There’s a danger in familiarity. Things that once were new and appreciated become old hat and presumed upon. Things that once captured our imagination and invoked a sense of awe, over time, become commonplace and just another piece of data in our growing bank of knowledge. This morning, I read about this dynamic in Deuteronomy . . . God warning the Israelites of forgetting their deliverance from Egypt when they enter the land . . . of settling into their “new digs” and not remembering that it was God who had brought them into the land . . . “lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth'” . . . “and you forget the LORD your God” (Deut. 8:14, 17).
The wonder of grace can become the assumption of grace. The dynamic of grace which once drew its recipients to the God of grace can, over time, become the presumption of grace which brings a “freedom” to pursue other gods. Moses warned his people to beware of such an eventuality when they were settled into the land that God had promised to their fathers and was about to give them . . . a land “with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant” (Deut 6:10-12).
And then, with this warning floating around inside my head, my reading plan took me to Romans . . .
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been His counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to Him
that He might be repaid?”
For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.
(Romans 11:33-36 ESV)
Inscrutable! How inscrutable are His ways . . . His ways are past finding out (NKJV) . . . His paths beyond tracing out (NIV) . . . unfathomable His ways (NASB) . . . impossible for us to understand (NLT) . . . It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out (MSG).
O the folly, as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our God and His blessed Son, that we would at some point think we have figured out grace and come to know God. For as much as has been illuminated to us by His Spirit, it is but scratching the surface . . . for as much we think to have “rightly divided the word” and grounded ourselves in sound doctrine, may it never lead to any thought that we have come to understand the God of our salvation . . . that we have nailed down the mechanics of grace. Might we never get to the end of the Book, close the cover and think, “I’ve got that down now . . . let’s move on to something else.”
His judgments are unsearchable . . . His ways inscrutable. Whatever understanding we think we might have attained, should be but an appetizer inciting us to feed more deeply at His table. Whatever experience we may have had of His abiding presence should be but a cup of water creating a thirst for the fountains of living water sourced in heaven itself.
Might His people beware of the danger of familiarity. Might the blessings create a greater desire to know the One who blesses. Might our desire be towards Him who is unsearchable. Might our longing be to know more of Him who is inscrutable.
By His grace . . . for His glory . . .