May 25, 2003


Romans 11:32-36


   Isaiah wrote, "Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding? (Isa. 40:13-14 NKJV). This series of rhetorical questions needs no answer. It is obvious that no being in all the universe has "directed the Spirit of the Lord." No one counseled or advised Him what to do or taught Him anything! It is unthinkable that God would take counsel or ask help from anyone in planning His purpose of the ages! That being so, then what is the purpose for such questions?

   Paul had surveyed the scriptures showing God's dealing with Israel , provoking them to jealousy time and again, always hoping they would respond. Yet, at the same time he knew "that blindness in part is happened to Israel , until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (Rom. 11:25). Israel were enemies concerning the gospel for the sake of the Gentiles, yet concerning God's election, they were beloved for the sake of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel will one day realize their fulness and be restored to their position of privilege, blessing and honor, for this is God's covenant with them. God had concluded the Gentiles in unbelief at Babel 's tower and set them aside only to show them mercy restoring them to His favor during the present time of Israel 's unbelief. Looking further ahead Paul could see that God would show mercy to Israel in the future, after the fulness of the Gentiles is complete and their blindness is ended.

   All this caused him to burst forth in praise, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" So astounding and unthinkable to the human mind is God's glorious plan of mercy that Paul here recalls Isaiah's challenge to Israel , "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?" To ask is but to demonstrate how far beyond our wildest imagination is God's plan of the ages. Thus, "Of Him [the source in the past], and through Him [the cause in the present], and to Him [the goal in the future] are the all things! To Him be glory for ever. Amen"! ( Rom. 11:33-36)


Ivan L. Burgener