I have been thinking about the mystery of God. One aspect of the mystery of God is that we can never really comprehend fully who he is and the complexity of all his characteristics. But I’ve been thinking about something different, about how God chooses to establish and then work out his plans without us necessarily knowing or understanding His goals or the reasons.
One of my observations is from the book of Exodus which we’ve been studying as a church family. This observation is that the full revelation of who God is, his presence, he’s plans and word for us, is something which is only revealed (both to Moses and the people of Israel) after they have left the slavery of Egypt. I don’t want to draw any concrete theology out of this, but isn’t it fascinating that when I look at that story (or when I look at different stages in my own life,) that we are often called to take a step of faith when actually we don’t understand the fullness of what He wants to do, or why he wants to do it. Sometimes we start to understand later down the line, sometimes not!
I have also been looking at the last verses of the book of Romans, (chapter 16 verses 25 to 27.) It brings a different lens to the mystery of God. The Apostle Paul is writing to the Roman church and says: ‘in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings, by the command of the eternal God.’ Several things strike me here. (1) It is the command of God is what is what sets events of History. (2) When setting the commands of history God includes a degree of mystery which is hidden in there. God doesn’t do this all of the time, and he certainly not trying to frustrate us, but often times God chooses to include mystery in there for us. (3) The gift of Prophecy. In this context Paul is talking about prophetic writings of Old Testament scripture, but for us as we seek to discern Gods will it could equally be prophetic words, pictures, or simply a sense that the Holy Spirit has given us. This blesses us because we have something to aim for and have a sense of direction, and also we are assured that God is in control, He is speaking, and somehow this will glorify him later on. (4) God brings revelation. Having set the commands of History, included mystery and the prophetic, God will ultimately bring His revelation. One of the difficult things that the Bible demonstrates is that Gods revelation can take weeks, months, years, or many generations. For example, Moses and the Israelites would have loved, treasured, and been in awe of the Tabernacle of God, but the increased revelation of the tabernacle and temple would only 1500 years later with the death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross.
None of us will ever understand the mystery of God. He’s God, and we’ll never understand the full complexity of his being, nor understand the unfolding of his plans and purposes in human history. This passage reassures us that it’s good to seek and discern his will, and it’s good to value the prophetic input of word and spirit…. but still, we shouldn’t expect to understand what God is doing all the time!! God loves a bit of mystery, and he loves leading us through it!!!
Romans 11: 33 ‘Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!’