BTW, this explains today’s world: get rid of God in schools, in marriage, in society, and problems get bigger because we weak and ignorant humans are trying to resolve them. Bring back God and problems get smaller, because then we leave them in God’s hands. We don’t need to understand everything. I fly in an airplane, not having a clue as to how to fly one of those buggers, totally amazed. I googled how much a Boeing 787 Dreamliner weighs: When empty, 223,000 pounds! I don’t need to understand how such a craft stays in the air, how to take off and land, but I’m glad the pilot knows. How much more God? I don’t need to wrap my mind around every personal problem, I just need to know God understands everything.
God knows more than we know:
1. He Knows Everything There Is To Know. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Rom. 11:33a) How deep is God? So deep Paul could only stand at the edge and peer. How many of you have stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon? 35 years ago I stood on the rim of the crater on Mt. Baker. Watch the 45 second video taken last year that I took off of Youtube [watch video]….
One person wrote this insight about God’s knowledge: “I was preaching in Kentucky several years ago, I heard a Southern gospel song on the radio: “Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?” That sounds odd at first because things occur to us all the time, but it’s true: Nothing has ever “occurred” to God. He never wakes up and says, “A great idea just occurred to me.” In the first place, he never sleeps…. In the second place, all his ideas are great. In the third place, nothing ever occurs to him. He knows all the great ideas all the time from the beginning of time.”
2. He Makes Plans We Can’t Understand. “How unsearchable his judgments!” (Rom. 11:33b) The Message translation: “Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.” "It’s way over our heads.” God makes plans we don’t know about, and even if we did know about them, we couldn’t understand them. This is why some things are unexplainable forever.
3. He Alone Knows Why Everything Happens. “And his paths beyond tracing out!” (Rom. 11:33c) God only lets us in on the things we need to know. The Bible only tells us what we need to know and can understand. The hard truth is that many things we do not understand: Sickness, accidents, violence, mental illness, financial ruin, divorce, hurricanes, earthquakes, Tsunamis, floods, famines, war, no job, ruined lives, children dying... One person told me a story a few days ago about how he helped a friend fix her car, and the friend took off with his tools. “Why do people do that? He asked…. No answer…. God knows how everything fits together, and as frustrating as it is, we must learn to let go and be content with wondering.
God has Accomplished More than us. Rom. 11:34-35. 3 questions expecting a negative answer: Who has, who has, who has, all expect the same answer: no one, no one, no one.
1. No One Can Explain God “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” I am speechless when people reject God when facing a tragic death or a sudden tragedy. As a pastor who is asked more questions about God than the average person, in a strange twist, when grieving people ask me a why question, I have discovered the best answer I can give is “I don’t know.” If I were to try and explain God with rational thoughts, the answer is hollow. But to say “I don’t get it either,” is the answer that makes the most sense because that is truth ~ only God knows is not sidestepping the truth, it is the absolute answer….
2. No One Can Counsel God. “Or who has been his counselor?” (Rom. 11:34b) I love the way The Message puts it: Is there “anyone smart enough to tell [God] what to do?” We play the game all the time of trying to tell God what he has to do… this is my plan God, now bless it….we gotta laugh at ourselves. An ill-prepared college student was struggling through his final exam. He happened to be taking the test just before Christmas. In desperation he scrawled across the bottom of the paper, “Only God knows the answer to these questions. Merry Christmas!” When he got the paper back, the teacher marked it: “God gets 100. You get 0. Happy New Year!”
No one knows as much as God does, no one can explain God, and no one can be his counselor. Just give God 100% and be done with it.
3. No One Can hand God a bill. “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” (Ro. 11:35) Imagine trying to say to God, “God, you owe me something.” No one can say, “I’m one up on you,” No one can say, “I’ve earned your favor.” On the contrary, what God has given to us we can never repay. God has given us the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins. If anything bad does happen, who are we to say it is unfair? On the contrary, we ought to be amazed there is not more destruction. The fact that God is still giving us an opportunity to repent as individuals and as a nation is amazing.
On Tuesday night Jack, Denny and I were standing outside Crosswater Café and a couple walked by that connected who we were in relation to Crosswater. She got so excited, “I want to help you” she said. I instantly cringed and I don’t remember how I said it, but something like, “No, not for us, let’s do it together for God.” It is an honor to serve the Lord, not with the idea of repaying him or earning his favor, that’s silly… God has accomplished so much more than us, if we are honored to enter his work even sweeping up the crumbs from his great banquet table, that is more than we deserve.
Why is God Worthy of our Praise? Paul can contain himself no longer (READ Rom. 11:36a). God is all in all. Everything comes from him, everything exists by his power, and everything will ultimately answer to him. James Montgomery Boice calls this verse the secret of a “Christian worldview” because it dethrones man and puts God on the throne of the universe. The song of the redeemed is Romans 11:36! In a few moments we are going to sing, “He is My All In All”
“For From Him…” 1. He is the Source of All Things. God is the author of everything…. Job dared to ask God why…after relentless question and foolish wisdom of Job and his friends, God finally had enough, and in two amazing chapters, Job 38-39, God speaks “out of the storm” and says to Job, “I will question you…” and out pours a litany of questions: “where were you when the foundations of the earth were laid…”….
“For Through Him…” 2. He is the Sustainer of All Things. God alone understands the purpose for everything that he created. All things come “through him.” All knowledge, all wisdom, everything we have comes “through him.” God is the passageway in the hourglass… everything goes through him…
“And to him are all things” 3. He is the Supreme Purpose of All Things. A breathtaking statement. There is nothing in all of creation that is not of God’s design, God’s purpose, God’s fingerprints... God is the beginning, the middle, and the end of “all things.” Everything comes from him, everything continues by him, everything finds it ultimate purpose in him. I sat with a woman this week who declared she wanted to die because she had no purpose. “How do I respond?”, I quickly asked the Lord. It was as if God took over my words: “You can pray whatever you want,” I said, “But I cannot share your prayer for God to take you. You may not see it, but I know he has a purpose and a plan.”
We have clouded vision, but not God…one person compared the idea to “ants crawling across a painting by Rembrandt. When we come to the darker colors, it seems as if the entire painting is dark, somber, forbidding. Everything around us is dark brown or dark blue or midnight black. But if we could only stand back from the painting, we would see that the darker hues are offset by lighter colors—red, green, yellow, blue and orange. It is the darkness of the darker hues that makes the brighter colors stand out so vividly. So it is with life itself. We may spend days or weeks or years in the dark tones of life. Sickness, heartache, tragedy, mistreatment and betrayal may cause us to think that there are no lighter tones. But God is painting a masterpiece in your life and before he is finished, he will use every color on his palette. If you do not see the final product on earth, you will see it clearly in heaven.”
God knows more than we know… he has accomplished infinitely more than us… He is worthy of our praise, “for from him and through him and to him are all things.”
One Final Word: “To Him Be the Glory Forever! Amen” To Him Be the Glory Forever” is a challenge. Amen is the final word. Amen means “So Be It.” Amen: Lord, may it be so. Yes or no? Will you endorse Paul’s challenge to praise and magnify the Lord? Will you embrace the words of John the Baptist: He must become greater and I must become less? “To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Rom. 11:36d). The vastness of God lead us in one of two directions. Either you give up your faith and become a skeptic or you say “Amen,” and bow your knee before the one true God who is too great, too vast, too awesome for you to fully comprehend.
God always leaves us with a choice: accept the vastness of the Lord or seek to enlarge yourself and try to figure out the mysteries of life in your strength. If you choose to believe, we are left with these final words: “To him be the glory forever!" I invite you to join me in this litany of praise… with each statement I’ll raise my hand and invite all of you to speak the words: To Him Be the Glory Forever…. And at the end we’ll shout the final word together: AMEN.
In life and in death –To him be the glory forever!
In joy and in sorrow –To him be the glory forever!
In good days and dark nights –To him be the glory forever!
In sickness and in health –To him be the glory forever!
In your career and in your home –To him be the glory forever!
In your marriage and in your children –To him be the glory forever!
In your wealth and in your poverty –To him be the glory forever!
In days of peace and in times of war –To him be the glory forever!
In gentle breeze and in gathering storm –To him be the glory forever!
In the classroom and in the boardroom –To him be the glory forever!
In moments of victory and in darkest defeat –To him be the glory forever!
In prayers answered and in times of waiting –To him be the glory forever!
In yesterday’s tears, today’s rejoicing, and tomorrow’s adventures –To him be the glory forever!
In heaven and on earth–To him be the glory forever!
Whatever comes, whether tragedy or triumph, in the midst of the years, with the changing of the seasons, when we know enough or nothing at all, when hope is gone and all we have left is God --
To him be the glory forever! And the final word we raise our voices: Amen.