Many years ago, my three-year-old had a problem with jealousy. If he saw me play with another child, he didn’t understand why he wasn’t the sole focus of my attention. He didn’t understand that I enjoyed the gift of welcoming others to play with us as well. In much the same way, God has welcomed us, opening the door for us all to delight in him.
In the previous passage, Paul shared that all people, Jew and Gentile, could receive God’s mercy. How humbling to know that we are all invited into God’s grace if only we believe. Today’s passage is a heartfelt praise to God for providing a way for all to experience his salvation.
- Consider looking at your past, present, and future as God’s gift to you. How would doing so change the way you live?
READ THE WORD: ROMANS 11:33-36 (ESV)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What is the tone of these four verses? What does the tone indicate about how Paul was feeling as he wrote these words?
- Read verse 33 alone and think on it for a minute. We often consider not being able to understand God’s ways as a bad thing. Why do you think this thought brought Paul to a place of praise?
- What do verses 34-35 say about who God is? About us?
- According to verse 36, what is the beginning and the ending of “all things”? What should be our response to that?
- Reread this short passage as a whole. How would acknowledging God in this way—in whatever you are dealing with right now—bring proper perspective and proper response to God and to others?
RESPOND TO GOD
The truth is, God’s plans for us and the world are infinite and greater than we have the capacity—and oftentimes the maturity—to fathom. In the previous passage, Paul referenced that “God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” Today’s passage drives home the point that we are nothing without God—his mercy allows us the unwavering assurance that his ways are pillared by wisdom, justice, and love. And because of that, our response should be to praise him, giving him all glory.
- Ask God to help you recognize your complete dependence on him.
- Thank God that his ways are higher than your ways and that he has a plan for you.