[B]ut the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits (Daniel 11:32b).
Three ideas are contained in this passage. There is the thought of knowing God, being strong, and doing exploits. God’s people are characterized by what they know, what they are, and what they do. Christians are to be set apart from the rest of the world in these three respects — in the matter of knowing, being, and doing.
Notice that these three characteristics of the believer are related, for only as we know God can we be strong, and only as we are strong can we attempt to do great things in the name of God. Conversely, if we are not doing exploits for God, it is because we are not strong, and if we are not strong, it is because we do not know the Lord well enough!
FIRST, WE MUST KNOW GOD. It is not enough to simply know about Him. It is entirely possible for one to know much about God, His nature and His attributes, and yet not to know Him personally. Sadly, so many people today have a mere academic knowledge of the Lord. Of course, we can only come to know God through the Lord Jesus Christ, Who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). In the Lord’s high-priestly prayer in John 17, He said, “And this is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
This is the initial sense in which we come to know God through through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior; but we must go on to know Him progressively and intimately, as the apostle Paul described in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Paul wanted to know better His Person, His power, and His passion.
All of us should ask ourselves, “Do I know Him? How well do I know Him?” The measure of our knowing will determine the measure of our being… and our doing!
SECOND, KNOWING GOD WILL MAKE US STRONG. That is true, and the more that we know Him the stronger we will be! We will be stronger morally, as Daniel was when he was cast into the den of lions because he refused to stop praying to His God (Daniel 6); and as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were when they were cast into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow to a false god (Daniel 3). We will be strong spiritually, because we are reminded in Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
Therefore, as we know God, we become strong — stronger in our trust in Him; stronger in our ability to resist and overcome temptation and evil; and stronger in our ability to be a source of strength to others. And when we are strong, what happens?
THIRD, WHEN WE ARE STRONG WE SHALL DO EXPLOITS FOR GOD. An exploit is defined as “a heroic deed of achievement; a bold or daring feat.” The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who did exploits for God. Think about Gideon and his small band of 300 men (Judges 7); of Samson (Judges 14); of David and his encounter with Goliath (I Samuel 17); of Elijah on Mt. Carmel (I Kings 18); and see God’s picture gallery of the great heroes of faith (Hebrews 11). Think also of the apostles of our Lord and the early Christians, “Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 15:26), who were spoken of in these terms, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6). If we truly know the Lord and are thereby made strong by Him, we shall do exploits, and our God will get the glory. Knowing… being… then doing!