Acquaintance with God
by William Nicholson, 1862
"Acquaint yourself now with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto you." Job 22:21
The character of Job was misunderstood by his three friends. Eliphaz unjustly accuses him of guilt, verse 5, 6, and esteems his impiety to be the source of his sorrows. Though the exhortation in the text was not applicable, he not being an impious character — yet it is strictly applicable to the unregenerate, who are "without God in the world." "Acquaint yourself with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto you."
I. The Nature of Acquaintance With God.
"Acquaintance," implies not mere knowledge, but that intimacy and familiarity which exists between one friend and another. Psalm 55:15; 101:4.
1. It implies an affecting truth, namely, that lost sinners have no intimacy, no personal acquaintance with their Creator. They have lost his favor — lost his image — lost communion with him.
2. It implies a knowledge of his character. As the Creator and Governor of the universe, and as the Benefactor and Preserver of men. As the God of all grace.
3. The enjoyment of his favor. So as to say, "This is my Friend, my Portion." "This God is my God forever and ever!" etc. The Divine favor can only be enjoyed by the meditation of Christ, as will be shown shortly.
4. Supreme love to him. Whom have I in Heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!" Psalm 73:25-26
5. Constant fellowship with him. Even as a man has with his friend. "Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his son, Jesus Christ."
II. The Means of Acquaintance With God.
1. Enlightenment by the Spirit.
The Spirit reveals to the sinner, his enmity to God, and alienation from him. He also reveals the medium of his reconciliation to God, the death of Christ. The Spirit breaks down all opposition to God, destroys his carnality, and inclines the heart to God, Romans 8:7; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:6. The Spirit produces repentance unto life.
2. Faith in the sacrifice of Christ.
God cannot be approached through any other medium. The atonement of Christ cannot be dispensed with. John 14:6. Sin is the separator of God and man, Isaiah 59:2, and the atonement of Christ is the effectual reconciler, 2 Corinthians 5:21. There must be dependence on Christ alone, Romans 3:25, 26.
3. Believing prayer. Constant supplications to God through Christ will produce real and precious intimacy with him.
4. The constant cherishing of the Spirit's influences.
5. The study of God in his word, in his house, etc.
6. By frequent fellowship with Christians. In the house of mourning — in the time of trial, etc. You may learn much of God from them. You will see his love, his power, his care, his faithfulness, etc., in their experience.
III. The Season For Commencing Acquaintance With God.
1. The present time is the best. You are in health — have mental vigor — are free from cares and oppression, which may yet come upon you. Ecclesiastes 12:1, 2.
2. The present time is claimed by God himself. "Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
3. It is the only time of which you are certain. "Boast not yourself of tomorrow, for you do not know what a day will bring forth."
4. Acquaintance with him now will deliver you from doubt and dread as to your final state.
IV. The Happy Results of Acquaintance With God.
1. Peace. "Acquaint yourself now with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto you."
God is the God of peace, and all his people enjoy it. Christ, as the Prince of peace, left peace as a bequest to his disciples.
Peace with God — no condemnation.
Peace with conscience — no accusation.
Peace with the will of God — no murmuring, no resisting it.
2. Good. "Acquaint yourself now with him, and be at peace; thereby good shall come unto you."
The gifts and graces of the Spirit.
Divine support in every trial, etc. Heavenly good.
This will distinguish the people of God from the character and final state of the wicked.