What’s the news? That we don’t know much about God. Not really, not compared to what there is, not compared to what there is to know, not compared to all that He is and does. The Bible only reveals in part who and what God is; we have been shown only the “edges” of His person and ways. Yes, it is true that the Bible reveals an amazing amount of truth about who God is and what He has done in creation, progressive revelation, in providence and history, and in the person and work of His Son, Christ Jesus. An amazing amount has been revealed.
But all those who love truth and theology must remind themselves that the church, throughout church history, has been grappling with all of Scripture to see the depths and riches of the Bible, and we haven’t plumbed its depths yet, even with all our knowledge and scholarship. Nor will those depths ever be plumbed before the Second Coming of the Son of Man. We still, and always will, see through a glass darkly, and we only know in part and will always only know in part until we are with Him. So any theologian who comes across as if they have it all figured out, and always seem to have good sufficient answers for every question, the fact is, they don’t.
There are no “know-it-alls” in the kingdom simply because there is perhaps more about God that has not been revealed than has been revealed. And even the Bible says that some revealed knowledge in Scripture is too much for us to comprehend. David says this in Psalm 139:1-6, where he says in vs. 6 that the truths found in vss. 1-5 are so wonderful, they are “too” wonderful and high for him and he cannot attain to it. The word “attain” in vs 6 is the consistent translation in most all Bible translations. It is simply a fact that the knowledge of God is exceedingly beyond our humanness to attain or comprehend it fully.
Paul says something similar here–“Oh, the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways are past finding out.” Unsearchable and past finding out; so there is a realm of the knowledge of God that the Bible gives us. That is the realm of Deut. 29:29–the “things revealed to us”, but the “secret things” that belong to the Lord are not ours; There is much truth about God, creation, providence, eternity, and much more that belong to the “secret” things, to the “past finding out and unsearchable” realms.
It is always a humbling fact to remember that we know less about God than there is to know; there is much more that we don’t know that what we do know; such knowledge is not to keep us from seeking, growing and increasing in continuing to plumb the depths of God’s Word. It simply means we should always humble ourselves and remember that we don’t know much, even with all our knowing.
Job pretty well sums it up for us in 36:26– “Behold, God is great, and we know Him not.”
I like the way this verse reads in other translations–
NIV- How great is God–beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.
ESV- Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable.
NASB- “Behold, God is exalted, and we do not know Him; The number of His years is unsearchable.
KJV- Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.
Holman Christian Standard Bible- Yes, God is exalted beyond our knowledge; the number of His years cannot be counted.
This has some personal implications for us.
4. Progressive Growth
1. Repentance – We should repent of any “know-it-all” attitudes we have developed and of acting this way toward others in any capacity. We know nothing as we ought to know.
2. Humility – We should always take an attitude of true humility, living in the reality that we “know not” God yet in the way He truly is and in the way we will know him in our glorification. If we don’t know it all, why do we act like we do at times?
3. Dependence – We should cultivate conscious and continual dependence upon the Holy Spirit for His ministry of increasing us in the knowledge of God and Christ. There are vast oceans to be experience, and we are yet probably ankle-deep.
4. Progressive Growth – We can progressively know God and His truth more and more. Let us press on to know the Lord continually.
5. Thankfulness – We should be abundantly thankful that God has chosen us, included us, allowed us, and privileged us to know Him. He opened our eyes, not us. We would still be in dark Egyptian night, lost in our sins and in spiritual blindness, if God had not opened our eyes to behold to beauty and glory of God in Christ. Thankfulness that we do not yet know as we are known is a good thing.
Job 36:26, Psalm 139:6, Romans 11:33 all tell us something that really needs to shape our lives more, especially all the “know-it-all” theologians out there. Let us humble ourselves under the mighty hand of the unknowable and knowable God!
– Mack Tomlinson
“Many there be which say of my soul, ‘There is no help for him in God’.” – Psalm 3:2
Have you ever been discouraged and distressed because of something people said or what the voices inside you said? Such people and such voices talk most when one is in trouble about something. “Many there be which say of my soul, ‘There is no help for him in God’.” That was what the many said who were around King David in a dark hour. But he turned to the Lord and told Him just what they were saying, and then he affirmed his faith: “But Thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of my head.” (vs. 3)
We cannot use these words if we are pleasing ourselves in anything, and doing our own will and not God’s will. In that case, what the many say is often true. There is no help for us in God while we are walking in any way of our own choosing. But when all is clear between us and the Lord Jesus, even if like David, we are in trouble because of something we have done wrong in the past, then those words are not true. There IS help for us in God. He is then our shield, our glory, and the lifter up of our head, and we need not be afraid of ten thousand people or ten thousand voices, for the Lord our God is our very present Help.
Twice in Psalm 3 and 4, we find David taking the very unkind words of others and putting them into a prayer. It was the wisest thing he could have done with them. The alternative would have been to brood over them or talk to others about them. But he turns like a child to his Father.
“Many say” – this is often the case. But David is not confounded. He refuses to be cast down; let the “many” say whatever they will. If only we can look up and meet His countenance, what do the words of others matter? The truth is, we SHALL experience good. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
— Amy Carmichael
God knows best how to ripen a soul for His own presence in glory.
Trials are the opening of channels for more grace.
There is nothing in your providential lot that takes Him by surprise, though it takes you by surprise.
The Jews’ past experience was not of great use to them in their wilderness journeys. They needed always to consult with God. If you think you will get through anything because you got through things previously, then you will certainly fail. You must ask fresh counsel from the Lord always and consult Him continually.
Perhaps some Israelite, looking on the burning sands all around them and thinking of the scorching heat, begins to say, “What if this continues? What if my friend dies out here? What if the children can’t take the journey and they die?” Let us simply follow the Lord, follow the pillar of cloud and fire, and not trouble ourselves with the “ifs”.
I see that I need every day, more and more in the morning, before any business begins, I need a cup of the new wine of the kingdom–fellowship with the Most High.
Dwell in the tabernacle under the shadow of the Almighty, and not a drop of wrath shall fall on even one hair of your head. Continually walk in the light of the cloud of glory.
Often we have looked at the waves and listened to the winds, when we could have been walking with Jesus on the water.
— Andrew Bonar
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light for my path!” Psalm 119:105
In many houses you will see beautiful Bibles bound handsomely in morocco leather, with gilt edges, and full of bright pictures. I love to see a beautiful Bible in a home, especially if it is not kept too clean and unsoiled. But the most beautiful form in which a household Bible can be bound, is in the holy life of godly parents. There is no tinted, gold-edged paper so lovely as the pages God gives us on which to write our daily record.
The precepts and lessons of the inspired Word sound very sweetly when read out of a richly-covered volume–but they sound far more sweetly, when the child can spell them out of the parent’s daily life.
It is well for a parent to read to his child from the inspired page about the beauty of holiness; but it is better still when the child can see that beauty shining out transfigured in every feature of his parent’s character.
It is well for him to read of the patience, gentleness, meekness, forbearance, and love of Christ; but it is better when he exemplifies all of these traits.
It is well for him to teach the child what the Bible says about lying, profanity, intemperance, and all sins; it is better when his life proclaims all these lessons.
No family Bible is so well printed and bound, as the one that is printed on the heart, and bound up in the life of a godly parent. I would recommend to all parents this kind of Bible, and to keep the dust off it always by constant use. This is the best kind for a lamp to the children’s feet.
A beautiful Christian life is a living epistle written by the hand of God which the youngest child can read before it has learned to spell out the shortest words of the language. It is a sermon that preaches Christ all day long, seven days in the week!
There is no heresy so dangerous to childhood as heresies lived in the home!
– C. H. Spurgeon