2015 Verse of the Week #37: Romans 11:33-36

This passage from Romans is featured in the song “God is Wise” by Seeds Family Worship on their album The Character of God. Click through and look for track 6. Here is the passage:

Romans 11:33-36

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.

These verses are some of my favorites! As I’m sure I’ve mentioned, learning all we can about God’s character is so important to understanding the Bible and its impact on our lives. If we are seeking God first and are dedicated to knowing him, we will become equipped to discern whatever is not of God. Of course, as I’m typing this I can clearly see the verses in italics: “For who has known the mind of the Lord…” There are many things we can know about God, many ways in which he reveals himself to us, but there are still parts of him that remain mysterious to us or are beyond our understanding. To me that is just another reminder of God’s holiness and power.

Last week was my first week as the classroom assistant at our church’s preschool in the 3- and 4-year-old class. We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I just love that bunch of babies already. Oh, sure, I tell them they are “big kids,” but when you boil it down, their age can still be measured in months and they hardly know anything about life– most of them only learned to use the toilet this summer– so they are babies! They are precious and tiny, but also growing and learning at exponential rates. Praise the Lord. It is an amazing privilege to be a part of this time in their lives.

Anyway, the first week was devoted to learning the rules and routines of the classroom: sitting criss-cross applesauce, keeping one’s hands to oneself, staying together as a group, listening for your name to be called, what does your name even look like….. and on and on. They have a lot to learn!

And this week we start in on letters and craft projects and Bible stories. The way our teacher/director has set up the class is for her assistant to teach the Bible portion of the morning, and that’s what made this job a perfect fit for me because teaching the Bible to preschoolers is pretty much my favorite! Tomorrow I will open our little Beginner’s Bible and talk about the creation of the world with the kids. I will tell them how God didn’t need help or tools or materials to create the world, he just thought of it, spoke, and it came into existence.

And I’m so glad this passage will be fresh in my mind as I teach that lesson! I think it’s a perfect tie-in to creation because it reminds me of God’s power and majesty and, of course, wisdom. I love to look at the world around me and just revel in the details that God designed– from cloud formations and the colors of the sky down to how a butterfly “drinks” from a flower or ants communicate with one another as they go about their work.

If I believe that God created this world with such beauty and intricacy and cares about its welfare, then I have to believe that he cares for me. This is no revelation, but… the world is pretty big. And I have always found it easy to trust God with the world. I try to do my part in caring for the earth, but ultimately I trust that God knows what he’s doing and will sustain it for as long as he sees fit before sending Jesus back. If it’s so easy for me to trust my wise creator with the world, why is it so difficult for me to trust him with my life sometimes? I don’t have a neat little answer for that, but I think the tension in that question can help me as I seek to trust God more.

I think acknowledging God’s wisdom and power as creator can serve as a readily available reminder to me that God is trustworthy. God designed me and knows me, and not only that: he is with me. He is for me. He is aware of every aspect of my life, every cell in my body, every feeling I have– even the ones I can’t make sense of yet. But he doesn’t just watch, silently judging me for my shortcomings or mistakes. He sent the Son as a redeeming sacrifice and the Spirit as a constant companion and guide because he loves me and wants me to be connected to him. Christ intercedes on my behalf and the Spirit helps me to pray even when my troubles escape my understanding.

Based on what God reveals to us in his Word and through his Spirit, we can trust that in the depth of his wisdom and knowledge (beyond our understanding) there is righteousness. He is Creator. He is Love. He is Holy. He is Light. He is Spirit. He is Truth. Therefore, he is trustworthy, and it only makes sense for me to trust him with my life if I believe all those things about him. That’s what I want to work on this week. I have unanswered questions and messes that have yet to be cleaned up, but rather than turn to the anxiety my mind creates, I want to turn to the peace God offers when I trust in his wisdom.

I’m running out of time today, but aside from the Creator connection in this passage, I also want to mention verse 35: “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” This is just more evidence of God’s power, grace, and trustworthiness to me. I need to be reminded that it’s God’s world and I’m just living in it. 😉 That he doesn’t need my help, but he lets me help for my own benefit and the benefit of the Kingdom.

Being involved in helping professions through my husband’s vocational ministry, my work with preschoolers, and my work with autism as a behavior analyst, I can fall into the trap of having a too-lofty opinion of myself. This isn’t an active “I’m the best” attitude, but presents itself in a sneakier way when I feel like I am the only one who can do this job, help this person, etc. and the world will fall off its axis if I ever stop. My work, while important, is a humble and meager offering compared to God’s goodness, power, wisdom, and care for people. It is God who gave me the gifts I’m using in my work in the first place, so it only makes sense that if I ever stopped doing it… he will make sure the work gets done! I have learned this lesson in the past when I’ve had to leave different jobs or ministry responsibilities behind, but I also want to remember the lesson while I’m in the midst of the work. My prayer is that I will remember to leave my work in God’s hands even while I’m doing it.

So much for time! 😉 Thanks for reading, and please share your thoughts in the comments section if you feel led.

File Sep 14, 11 11 07 AM