“Getting to know you,” was a show tune from the 1951 Rogers and Hammerstein musical The King and I. The first few lines go like this,
Getting to know you; Getting to know all about you. Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me. . .
It’s interesting for me when this song came to my thoughts today and was triggered by a phrase in Ezekiel over 80 times. The message was given to Ezekiel as he was chosen as a prophet to speak to the nation of Israel and to other nations during this time. Ezekiel was a very interesting prophet who was asked to do some very weird things to communicate God’s truth to the nations. The one I am thinking about involved Ezekiel being tied up and having to lay in the street for 390 days. He was then to turn over and do the same thing on his other side for 40 days. Pretty weird. What’s even more strange was that he was to cook his meals from dung of the cattle.
His prophesies focused on the consequences of Israel’s and Judah’s lack of obedience to the Lord. The phrase that is repeated over and over and over throughout the book is this, “Then you will know that I am the Lord.” God wanted His people to listen and obey what He wanted them to do. Unfortunately they didn’t listen and as a consequence they had to experience all kinds of negative impactful situations because of their rebellion. And for what purpose? So that the consequences might turn them back to knowing and following after the Lord. God wanted the nations of Israel and Judah and surrounding nations to get to know Him. It wasn’t to punish them or to put them down, but to know Him.
When one reads the Old Testament and especially the prophets, there is a lot of prophesy that is negative focusing on what God is going to do with those who are rebellious. I have in the past got the sense when reading these books of God’s harsh ways and kind of a judgmental approach to his people.
But when I stumbled on Ezekiel 33:11, it gave me a whole new insight into the character of God. “Say to them (the Israelites and those who are rebellious) ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?'” Here is the heart of God in the midst of judgment for wrongdoing. God desires all of us to get to know Him and to follow him and to obey him. He has no desire to disconnect from any of us, but that we would get to know Him. Unfortunately there are consequences in our personal and relational lives when we don’t get to know Him or follow His principles for our lives.
I am reminded of the passage that says, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11. On this journey today, I would urge you to “Get to know the Lord” and the plans he has for you personally and relationally to give you a future and a hope.