Reformed Church Box Hill

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2 May 2021

Humbled before God’s mystery.

Have you ever felt small? I mean the kind of small you feel when you look at the stars and consider the magnitude of space. It’s the kind of small you might feel as you see the power of massive waves crashing on the seashore, or as you hear the rumbling of thunder or the crashing of lightning. Occasionally we experience something that helps us to lift our eyes up from our immediate circumstances, and start to see how small we truly are. But mighty and powerful as the forces of nature may be, there is nothing that ought to rightly humble us so much as a true view of God.

Now we ought to be humbled by every consideration of God, but perhaps nothing ought to humble us more than an understanding of God’s incomprehensibility. Certainly this was the experience of Job as God revealed Himself to him. Job, of course, had suffered much. But he fell in to sin when he started calling God into question. In His arrogance, Job presumed that God was answerable to him – as though there was any sense in which they were equals. And as Job challenged God to give an account for Himself in permitting Job’s suffering, the Lord answered him.

In Job 38:2 we have a record of God’s response to Job: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements – surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” And so it goes on as the LORD poses a series of unanswerable questions to Job. Job’s pride had raised him up so high as to question God, and yet he is quickly humbled as it becomes clear that the mind of God is without limit or understanding – and He is certainly far beyond the understanding of little Job! Listen to what Job has to say at the end of it all…

Job 42:1: “Then Job answered the LORD and said: I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question You, and You make it known to me.’ I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

What happened to Job? He was dwarfed by the incomprehensible majesty and ways of God. He admits as much explicitly: “I have uttered what I did not understand…” That is Job’s personal confession of the incomprehensibility of God! You see, there is so very much that we do not yet understand. Imagine a small 3-year-old boy trying to instruct a rocket scientist in his work – it’s a small picture of where we stand before God! We must not ever presume that what we know is sufficient for anything. We must always work from the assumption that He knows all, and it is ours to receive the instruction that He gives in an attitude of total humility. There is never an area of life in which we become independent from our total need to submit to God, and one of the reasons for that is because our understanding is so tiny!

And so let me ask you this question: do you ever question God? Do you ever presume to think that you know enough to get by without Him? Do you ever think that He has wronged you? Are you ever discontent with your lot in life? If we entertain these kinds of questions, we are walking on the same dangerous ground as Job did, and we are in desperate need of being humbled. The incomprehensibility of God ought to humble us with the sure knowledge of our ignorance, and our need to constantly rely upon God for understanding in every possible way.

So much of what happens in our lives is incomprehensible to us, for it is all part of the plan of our incomprehensible God. We ought to deliberately humble ourselves in light of this, and set ourselves to be teachable under His Word. God is at work in this world to bring about a great and glorious outcome, ours is to trust, wait, and obey His instructions to us – even in spite of the many and varied aspects of our native ignorance. In Psalm 8:1 we read: “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens… When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him.”

This is where we stand before our incomprehensible God.

What is man that God should be mindful of us? He whose vast mind created the very universe, why should He trouble Himself with such as we? He is incomprehensible, and no matter how much we may come to understand, the vastness of His incomprehensibility will remain infinite. And yet… He cares for us! He wants to instruct us as a loving Father with His children! Be humbled by the incomprehensible majesty of God, and furthermore be humbled by the loving attention which He constantly lavishes upon us in Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria!