“He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel.” Psalm 103:7
There are plenty of men and women in jail that know what the Bible says. In fact many can quote it even better than I, but my question is do they know Jesus Christ? That is exactly what I talked to them about last night. I read Psalm 103:7 to them and shared with them how the Children of Israel saw all the things God did for them but they didn’t know him. He provided them food from Heaven and water from a rock. During the day he placed a cloud over them, so they wouldn’t get too hot, and at night he provided fire for their warmth. I told the guys in jail it really was like taking care of a baby. God took care of all their needs and yet they never really came to know him. Instead they spent most of the time crying and complaining.
As far as Moses was concerned he was a different story. He asked God to show him his glory. God told him you couldn’t possibly live through that, but I will hide you in a rock and let you see my back as I pass by. It happened just as he said; and when God passed by, Moses came to know him in a new way. God revealed himself to Moses as “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness and truth; who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet he will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” God revealed his character to Moses and he began to learn his ways.
We looked in the Gospel of John and read where Jesus promised the disciples he would send another comforter. He said, “He abides with you and will be in you.” He told the disciples it was better for them that he went away because afterwards he and the Father would return to take up residence within them. He said, “This is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” As I read this I told them, eternal life is “Knowing” God not just knowing about him. This word knowing is the same word used in Genesis when it said, “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived…”
When you “Know” someone in this type of intimate way there will be fruit. God is looking to produce something in and through our lives. I told them “If my wife wanted to have my children it wouldn’t matter how much she wanted or tried to get pregnant it wouldn’t happen without me.” In the same way there is no amount of praying harder, studying more, or any other religious activity, that will produce the life God wants in our lives apart from him. He is the only one that can produce the life he wants for us, in us and through us. As we read in Romans 7 we must be joined to Christ in order to bear fruit for God. So we must “Know” him not just about him.
Of course there were many other scriptures and illustrations given, but ultimately the point is do we know God? After giving the guys an opportunity to ask questions or make comments I prayed for them and we ended our time together. As we were exiting the room several came up to me saying, “Thank you for coming.” Two of the men told me “That really helped, I needed that tonight.” That’s what makes it all worth while. To see the light come on in a few of them and to know they received something from the Word. As I walked down the hall to booking I passed several large cells full of guys. There are large windows facing the hall on either side, and just as I was about to turn the corner I heard “Louie, what are you doing?” I turned around and saw a young man that has been in and out of the jail many, many times in the last few years. He was smiling at me through the glass; so I waved at him and smiled back as I made my way down the hall to leave.
I don’t know why I didn’t end up in jail, or why God has chosen me to go there and speak to these guys; but I do know I would never have chosen it on my own. He saw fit to keep me from a life in prison and yet he has opened the doors for me to go in and out in order to be a light in a dark place. Tonight one of the guys told me he really got something out of what I shared; he said, “Because you’ve been there.” He’s right, I have lived a life of recklessness and now Christ lives his life in me for others. What an adventure life is when you know God and are joined to Christ who is our life!
Written by Louie