“Apprehending God” – thoughts on chapter 4 of A.W. Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God”


“O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him” – Psalm 34:8.

Short post today – you see in a few hours I am getting together with some guys to start the Experiencing God study by Henry Blackaby and Claude King.  That study goes so well with this chapter in The Pursuit of God.

Tozer comments on the fact that there are so many verses telling us (challenging us – maybe even daring us?) to truly know God in our personal experience.  Phrases such as “taste and see” (Psalm 34:8), “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27), “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8) demonstrate that God can be, and wants to be, known by us.  He has created us with the faculties necessary to be able to know Him.

So why is it that so many Christ Followers so often do not have an ongoing, daily relationship with God?  Tozer states, “The answer is because of our chronic unbelief.  Faith enables our spiritual sense to function.  Where faith is defective the result will be inward insensibility and numbness toward spiritual things.  This is the condition of vast numbers of Christians today” (52).

Lot’s of people know things about God, but so few press on to actually know God.  We stand at a distance and study Him like a text book.  We add quips and quotes from Scripture into our repertoire of knowledge as if they were magnets to be put on a refrigerator instead of God’s Word that should shatter and rebuild our hearts.  We use truth like a toy for our own pleasure.  Tozer states:

The Christian is too sincere to play with ideas for their own sake.  He takes no pleasure in the mere spinning of gossamer webs for display.  All his beliefs are practical.  They are geared into his life.  By them he lives or dies, stands or falls for this world and for all time to come. (54)

But we get caught up too much in the immediate things that we see.  The things that clamor for our attention and scream for our affections.  And when we are faced with the possible silence where we just might be able to hear God speak, we quickly fill that time with another diversion.

The world of sense intrudes upon our attention day and night for the whole of our lifetime.  It is clamorous, insistent and self0demonstrating.  It does not appeal to our faith; it is here, assaulting our five sense, demanding to be accepted as real and final.  But sin has so clouded the lenses of our hearts that we cannot see that other reality, the City of God, shining around us.  The world of sense triumphs.  The visible becomes the enemy of the invisible; the temporal, of the eternal.  That is the curse inherited by every member of Adam’s tragic race. (56)

Tozer says that we must “seek to be other-worldly” (57).  All true reality is God’s reality.  It is His world, His kingdom, and His truth.  If we want to know God and not just know about God then we must accept that there is so much more than what we see.  Tozer also points out that we can’t just think of this in the future sense – the coming kingdom.  It is true that we will know God perfectly in heaven, but we can and must know Him now.  He has given us everything we need to be able to know Him and to truly live in daily relation to Him, but we have grown weak in our exercise of these abilities and must recover strength in these areas.

Tozer in this chapter with this prayer:

O God, quicken to life every power within me, that I may lay hold on eternal things.  Open my eyes that I may see; give me acute spiritual perception; enable me to taste Thee and know that Thou art good.  Make heaven more real to me than any earthly thing has ever been.  Amen.




photo by Flickr user Peter Nijenhuis

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