In acceptance of God’s will, there is peace. And if we accept the sovereign God and worship Him, He carries us along despite all of the mysteries.
“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
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Transcript: Hi, welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you have joined us again as we continue our study of the attributes of God. And today, the attribute we are thinking about and meditating upon is the unsearchability of God, and His ways are inscrutable.
The passage of Scripture comes to us from the eleventh chapter of Romans, verse 33: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” And then it goes on to say that God has never needed any counselors, and it says, “For from him, through him, and to him are all things. To him be glory forever and ever.”
Now, when you look at this passage, the eleventh chapter of Romans, you have to ask yourself the question, what’s the context? Why this wonderful doxology here? In order to understand it better, you have to go back to chapter 9, 10, and 11, obviously. And there you will discover that Paul has been talking about the absolute sovereignty of God, not just God’s sovereignty over creation, but His sovereignty over people. I mean, there are passages of Scripture there that have been discussed and debated for centuries.
For example, in the ninth chapter, he talks about the fact that God is the Potter and we are the clay, and God has a right to make vessels unto honor and unto dishonor. “How then does He yet find fault,” the apostle Paul asks—because that’s the natural question that is going to come to mind. And what does Paul say? “Who are you to answer to God?” In other words, Paul is saying when it comes to those issues you have to keep your mouth closed, because we cannot understand God’s inscrutable ways. Wow.
I was thinking about this recently because my daughter Lori, our oldest daughter, sent me an email the other day. And she said, “Dad, does God ever have a council—a divine council?” She was basing her question on Psalm 82, where it says “the Lord meets among the gods in the Divine Council.” And I’m going to read the reply that I wrote, a paragraph of the email that I sent back to her. First of all, number one. God does not convene a council where decisions are made or with input from others. This, of course, is clear in the very passage that we’re studying today. No angel, no human has input into His decisions. All decisions were made by the Trinity.
And number two, God has not made any new decisions this really boggles my mind. All decisions were a part of His plan as long as He existed, including our salvation. Second Timothy chapter 1 verse 9: we were shown grace from all eternity. All that I can really say here is wow. There is no bit of new knowledge that might cause Him to make a new decision or to change His mind. The council of the Lord stands sure. When the Bible says in Psalm chapter 80, that God is in the midst of the council, what it means is He’s giving instructions. He’s directing things. He’s pleading with people. God needs no input from us. He never asks us anything. His wisdom, His knowledge, and His judgments are inscrutable, and we stand in awe of Him.
By the way, it’s very interesting to talk about the council of the Lord in contrast to the council of men. The Bible says, actually, in Psalm 2, that “the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed, and they take on God. Guess who wins?
You know, as we think about God today, I end with the passage of Scripture in this eleventh chapter after the verse that we have just read. It ends like this: “From Him, through Him, and to Him are all things.” Let’s go through that more slowly. “From Him” means that He is the source of everything; “through Him” means that He is the agent by which He brings it about; “to Him” is the goal and the end to which everything leads—His glory. And that’s why Paul ends by saying, “To him be glory forever and ever!”
Now, as you go about your day today, I want you to think about that. We don’t understand His ways, they are inscrutable. But we do know this: that from Him, through Him, to Him, are all things. Can we accept life like that, even as we worship a God we do not fully understand? Let me ask you today, are you able to worship Him without explanations? I want to remind you of something: in acceptance, there is peace, and if we accept this sovereign God and worship Him, He carries us along despite all of the mysteries.
Thanks so much for joining us today and we hope that you will join us again next time. And as for today, please go with the inscrutable but very trustworthy God.