sharing God’s message in person.
God’s knowledge is complete about every person, and His invitation for each person to know Him has always been for everyone. However, the most complete intimacy with God requires a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus proclaimed that He is the Way (John 14:6). Ultimately, that means the way to intimacy with God forever.
In our sinful human nature, we are unable to come before God because He is holy. He is set apart in every way. But God desired for us to glorify Him and enjoy community with Him. As promised in Genesis 3:15, He sent Jesus to bear the punishment for our sin (Hebrews 9:28) so we could become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Then God provided His Holy Spirit to indwell those who follow Christ by faith so that we have constant community with God (John 14:16-17).
In addition to revealing His character, Jesus encouraged His disciples that His sheep – those in His flock – know Him (John 10:14, 27, 38).
The Bible is all about God and His plan. Here are just a few things that God wants His people to know and a few supporting verses:
- He is the one, true God – Deuteronomy 4:35
- Creation declares His identity and character - Psalm 19:1-2; Romans 1:20
- His name – Isaiah 52:6; John 10:3
- His character – Jeremiah 9:23-24; Hosea 6:6; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 103
- The way we should go – Psalm 32:8
- How He feels about us – Psalm 147:11; Psalm 103:17; John 3:16
- What is most important to Him – Hebrews 11:6; Micah 6:8; James 1:5-8
- When you seek Him, He will respond – Deuteronomy 4:29; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7
I don't know about you, but the more I learn about God, the more I love Him and desire to obey Him. The better I know Him, the more I recognize His greatness and worth. Increased intimacy with the one who knows me best makes me want to know Him more.
I praise God that He has always planned for us to have a knowledge of Him that results in Christ-likeness because “what brings Him glory will bring us lasting joy and satisfaction.”[i]
Being in right relationship with God is the start of meaningful relationships with others, ultimately reducing loneliness.
PRAYER: O Great Creator and Sovereign God. We praise you that you know us so intimately and yet have lavished your love and grace on us despite it. We praise you for the gift of your Son and His great sacrifice so we can have a close relationship with you! And we thank you for wanting us to know you and giving us so much to know that is just a fraction of all you encompass. Please give us a craving for you and help us to be good stewards of our opportunities to know you more.
What's one verse that you would have included that was crucial in your current understanding of who God is or what He is like?
What has helped you most develop a more intimate knowledge of God?
Or, if you desire a closer connection with Him, how can I help or encourage you to get started?
If you know someone who is lonely, won't you share this encouraging word with them?
[i] Alcorn, R. (2019). Face to Face with Jesus: Seeing Him as He Really Is (p. 35). Harvest House.