Have you ever known something and then later learned what you knew to be incorrect? I think it is common to all of us. The phrase in verse 2 "that you may know" is regularly used in both the OT and NT. The purpose of this phrase in Scripture is to provide assurance. There are some things of which God wants us to be assured.
As God delivers the Israelites from Egypt, this phrase is used multiple times (Exodus 8:10, 22; 9:14, 29; 10:2; 11:7). God wants it known He is causing the events that ultimately lead to the Israelites being driven out of Egypt. He wants there to be no doubt who is responsible.
In these passages, God wants the following known: There is no one like the Lord our God; I am the LORD in the midst of the earth; There is none like me in all the earth; The earth is the LORD's; I am the LORD; The LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.
In the Gospels, Jesus uses this phrase, so people will know He has the authority to forgive sin. (Matthew 9:6, Mark 2:10, Luke 5:24). He also uses this phrase to assure us He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. (John 10:38)
LORD God, in a continually changing world, I find the assurance of Your Word a great comfort. Thank You for letting me know You are not only in control, but You are loving, gracious and kind. Jesus, thank You for the assurance of the forgiveness of my guilt.
"'Lord, will those who are saved be few?' And he said to them 'Strive to enter through the narrow door.'"
The word "strive" in Jesus' answer is not a word commonly used today. The NLT uses "work hard" to interpret the Greek word agonizomai. It is easy to see agonize comes from this Greek word. This word is also translated as, make every effort, do everything possible and strain oneself. It is not common to hear or speak about salvation in such a manner yet Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling in Philippians 2:12.
Jesus says something very similar in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."
Is it possible 21st century Christians take salvation for granted? For fear of being accused of legalism, do we diminish Jesus' instruction to strive, to agonize? Do we dismiss His statement that the "way is hard that leads to life"?
Jesus, I do not want to minimize Your instruction in any way. Please quickly convict me when I do. I want to be continuously preaching the Gospel to myself. It is not Your Good News if I am changing Your instruction.
PS: When you read 1 Corinthians 14:12, notice the command to strive in building up the church if you desire to see displays of the Spirit.
How much effort would Carol and I exert if we believed there was significant treasure hidden on our place? Would you volunteer to help if you thought that to be true? Job paints a vivid picture of what man is willing to do to extract precious minerals from the earth. Then in verse 12, he throws us a curve. What effort will a man make to find true wisdom and understanding? He says it is more valuable than all the precious material mined from the earth but who knows where to find it? God alone knows true wisdom and knowledge, and He tells us where to begin our search: "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding."
For those of you who are faithfully reading the Bible this year, I pray the LORD God would reward your diligent effort to know Him and His instruction. Father, please bless them with the real treasure of life. Bless them with eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You sent.