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!…
The apostle has reached the height of his great argument, and now he will take one eagle glance at the whole way by which he has led his readers - nay, at an the ways of God. We may not coldly dissect such glowing words as these, but pause with reverence to listen to his adoring wonder, his challenge, and his ascription of praise.
I. He has shown forth the belief and unbelief of man, and the marvellous way in which God, foreknowing all, has yet woven the web of history so that the wrath of man shall praise him. But man is lost in awe and wonder in presence of such knowledge and wisdom as are here Ñ
"A vast, unfathomable sea,
Where all our thoughts are drowned." The judgments by which God manifests his knowledge, and the ways by which his wisdom marches on to the accomplishment of his designs, are beyond our searching and tracing out. We may know the fact, but not always the cause; we may discern somewhat of the tendency and drift of his dispensations, but not all their force. And when the end breaks upon us at last, in the time of the accomplishment of all things, we shall see that what we formerly discerned was but a part of his ways, and our intensified astonishment must still exclaim, "O the depth of the riches!"
II. Man, then, has not had, cannot have, fellowship with God in the working out of such a high history. Man may indeed have worked, but God has overworked. And even man's wickedness has been caught up into the general procession of God's designs. But man has neither known his Maker's mind, nor certainly has he counselled him with wisdom. And yet did the arrogant Israelite think to have merited aught from God? as though he had given him, forsooth, by his vain services, that it must be recompensed him again? This was indeed to arrogate to himself that knowledge of God's mind, and counsellorship of his ways, which were impossible, and to affect which was preposterous, and darkly like blasphemy. But the apostle has already cast these presumptions down, even to the dust.
III. It only needs now that he reassert, once for all, the utter freedom of the actions of God, which he has argued, and at the same time the almightiness and goodness of his ways, as also previously set forth. "Of him." He is the primal Fount of creation and of history. All things proceed forth from him, therefore surely he may put down one and set up another. "Through him." The very sins of men are open to his pre- vision, and their folly and blindness, and the results therefore do not take him by surprise; but rather they are allowed for in the great plan of his world-kingdom, and therefore through him they may be said to work their way. "To him." The very sins which he allows, and their consequences, adverse as they may seem to be to his plans, he can so control that they shall work for ultimate good. To him? Yes, to The perfecting of his wise plans. And these plans of his wisdom? They are all in love. Therefore to him we will ascribe the glory evermore. Amen. Oh how utterly we may trust him, if we will! For only our persistent sin can shut us out from the might of his marvellous love.
"Here, then, I doubt no more,
But in his pleasure rest,
Whose wisdom, love, and truth, and power
Engage to make me blest." T.F.L.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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!