Published April 24, 2012

Paul's Epistle...
"God's Search Engine"

Have you googled today?

Online search engines amaze me. There's Yahoo and Bing, but Google remains the most amazing of them all, processing more than three billion search requests a day (that's 34,000 per second). I just googled "The Gospel Greats" and Google returned 342,000 relevant pages in 0.26 seconds. (No, I didn't check them all.) Amazing! Google, started in1998, has become so common so quickly that "google" is now in the dictionary as a generic verb: "to search for information in the internet..."

Can you even begin to imagine how much data is scanned daily — continuously — to compile such a search database that covers the entire internet? It's mind-boggling. In fact, Google's name is itself a play on the word "googol," a mathematical term for the number one followed by a hundred zeroes, which, as the Google website states, "reflects the company's mission to organize the immense amount of information available on the web."

I once came across a curious quotation from Alan Cohen, whose company, Airespace, provides wireless internet connections. Quoted in the New York Times, he said, "If I can operate Google, I can find anything. And with wireless, it means I will be able to find anything, anywhere, anytime. Which is why I say that Google, combined with [wireless], is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything. Throughout history, people connected to God without wires. Now, for many questions in the world, you ask Google, and increasingly, you can do it without wires, too."

Well, okay. That's an interesting thought. A little odd, perhaps. But interesting.

Come to think of it, context aside, there are some gems of truth there. God has the most efficient "search engine" of all — Himself. 2nd Chronicles 16:9 refers to "the eyes of the Lord [which] run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him..." And Zechariah 4:10 says, "They are the eyes of the Lord, which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth."

Interestingly, one commentator has noted that the Hebrew verb in the references above could be descriptive of a sort of divine search engine. God is constantly scanning the hearts of everyone in search of those who are truly loyal to Him. As a result of such divine scanning, Paul, writing to Timothy, could say, "The Lord knows those who are His." (2 Tim. 2:19.) And Paul elsewhere noted, "we are well-known to God..." (2 Corinthians 5:11.)

What does this mean to us? It means, simply, that God knows everything about us. Other people may misunderstand you, but God never will. There is nothing that God misunderstands - including you, your desires, your motives, your hopes, your thoughts, your ambitions and, yes, your relationship to Him. God is not like your parents, your spouse, your friends — all of whom might (and do) misunderstand you from time to time. God understands. He knows. To the Christian, what a comfort this is!

But the unsaved don't understand this. The Psalmist quotes the wicked as saying, "How does God know?" (Psalm 73:11.) In other words, how does God know what we're doing or thinking? "We can do whatever we want in secret!" But God does know. John, writing in Revelation 2:23, quotes the glorified Christ identifying Himself as "He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works." That's what the unsaved really don't want to hear. They prefer their deeds to remain hidden. But God's light will illuminate all. "For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7.)

Google searches the internet. God searches hearts. We also know this about God from Luke 16:15 (Christ's own words), Acts 15:8 and other Scriptures.

Google's search engine, as good as it is, is limited. God's is unlimited. God is, after all, omniscient. His "search engine database" includes every bit of information about literally everything and everyone - past, present and future. Every split second, God searches the hearts of everyone everywhere in the world — everyone! — to find "those whose heart is loyal to Him."

So here's today's point to ponder: What does God's "search engine" find as He scans you? And does that give you comfort? Or does it make you a bit ill-at-ease?

Our prayer should always be that of the Psalmist: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my thoughts; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24.)

- Paul

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