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So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters, I want you to understand this mystery: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved; as it is written,
”Out of Zion will come the Deliverer;
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.”
“And this is my covenant with them,
when I take away their sins.”
As regards the gospel they are enemies of God for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved, for the sake of their ancestors; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.
O 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,
to receive a gift in return?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
As We Think We Are
Occasionally, my wife will remind me of something that’s extremely accurate but that I often forget. You see, after I think I’ve been remarkably clever in something I’ve said to her, she’ll smiled and say words that I should probably have engraved on my tombstone: “Ed, you’re not as funny as you think you are.” Now that’s what she says, and I’ll tell you, she’s right. And that’s something I really need to remember, because there have been more than a few times when I’ve said something I thought was extremely funny, but actually hurt the feelings of someone I had absolutely no intention of hurting.
And I mention this because I think Paul reminds us that the same thing can happen when we’re talking about our spiritual knowledge. As he wrote, “So that you may not claim to be wiser than you are, brothers and sisters, I want you to understand this mystery...” and then he explained that God had hardened the hearts of the Jews so that the Gentile might enter the faith. Now he recognized that we wouldn’t understanding this. In fact, when he wrote, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!,” I think he was suggesting that he didn’t totally understand all the whys and hows himself. But that’s really OK. You see, God is in charge even when we’re just not as smart as we think we are.