They Ought to Know Me
By Iverna Tompkins
Transcribed by Jane Vaughn
I want us to look at two scriptures for foundational purposes before I lead you to our main context for this message. The first scripture is from Job, chapter 37, verse 5: “God thundereth marvelously with His voice. Great things doeth He which we cannot comprehend.” Let’s read that again to really catch what God is saying to us. “God thundereth marvelously with His voice. Great things doeth He which we cannot comprehend.” We may not always understand everything He is saying at the moment, but He does speak! Marvelously!
The next verse is Isaiah 44:6. “Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his redeemer, the Lord of hosts” – that’s His title and Who He is. Many become more interested in what someone has to say when they know something about who that speaker is. “Thus saith the Lord, the King of Israel, and his redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last, and beside Me there is no God.”
We sing that in so many different ways – in different choruses. We sing it every way there is to sing it: “You’re the only One – there’s no One but You!” And yet, I don’t think, by and large, we honestly express the truth of that in our personal living levels. In other words, I’m not sure we’re really convinced of Who He actually is – or our lives would reflect it.
A few weeks ago, I had a vision. I have had probably, I don’t know, maybe a half dozen real (authentic) supernatural visions in my life. Vivid, undeniable visions. Before I tell you what it was I saw, I need to remind you that the Lord very often uses things that are familiar to us when He speaks through visions. When He gives us a picture of some truth, it’s often of something to which we personally can relate and then have more understanding.
My ministry logo is from Proverbs 28:1 – “The wicked flee when no man pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” That’s very important to me – lions and the lion of Judah. There is one room in my home we call the “Lions’ Den” – and I have lots of lions there – just to remind me of the powerful God we serve – and what He expects from us. There are pictures of lions on the walls and lion statuary and figurines standing in various places. I even wear lions often – jewelry, like pins and earrings. Lions truly mean something to me and have for many years.
Now, having prefaced my vision with that bit of information, I think that’s why the Lord used a lion in this vision – plus the fact that I had just seen (and if you don’t believe in Christians going to movies, just forgive me :-)) I had just seen the recent film taken from the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Now, if you think it’s a sin to go to the movie theater, it’s available on video and you can just rent it… :-) (No one like God’s people to know how to get around things… :-))
I was studying for and musing with the Lord – meditating if you will, whatever word fits your doctrine – I was waiting on the Lord for inspiration from Him for the message I should carry to the place where I was going to speak next. During my study and prayer time, I saw this huge lion. He was just enormous! I can’t emphasize that enough – the immensity of His size. He would have stretched clear across the platform of a big church and He was lying down, like you see many of the lion statues. They’re just lying down – looking.
As I looked at Him, I could see He was magnificent! He was simply grand! And then He turned His head – and looked down right at me. It’s so hard to describe exactly what I saw – but His head was just enormous. Of course, that should have been obvious because of the largeness of His body and the enormity of the whole scene. But it was just a massive head as He turned to face me. Are you interested in hearing this? :-) At all? :-) Oh good, because it was an awesome vision!
He opened His mouth and out of it came waves which I understood as a voice. As it came forth, I was so thrilled because of the few visions that I’ve had in my life. Each one of them has impacted me for years really, and in an on-going way. I was, simply put, excited! As I saw these waves coming out from Him, my mind (because I’ve got a crazy mind that goes in all directions) my mind was thinking of “the sound of many waters” (Rev.1:15) – “His voice is as the sound of many waters.” That’s precisely what I was thinking as these waves came forth. But I understood the words.
This is what He said: (forcefully, loudly, with great emotion, emphasis, stress, and authority) “They ought to know Me!” And then He turned His head back as He had been and looked straight ahead. I wish I had the vocabulary to explain the pathos (emotion of sorrow and sadness at tragedy) – the cry – the feeling – that came with those words. Only five words: “They ought to know Me.” But it was an extraordinary message.
The closest I can think of that was similar to what I was sensing from Him – must have been the way Jesus felt when He stood above the city of Jerusalem and cried in anguish: “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! How I would have gathered thee unto Myself as a mother hen gathers her chicks – but you wouldn’t have it!” (Mt.23:37; Lk.13:34,35). It was that kind of emotion! “They ought to know Me!” And that was all He said.
You know what it’s like to hear a word from God – I mean really hear Him speaking directly to you. Whether it is a prophetic word given in a meeting, or from the written word when you open the Bible and revelation just sort of jumps off the page and comes alive for you, or whether it be a dynamic sermon you’ve just heard – you know what that’s like: God has spoken and you know it! You hear it and have some understanding right at that moment, but then, because it is a seed planted, it grows and enlarges as you think upon what you have just heard. And then it just expands more as you continue to receive more and more understanding as Holy Spirit unfolds more details. That’s the way this vision was.
Now, I was preparing to travel and speak to a group where there would be many ministers – pastors – church leaders – and I thought: “They ought to know You, Lord? Lord, don’t the ministers know You?”
So, with that laid as a foundation let’s turn in our Bibles to Psalm 71. Have you ever heard the statement: “This is a clarion call?” I’ve even used that – I’ve said those words: “There was a clarion call.” And when I was thinking about this message for today, I believe the Lord said that that vision was a “clarion call.” And I thought – “What is a clarion call?” I mean, sometimes we just say things and we don’t have a clue what they really mean. :-)
Then, I began reviewing what I already knew. “Well, I know that a clarion is a trumpet – sort of – of some kind – but I couldn’t get away from the thought of exactly what the Lord might be getting at, so I conducted some research. What I discovered is that, indeed, a clarion is a trumpet, although much longer and thinner than what we usually picture used today in a modern band or orchestra. When you blow this trumpet – because of its unique shape – with the tube being quite narrow – it makes the tone more acute (or, sensitive, sharp, heightened, finely tuned, discriminating). It is a clear sound and it’s more than a simple trumpet blast. It is an absolute, acute sound – from heaven! And it commands attention. A clarion call: “They ought to know Me!”
Why? What was God saying that we need to pay sharp attention to?
If there ever was a time in the history of our lives (in this present generation), when we needed desperately to know Whom we serve, it is now. We talk about it – ministers do – when we get together. We talk about the fact that one of the greatest shortcomings common among so many Christians today (among too many Christians!) is that there’s a lack of the fear of the Lord. And I know that’s true. But, do you know why this lack exists? You can’t fear what you don’t know. If I didn’t know there was a robber already inside my bank, I would just blithely walk in to do my banking business – fear-less. Only when I saw the gun would I fear.
Oh, yes. I can just imagine some of your thoughts back to me and your questions: “We’re saved – and were baptized – and we declared our salvation (Rom.10:9.10) – and we do know Him. He is our Savior! Our healer! Our soon-coming King!” But that isn’t what He said, or meant, in the vision.
You see, you can’t really know me unless you live with me. Some people know me as one thing and some as another. If you go back far enough in my past, there would be people that would say, “Oh, yes. Iverna was a music leader.” Others would say, “Oh, she’s a fiery preacher.” Someone else would say, “No, she’s a teacher.” Another person would say, “She’s Judson Cornwall’s sister.” Still another would say, “She’s a friend of… so-and-so.” Each one knows some little things about me, but they don’t really know me. Not really. They haven’t lived with me day in and day out, rain or shine.
If false accusations were made about me to people who barely know me, they might be prone to believe them. People tend to believe just about anything that’s passed along as gossip. :-) But if you said to either of my children, or any of my grandchildren, “This is what Iverna did…” because they know me, their fast answer would be, “Not Mom.” Or, “Not Grammie. We know her. That’s not how she would handle that situation!” Can you grasp what I am saying? I hope I’m developing something in your mind. We fall so far short of truly knowing God. We’re full of information about Him, but do we intimately know Him?
That kind of “knowing” is going to be so necessary in the very near future. As we see the spreading of false religions in our own country, right where we live and work, and the many false gods that are being presented as valid and valuable – we will need to know our God. And Just watch what will happen in our nation, soon, “in the name of human rights” – that we all must accept these false religions and their gods as viable. Only the people who really know Who God is are going to be able to stand firm in these trying days. Only those who really know Him can honestly say with the Psalmist: “In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust. Let me never be put to confusion” (Ps.71:1).
Confusion is one of the projections from the enemy to the Church. When he can’t talk you out of what you have, or what you possess from God, he will endeavor to confuse you about it. He wants you to question God – to doubt Him. He certainly does not want you to trust Him! Paul reminds us that “God is not the author of confusion…” (1Cor.14:33). But the enemy will use any guile that works.
So many things that the news commentators are saying today are so liberal and biased – and against our God. If you listen to them, they sound very logical and so seemingly right. They say, “It’s not fair to judge people by their religion.” And, “It isn’t fair for us to demand that the only ones who get a tax break are those who serve the God we serve” (i.e. the IRS 501c3 tax exempt designation). We hear these things over and over until confusion begins to come into our minds and we conclude: “Well, I don’t really know what is right.” Dear God, help us to know You!
Our young people are especially vulnerable to these assaults. They are absolutely being indoctrinated in their schools today. They’re being told that basically they have to be accepting of everyone and everything – particularly how other people serve their gods in their own ways. And we must know that the Word of God is so anti to that stance! If we don’t shake ourselves soon, from our places of slumber and complacency, and come back to the boldness that the Holy Spirit puts within us – and begin to really know our God – we’re not going to know how to appropriately counter these pressing worldly influences!
The Psalmist says, “Deliver me in Thy righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Thine ear unto me, and save me” (Ps.71:2). There is a desperate desire to escape today. Now, I want you to understand that “escape” (here in the scripture) is not “run away.” What the cry of the psalmist is, I believe – and is my cry as well – “Deliver me from confusion!” Cause me to escape that, Lord, so we can honestly proclaim – as the New Testament does – “I know in Whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2Tim.1:12).
Where did that confidence go? What has happened to the Church? “Well, we just – we’re just trusting... We’re just…” You’re not trusting! You’re wishing! When we come to understand fully Who He is, then we can say, as verse 3 does in this Psalm: “Be Thou my strong habitation whereunto I may continually resort.” Oh! How important it is we find that place of trust! And run to Him!
There is an old song from my background: “On Christ, the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” We came through some tough things in days before this one – some very heavy kinds of testings and trials. And we learned that He is the Rock! We learned that when the winds blow and the floods come (cf.Isa.43:1-3), we need to be ON the Rock! It’s the only safe place to be! It’s not enough to just say (or sing), “You’re my Rock! You’re my Fortress! You’re my Deliverer! In You will I trust!” (see Psa.18 and 118). It’s not enough to say it – if you don’t DO it!
All the counseling done in churches – would cease – if we knew our God! All the whiny, competitive – “I’d go to that church, but I don’t like the color of the stairs!” :-) – would cease if we really knew God. We would walk into His Sanctuary, wherever it is, whatever color it is, with an awesome fear – that reverence that recognizes His greatness and righteousness, His holiness and sovereignty. “Oh my God, that Thy Presence may be here and be responded to by Your own people!” Every church, whether 20 people or 2000, is nothing without His Presence!
Go to Part 2