What does it mean to speak of God’s omniscience?
According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the prefix omni- comes from a Latin prefix omnis- which means “all” and -science also comes from the Latin word scientia which means “knowledge.” So, there you go – omniscience means “all-knowing.”
Essentially, we are describing the fact that God knows everything! He has never discovered anything new because He has always known everything. Someone once said,
“Has it occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?”
God never forgets anything because, from before the beginning of time through all of eternity, He always has known and always will know everything there is to know about everyone and everything. Our God is omniscient.
You won’t find the word omniscience in the Bible, but what you do find is that God tells us in various ways that He knows EVERYTHING about us.
This truth was magnified in my mind and heart recently when I read several verses that speak of specific things that God knows about us. Some of these things may be known by others, but most of them are known only between you and God.
What a special relationship God has designed for and desires to have with each one of His people! If you are a believer, then that’s you and me!
I know this list isn’t exhaustive in any way, because I know (and now you know) that God is omniscient (see what I did there…incorporating our big word in normal vocabulary). But let’s think of this list as a launching point into considering how convicting, challenging, and comforting it can be to realize what God says He knows about you and me!
1. My hair — Matthew 10:29-30
This is probably one of the first ones you thought of when I said that God knows things about us that others don’t. I am always amazed to read that God cares about the smallest of birds and even keeps track of how many hairs there are on my head and on yours. What a crazy math problem that is for my head! But that is our God demonstrating that He cares and knows about EVERY LITTLE THING in my life and yours.
2. My beginning — Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13-18
God’s omniscience is definitely seen in the creation of each life at conception. In fact, God told Jeremiah that He knew Jeremiah even BEFORE he was conceived. The Psalmist in Psalm 139 brilliantly describes how from the beginning of each life God was there and knows everything about each person that He has “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We have a wonderfully omniscient God!
3. My relationship with Him — Nahum 1:7, Romans 8:16-17, John 10:28
God knows every person who has chosen to trust Him. He knows where we stand in our relationship with Him. And He ministers to those He knows through the Holy Spirit Who witnesses with our spirit when we are His children. He not only knows us, but John 10:28 tells us that He protects those whom He knows are trusting in Him.
4. My name — Exodus 33:12, 17
These were the verses that struck me first about what God knows about me! God encourages Moses here that he should speak just what God had told him to speak because God knows everything about Moses and will lead him in the right way. God says twice in this passage that He knows Moses by name! God doesn’t see His people as a mass of believers working as a group to accomplish His purpose. He knows each and every one of us by name!
5. My heart — Jeremiah 17:9-10, 1 John 3:20, 1 Kings 8:39, Psalm 66:18, Matthew 5:8
This is a sobering thought – God knows my heart! He knows the innate wickedness of my heart (Jeremiah 17:9-10), and yet He says in 1 John 3:20, that He “is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” Solomon, in his prayer of dedication for the temple, affirmed this truth – “…for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men” (1 Kings 8:39b). God knows when we hold sin in our hearts causing our fellowship with Him to be broken. And He knows when we are seeking to have a pure heart in order to see Him. He knows our hearts!
6. My thoughts — Psalm 139:2b, Job 42:2, 2 Corinthians 10:5
Here is another sobering thought – God knows our thoughts! No thought has ever crossed the mind of a believer that has not been seen by God! Psalm 139:2b says it clearly – He understands “my thoughts afar off.” He doesn’t just know my thoughts, but He understands them! We might be afraid for other people to know all the things we are thinking at any given moment, but God already knows! Job knew this truth. He said that he knew “that no thought can be withholden from” God (Job 42:2). God knew our thoughts would be a battleground. That is why He admonishes us with 2 Corinthians 10:5 – “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” He knows our thoughts and wants to help us bring every single one into captivity in obedience to Him!
7. My worries — Matthew 6:25-34, 1 Peter 5:7
Do you realize that if God knows your thoughts, He also knows the thoughts that turn into worries? He taught His disciples and us about these worries in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34). He encourages us in that passage to rest in the fact that He knows what we need and will take care of us even more than He cares for the lilies of the field. He assures us that He knows and He cares. Peter said it this way – “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” He knows all about our worries!
8. My actions — Ecclesiastes 12:14, 2 Corinthians 5:9-10
Of course, if God knows the things that we think, it is obvious that He knows the things that we do too! At the close of the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon makes this truth very clear – “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” God cannot bring into judgment that which He does not know about. Everything we do, both in private and in public, is seen and known by an omniscient God. For believers, one day we will all stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ and be judged, not for our sins, but for our work for the Lord according to what sort it is. This is both encouraging to know that God knows everything that we do for Him, but it can also be convicting knowing that God knows when we have done those things for ourselves. God knows our actions!
9. My words — Psalm 139:4, Matthew 12:36
God’s omniscience doesn’t miss even a word that I speak. Psalm 139:4 says that “there is not a word in my tongue,” that God does not know. Matthew 12:36 admonishes us to think about the words that we speak because we will give an account of “every idle word” that we speak.
10. My way — Job 23:10, Psalm 23:4, Proverbs 16:9, Psalm 139:3
There are lots of verses that speak about God’s direction of our way which requires that He knows the way we take! Job affirmed this truth in the midst of his suffering – “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Psalm 23:4 encourages us that He knows when we walk through the valley and is right there with us. Proverbs 16:9 reminds us that we might make plans, but God knows our way and directs even our steps. The Psalmist tells us that He is personally acquainted with our way. He knows and directs our way!
11. My weakness — Psalm 103:14, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Psalm 103:14 is a verse I remind myself of often, because it reminds me that God knows how very weak I am – “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Knowing that God knows my weakness is not an excuse to wallow in it. It is just a blessing to know that He knows! God encouraged Paul in his weakness by giving Paul daily, sufficient grace to handle the weakness. God knows that when we recognize the weakness, we can rest in His strength!
12. My days — Psalm 90:12, James 4:14, Hebrews 9:27, Psalm 31:15a
Why does the Psalmist speak of numbering his days in Psalm 90:12? Because no man is assured of how many days he will spend on this earth. James speaks of life as a vapor. No one but God knows how many days we will live on this earth. Again this is a sobering thought when dealing with God’s omniscience. He has set an appointment with death, for believers and unbelievers alike. For a believer that should be comforting, but for an unbeliever that would incredibly unsettling. The Psalmist said that our times are in His hand (Psalm 31:15a). Our omniscient God knows our time on this earth!
All of these things, and many more I am sure, our God knows about us. I hope many of these things encourage you to draw closer to the One Who knows you better than anyone else ever has or ever will. Maybe you have been convicted in the realization that God knows you this intimately. Take that as His care and concern for you. Run to Him and make things right today! I believe God desires for His omniscience to be a comfort to our hearts because we can rest in the fact that He knows!
Which of these 12 spoke to you today? For me, it was the fourth, My name — "God doesn’t see His people as a mass of believers working as a group to accomplish His purpose. He knows each and every one of us by name!" God knows my name!
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