“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33)
Paul says this in the midst of a three or four chapter long discourse on the salvation of the Jewish people, where he struggles between God’s promise Israel is His chosen people, the surety of God’s promises, and the fact so many Jews had chosen to reject the Jewish messiah who brought us salvation.
To a degree, in this verse, Paul is lifting up his hands and praising God for a plan he indicates here that he doesn’t understand. From our vantage point, this is remarkable faith. Paul is an intellectual trained by a famous rabbi of his day, and, in our culture today, intellectuals are quite often tempted to walk away from faith when life doesn’t make rational, logical sense to them.
But Paul understands there is a greater reality that has different rules, that this reality has not been fully revealed to us. He chooses to embrace this mystery rather than dismiss or explain it. In 1 Cor 13:12, he says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (In this verse’s context, I understand that then references Heaven.)
We should also take note and heed–many false teachings arise from attempts to explain the mysteries and paradoxes of God, just as atheism’s intellectual root is a rejection of anything the person cannot fully know and grasp with the five physical senses. To keep our spiritual center, we must embrace the full revelation of God’s written word, but doing so also means humbly acknowledging the mysteries His word tells us will only be revealed when we at last meet our heavenly bridegroom face to face.
Lord, we confess we are curious creatures who impatiently long for full understanding. Please check us in our spirits when we are tempted to let our imaginations shine false light on your mysteries. Guard us from coming to false conclusions trying to reconcile your paradoxes, and from dismissing parts of who you are to satisfy our darkened understanding. Strengthen us today to search and know what has been revealed to us in the Bible, and to stand securely upon all of it and you, the Living word, as our firm foundation, still a solid rock in a world where even many in our churches are building their lives upon shifting sands. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
If you like my reviews, see: CSFF Tour: The Ale Boy’s Feast by Jeffrey Overstreet