Tuesday, August 19, 2014


TODAY'S SPECIAL: Romans 11:25-36

TO CHEW ON: "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!" Romans 11:33

The verse above concludes what a footnote in my Bible calls "the longest extended theological argument in the New Testament (Romans 1:16-11:33)" - Wayne Grudem,  New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1568. It's as if Paul is throwing up his hands and saying—"With all I've just explained about God's ways, I've merely exposed the first layer of God's wisdom and knowledge...there's so much more to find!"

[The word unsearchable means just that — unsearchable. When we search for something we seek or look for it diligently, we investigate it and give it a critical and probing inquiry. God's unsearchable wisdom and knowledge cannot be plumbed even when we subject it to such extensive investigation.]

Other Bible writers bear out the unsearchableness of God's ways. There is mystery in every category.
  • In the reasons for evil:
In Job, the Bible book that wrestles most openly with the why and wherefore of evil, the conversants draw the conclusion that God's ways are unsearchable: Job 5:9; 11:7; 33:13; 37:23.

  • In nature and the whys and wherefores of life:
"...no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end," declares Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:11. See also Ecclesiastes 8:17

  • In God's extending of grace and mercy to people:
God expresses this mystery of grace to Moses when He says, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy" Exodus 33:19. He gives no reason for why He is merciful to some and not to others. And yet, when we look at our lives we see the fingerprints of His mercy and grace all over them. If you're having trouble recognizing them, read Psalm 107:1-43 for the myriad of ways God visits His grace on people.

Paul ends his musing about God's unsearchable ways with praise: "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever."

I feel the same way. I'm glad that the more we search to understand God and His dealings the more we find. I'm glad that the Bible can stand close inspection, in fact, flourishes under it opening up new treasure as we drill down.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You that You are bigger than our human minds can comprehend, and that Your plans and ways can withstand our closest scrutiny. Please help me to have faith where I don't understand You and Your ways. Amen.

MORE: Grace in story

The Watcher, a novel by Sara Davison has a character, David, who does some very bad things. He eventually gives his heart to Jesus but isn't completely honest regarding his past with his wife or the church he pastors. There comes a point in the story when that past comes back to bite him and he steels himself for the worst to happen. What does happen, as expressed through David's thoughts, is a great example of God's extravagant and undeservable grace:

"He had never forgotten how he'd felt that day in the cabin, like God was so real, and so present that he could reach out his hand and touch him. Kathryn had showed him God that day, in the midst of her own terror and pain. Then in prison, the darkest place he'd ever been, he'd come to him through Tiny and the boys. Now, in the face of his betrayal, the people of his church were revealing God to him once more. What have I ever done to deserve these gifts?

It's not what you've done; it's who you are. You are mine and I'll never let you go" - The Watcher, Kindle Location 5195 (emphasis mine).
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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