Good morning and welcome to Tuesday. For those who are reading this as members of my church community please remember the prayer meeting at the school tonight. Hope to see you there as we meet together for the last time this year.
This morning we are looking at the Doxology found at the end of Romans 11. Today we know a doxology to be a short hymn that offers praise and worship to God. The Apostle Paul was prone to burst out in praise in a few of his letters and it always seems to be at a point where he gets overwhelmed by God's glory as he explains the character or nature of God. In this case it relates to God's wisdom and knowledge.
Paul has been explaining God's plan as far as it pertains to Israel. This appears to be an emotional subject as his heart aches for the salvation of his people. I am sure that you have had moments like this. Your heart is heavy because of someone or a situation in your life. As you think and pray about it you begin to see patterns or purposes and you become overwhelmed by the realization that God is in control, and he knows what he is doing. Your heart fills with such a love and joy that it feels like it will explode. That is hard to express in written form so Paul expresses it with words; both his own and some from sacred text:
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
Paul had been writing about God's authority to make decisions. He quoted Scripture that records God as stating the he will have mercy on whom he has mercy and compassion on whom he have compassion. That is what God had explained to Moses just before revealing his glory to him; I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. (Exodus 33) To anyone else this may seem arrogant and unfair but Paul finds security in this because he recognizes and acknowledges "the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"
We experience a lot of needless fear about our future. We worry about finances; we worry about making right decisions; we carry heavy burdens because of the mystery of the unknown. We have fear because we do not trust the wisdom and knowledge of God. We have fear because we want what we want and we are afraid that we will not get it. Paul's attitude was that regardless of his desire he wanted what God wants and for that he trusted God's wisdom and knowledge. It is a beautiful thing to trust God. Let's remember this:
"Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?"
Paul quotes Isaiah. It is a good thing to remember our place. Worship is great at doing this. We remember who we are compared to who God is. We make the mistake of telling him what to do because we don't remember our place. Considering how much greater his wisdom and knowledge is compared to our own, we need to recognize that it is wrong to be telling God what to do. We can tell him what we would like. We can talk over what we need. We can remind him of his promises. We can drive out demons and illness in Jesus' name. We can pray for healing in that same name, but we can't boss God around.
Remember Abraham's petition for Sodom and Gomorrah? Not once did Abraham tell God not to destroy those cities. Instead he reminded God of his character. He was extremely respectful. He asked God if he would spare the cities in certain cases. But not once did he say to God, "Spare these cities. Forgive them. Show them mercy." All of which are commands. We need to pay attention to our way of speaking to our incredible God.
"Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?"
A quote from Job. What have we ever done for God? Have we ever given him something that was not already his? What favours have we ever done for him? God owes us nothing, yet he continues to give. We owe him everything and yet we are so stingy in our giving. He is a generous God who wants to provoke generosity in those he has adopted as his children.
For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
We would be doing alright if we could just keep reminding ourselves who God is compared to who we are. If we could only remember his generosity, his wisdom, his knowledge and all his promises we would not be so afraid. He is our awesome, incredible God who gave us life, purpose, love, hope and who has called us into beauty and joy. He is the very air we breathe, the ground we walk upon. Everything came into existence from his thoughts, were created by his Word and were created for his delight.
How can you not break out into song as you realize who is watching over you, offering guidance and who is working his plan for you. Indeed, to God be the glory forever. Worship will help renew this in us daily. Have you worshipped him today?