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Romans 11:33

Our Awesome God

33 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!


Everything that Paul has said up to this point in the epistle seems to have overwhelmed him so much that he had to stop and interject a song of praise, which takes up the rest of this chapter. The song is written in typical Jewish style and draws on many common phrases from the Old Testament scriptures, although, with the exception of verse 34, it does not seem to be a quote from any particular one.

The use of "O" was an expression of great emotion. The translators of the KJV and most other versions have used the word "both," which limits Paul's praise to just two items, the wisdom and knowledge of God. But I along with several other commentators see no reason for that. The Greek text literally says, "O the depth of the riches and of the wisdom and of the knowledge of God!" There is no apparent need or justification for changing it. Paul is amazed at three attributes of God, His riches, wisdom and knowledge.

Paul sees these attributes of God as without limits and so he speaks of their "depth." This was a common way of expressing the limitlessness of something such as the abyss. The contemplation of the depth of God's riches is enough by itself to bring about this emotional outcry of praise from the apostle. It describes the overwhelming number of blessings in God's control and that He lavishes upon even the most sinful of men. His ability to forgive our sins, the atonement made by His Son, the power of His words, and the gift of the Holy Spirit are just a few of the seemingly endless blessings from God.

The depth of His wisdom refers to the way that He has worked out His plan for bringing sinful man into His perfect kingdom. His choosing the nation of Israel to be His people, the way that He used their fall to bring about the salvation of Gentiles, and finally the way He will use the Christian Gentiles to take the gospel and finally save Israel.

The depth of the knowledge of God, on the other hand, is His perfect omniscience. He knows the past present and future. He knows how many hairs are on the head of each one of us. A sparrow does not fall from the sky without His knowledge. God's foreknowledge enabled Him to work out this plan that Paul had been writing about for the salvation of mankind. There is nothing anywhere or in any time that God does not know about. He can tell us the end from the beginning.

"How unsearchable are his judgments," The "judgments" of God can mean His execution of justice and His wrath upon wicked men, or His commands, or His decisive purposes. The latter is what is meant here. The purposes of His decision to elect some and not others and the deep products of His counsel such as the one that determined Christ should die for us are all beyond our understanding. Only the Spirit of God can search to such depths.

The ways of God are past finding out. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9) His knowledge is unsearchable and so must His thoughts and ways be unsearchable. The methodology by which He accomplishes His purpose, such as the way He chose to leave the Gentiles immersed in the darkness for so many centuries only to then use them to rescue His people Israel.

God is so awesome! Just thinking about the depth of His riches, wisdom, knowledge, judgments and ways should inspire each of us to break out in song like Paul has done. He is unsearchable and yet He says that we can know Him intimately. Wow!

Before The Throne:

Take some time to just praise Him. Thank Him for all that He has done. Thank Him for being with you always. When you leave your prayer closet continue to praise Him. Praise Him in the streets, at work, at school, at the supermarket and everywhere you go.

For Further Study:

(v.33)
** the depth. Ps 107:8-43; Prov 25:3; Eph 3:18; ** riches. Rom 2:4; Rom 9:23; Eph 1:7; Eph 2:7; Eph 3:8; Eph 3:10; Eph 3:16; Col 1:27; Col 2:2-3; ** how. Job 5:9; Job 9:10; Job 11:7-9; Job 26:14; Job 33:13; Job 37:19; Job 37:23; Ps 36:6; Ps 40:5; Ps 77:19; Ps 92:5; Ps 97:2; Eccl 3:11; Dan 4:35;

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