August 25, 2017

A Puzzle and a Song

Romans 11:33-12:2

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! . . . To him be the glory forever! Amen.

—  Romans 11:33-36

I enjoy the challenge of putting together a 1,000-piece jig­saw puzzle. Some people get the daily newspaper just to do the crossword puzzle or the Sudoku. But sometimes our puzzles can end up puzzling us. That’s how it was for the apostle Paul.

Paul wrestled with a very personal problem. By God’s grace he had come to know Jesus as his Savior. As he went about doing his missionary work, many Gentiles came to faith in Jesus as Lord. But many of his own Jewish people rejected Jesus. It was mind boggling to him. Were they not God’s special people chosen to share God’s love with the world? Nevertheless, Paul was so confident of God’s great mercy that he broke into song.

Paul confesses that we can never fully grasp God’s eternal plan. Our efforts to understand God, define him, or reduce him to our level will ultimately fail. God owes us no explanation; nor is he accountable to us—for he is God.

There is something we can do—in fact, two things. First, Paul implies that we should keep praising God because all glory belongs to him forever. Then Paul goes on to say that the only reasonable response to all this is to offer ourselves in complete service to God and to be completely available for his use.

Are we doing that?

Lord, often we are as puzzled as Paul about the way you deal with us. Even so, may we stand in awe of your amazing grace and respond to you with songs of praise and acts of service. Amen.

About the author — John Van Schepen

Dr. John Van Schepen is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington, Wisconsin, Indiana, Oregon and California. He and his wife, Willie, have been blessed with five children and several grandchildren.

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