When hiking in unknown territory, a compass and map become vital tools for knowledge. With them, survival is certain by knowing location and your direction becomes clear.
The Bible is considered a map by many Jesus followers. Lately, I've been realizing that certain phases in Scriptures are used as a compass.
"So that" phrases are like arrows in that compass for me, showing the direction God points for the benefit of His followers. "So that" phrases show up often after commands God has given His people, clearly pointing toward the good benefits experienced when certain paths are chosen.
The Creator God wants His people live life in knowledge for their own good. He wants us to know Him, the Guide, so we have purpose. He wants us to believe His Word as a map through the mountains and valleys of life, so we are no longer lost. He wants us to understand that He exists, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. These directional tools are His recurring theme, giving insight and answers for hikers who seek to know their destiny.
Recently, I was given one of these "so that" pointers, showing God's reason for choosing His followers to be His witnesses. God declared it was a parental choice He made for the benefit of His children.
My path of study took me into Isaiah 43:10 where God declares "YOU are my witnesses, and the servant whom I have chosen...so that you may KNOW and BELIEVE ME and UNDERSTAND that I am He."
Throughout my trek as one of his followers, I was constantly taught that witnessing is a responsibility of every follower of Jesus Christ. We were to pass on the "gospel". I cannot recall if I was taught the benefit would be so that others know God, or if that was just the assumed reason. I may have just concluded it would benefit others to know Christ as their personal Savior.
I'm sure that I never realized God wanted me to be His witness for my own good.
Yet, here it is clearly explained. God declares that by honoring His command to be His witness, I benefit in three ways.
God commands me to be His witness, so that I may KNOW Him.
In my prayers, I've asked God to help me know Him better, but here, God responds to my prayer with this "so that" phrase. He points to witnessing of Him. "Talk about Me and you will know Me!". The more conversations where God is the subject, the more I learn His character. My words make my actions take the risk of trusting Him. I learn that when I talk about Him, I'm grasping the depth of love He gave me. Also, in conversations, I become more aware of His Presence. As I mention His character to others, my desire is to become more like Him. The more I talk about Him, the more acquainted I become with His ways. Witnessing is as if I've been asked to give a referral for Him, and as I speak of His qualities, I hold a better knowledge of Him.
God calls me to be His witness, so that I may BELIEVE Him.
God declares my witness will instill a more firm faith in me. Telling the story of Jesus and relating His promises reminds me of His love and presence in my life. As I see changes in my behavior because of the work He is doing, my trust in Him is solidified. My believing becomes more tangible. I begin to believe He will do even more than I ask or imagine. Speaking His name publicly and seeing Him work in me affirms my belief in Him. When my actions back my belief, I find Him faithful.
God calls me to be His witness, so that I may UNDERSTAND He is.
God declares my witness of Him will lead to understanding He is exactly who He says He is. I begin to understand the awesomeness of His work in this world and even how involved He is in the little details of my life. I begin to understand how He orchestrates encounters, meetings and other opportunities in my daily activities for me to talk about Him.
And now, I understand why.
"You are my Witnesses...
so that you may KNOW, BELIEVE, and UNDERSTAND I am He".
How are you doing?