Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.
We’ve come to the end of a very challenging section in Paul’s writing. Romans 9-11 contains difficult teaching. We can heartily agree with Peter when he says of Paul that “his letters contain some things that are hard to understand” (2 Peter 3:16). Amen!
How glad I am, then, that this hymn caps it all off! Rather than getting frustrated and confused with some of the concepts, rather than stumbling over the paradoxes (e.g. how do human responsibility and God’s sovereignty hold together?), rather than allowing doubt to take root, this hymn revels in the fact (indeed, positively exults!) that God’s ways are completely beyond us. No wonder we struggle with understanding. But such struggle is actually profound evidence of our need to praise him all the more.
This isn’t to say that we simply shut our eyes to theological difficulties and turn off our minds from delving into further understanding. Indeed, what Solomon said of kings in the ancient world, can be true of us also: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings” (Proverbs 25:2). We are to use our minds to seek clearer, fuller understanding.
But there will come a place on the journey where mental resources simply run out. We won’t be able to fully comprehend it all, nor adequately hold in balance each complex truth. It is then we are to break out in profound praise. “How unsearchable his judgements, and his paths beyond tracing out!”
His glory is still seen in what remains hidden. We know enough of his goodness and justice and compassion from what is revealed to trust him, indeed praise him, in the midst of what is yet veiled.
In it all, he is the source of all blessing and the destination of all praise. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. to him be the glory forever! Amen!”
O Lord, yes. I simply pray these verses again. To you be the glory. Amen.
Pray: Punctuate your day with this hymn of praise. Set an alert in your smart-phone reminding you to stop and pray it regularly this day. Revel in the wonder.