A familiar but not necessarily reverent American expression says, “God knows.” Sometimes it’s an oath, like, “God knows I’ve tried to convince him to stop.” Other times it’s a measure of the depths of love, like in the Beach Boys’ line, “God only knows what I’d be without you.”
There’s another line in the book of Exodus about the plight of the children of Israel in Egypt:
And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. (Ex. 2:24-25)
Other translations add an object for God’s knowledge: “God was concerned about them” (NIV). But the ESV translates the original well—there is no object. God heard the people, remembered his covenant, saw his people, and then God simply “knew.”
It’s one thing to talk about God’s knowledge apart from everything else. It’s an entirely different matter when you think of it in relation to our sorrows and trials.
God’s omniscience is amazing. He knows everything we’ve done. He knows the cure for cancer. He knows quantum physics. He knows everything that has happened and everything that will happen. He knows how many hairs are on your head. But that knowledge isn’t cold and impersonal. It follows you personally. He is hearing you, seeing you, remembering you.
When he met Nathanael for the first time, he said, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” When Nathanael asked, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you” (John 1:47-48). We don’t know what Nathanael was doing under the fig tree; it must have been pretty significant. Jesus’ saying he saw Nathanael under the fig tree was the same as saying he knew Nathanael’s very heart.
A rich young ruler came to Jesus asking for the secret of eternal life. Jesus told him to keep the commandments. He told Jesus he had been doing that from his youth. Then Jesus said, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). Jesus said this because he knew the man worshiped his riches. The man went away full of sorrow.
God knows you personally and intimately. Realizing that can have a polarizing effect on you. You can be like Nathanael and run to God, or you can be like the Rich Young Ruler and run away from him.
It does no good to run from God. Why would you do that? Who better to care for us than the Father who made us, knows us and loves us?