READ: Zechariah 7, Acts 1-2, 1 John 3
NOT FOR YOU TO KNOW
Followers of Jesus love His promise of empowerment. Facing overwhelming odds with underwhelming strength, we cling to the lifeline of God’s promised power: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). We are well versed with the purpose of power-bearing witness to the glory of God among every ethno-linguistic people. We are not so well acquainted with the preposition on the front end of the sentence: But. But what? “It is not for you to know the times and the seasons BUT it is for you to receive power to be my witnesses” (vv. 7-8, emphasis added). We are not to know–we are to receive power.
We are prone to preoccupation with knowing. We want to know what season we are in. We want to know how our ministry is being received. We want to know that we are significant. We want to know that our labor matters. We want to know that we are filled with the Holy Spirit. We want to know that we are bearing fruit. We want to know what God is doing. We want to know when God will fulfill His promises and complete all things. There are many good things to know, and Jesus gently reminds us that the point is not our knowing but our empowering. Jesus asks us to lay aside our hunger for knowing and to concentrate on receiving power and disseminating witness. It is for Jesus to do the knowing; it is for us to do the obeying.
First John 3:19-20 tells us that a great God who assures our hearts takes care of the knowing: “By this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him, for if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” It is not for us to know what God is doing, when He does it, how and why. Any insight there is a bonus. God knows all things and that is enough for us. Our role is not to be the knower, our role is to be the obeyer, the believer, and the lover (vv. 22-23). When we obey, believe, and love, our hearts are aligned with God and He grabs us and keeps us in His purposes. We find our fulfillment in empowered obedience, not in unlimited understanding.
In God’s great wisdom it is often better for us not to know what season we are in and what fruit we bear. This is not mean or controlling on the part of the Omniscient; this is love and grace. Knowledge is often more pain than power. As we allow God to bear the burden of knowledge, we can bear His glory to where it has not yet been (Zech. 6:13). Our goal is not sowing, it is not reaping, it is not fruit. Our goal is obedience. God’s goal is harvested fruit. He knows how our obedience will contribute to His fruitful harvest. That is enough for Him and it needs to be enough for us. We need to embrace the gift of not knowing.