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Romans 11:34-36

Paul's Doxology

34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.


Continuing his song of praise, Paul asks, "Who hath known the mind of the Lord?" The purely rhetorical question reinforces the idea that God's knowledge and wisdom are beyond the comprehension of any man, and we must be careful not to speculate about things not revealed to us by Him.

We cannot understand why He made man as He did or the reasons why He chose Israel first over all of the other nations or why He allowed them to turn against Him. If we could understand those things, we certainly could be His counselor. But man is nothing but a worm next to God.

Verse 34 is a quote from Isaiah 40:13 and seems to be one of Paul's favorites. He used it again in 1Corinthians 2:16, but adds an exception, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." There are some things that have been revealed to us as Christians that are not known by other men nor can be known by natural investigations or reasoning. But we must always remember who that knowledge comes from and not become prideful in our own knowledge and wisdom.

In his praise for the overwhelming greatness of God, the next question is a logical one. "Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?" This is not a quote but seems to express the sentiment of Job 41:11 "Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine." The word prevent means, "to go before." Who has given anything to the Lord first that He would be obligated to repay him? Job says that everything belongs to God. We have nothing to give God that does not already belong to Him.

"For of Him..." Out of Him or from Him all things have originated. He is their source, the Creator of everything that exists. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (1 John 1:3) No man can take credit for anything under the sun. Even our salvation, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, is from Him and through Him alone.

Then, there is nothing left for Paul to add to his song but, "To God be the glory forever! Amen." He has praised His superior and unsearchable wisdom and knowledge, the depths of His ways, His ownership of all things, and the wonders of His Creation by which we are so graciously blessed. All the world should be singing,

To God be the glory;
Great things He has done;
So loved he the world that He gave us His Son,
who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
and opened the life gate that all may go in.
Before The Throne:

Don't you just get excited and inspired to praise Him when you think about His unsearchable knowledge, wisdom, power, love, mercy, grace etc.? Use your prayer time to worship Him today, instead of presenting your grocery list of requests. Wallow in His presence, be inspired by His love, feel His protection, and listen to His voice. What is He telling you to do today?

For Further Study:

(v.34)
** Job 15:8; Job 36:22; Isa 40:13; Jer 23:18; 1Cor 2:16;

(v.35) ** Job 35:7; Job 41:11; Matt 20:15; 1Cor 4:7;

(v.36) ** of him. 1Chr 29:11-12; Ps 33:6; Prov 16:4; Dan 2:20-23; Dan 4:3; Dan 4:34; Matt 6:13; Acts 17:25-26, 28; 1Cor 8:6; Eph 4:6-10; Col 1:15-17; Rev 21:6; ** to whom. Rom 16:27; Ps 29:1-2; Ps 96:7-8; Ps 115:1; Isa 42:12; Luke 2:14; Luke 19:38; Gal 1:5; Eph 3:21; Phil 4:20; 1Tim 1:17; 1Tim 6:16; 2Tim 4:18; Heb 13:21; 1Pet 5:11; 2Pet 3:18; Jude 1:25; Rev 1:5-6; Rev 4:10-11; Rev 5:12-14; Rev 7:10; Rev 19:1, 6-7;

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