Can you by searching find out God? can you find out the Almighty to perfection?
The nature of God is the foundation of all true religion, and the will of God is the rule of all acceptable worship. Therefore the knowledge of God is of the greatest importance. To know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, is eternal life. The mysteriousness of the Divine nature and government is no reason why we should neglect what may be known concerning Him. Give one the spirit of adoption and self-renunciation, and he cannot be frightened from the presence of his Maker either by the lustre or the darkness round about His throne. The doctrine of this text is, that there is in the nature and ways of God much that is incomprehensible to us.
1. The adorable first person of the Trinity, the Father, is and must ever be beyond the grasp of our senses and faculties. It is generally agreed that the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, is, and ever will be, beyond the direct and immediate notice of all creatures. He is far beyond the grasp of both our bodily and mental faculties. The brightest manifestation of the Godhead is in the incarnation of the Son of God. We may behold His glory, as of the only-begotten of the Father, but we can go no further. This manifestation is for all practical purposes sufficient. But even in Christ divinity shone forth under great obscuration. Whatever eludes all our senses and faculties is to us necessarily clad with mysteriousness. Whatever is concealed from every perceptive power excludes the possibility of original knowledge. In such a case learning without instruction is impossible.
2. The incomprehensibility of God's nature and ways is often asserted in His Word. Nowhere is the incomprehensibility of God spoken of in Scripture as cause of sorrow to the pious. Our inability to find out the Almighty to perfection is not merely moral, but natural. The same would have been true if man had not sinned.
3. So very wonderful are the perfections of God, compared with the attributes of the most exalted creature, that His nature and ways must always be mysterious, just in proportion to our knowledge of their extent. How should man, as compared with God, have knowledge either extensive or absolute? God's plans are founded on the most perfect knowledge of all things. Man's information is very imperfect both in scope and degree. The moral character of God presents greater wonders than His natural attributes. His moral character — holiness, justice, goodness, truth, faithfulness — is presented in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
4. God has shown Himself to be incomprehensible in His works of creation. Out of nothing God made all things, our bodies and our souls, all we are, all we see, all that is within us, above us, beneath us, around us. Most of our knowledge of God is negative. Our positive knowledge of Him is very limited. There will ever be topless heights of Divine knowledge, to which we shall have to look up with inquiring awe.
5. In God's government and providence are several things which must ever make them incomprehensible to us. How noiseless are most of His doings. But when He chooses He can make our ears to tingle. God hides His works and ways from man by commonly removing results far from human view. God's ways respecting means are very remarkable. He, apparently, often works without means. Perceiving no causes in operation, we expect no effects. God also employs such instruments as greatly confound us. We often tremble to see God pursuing a course which, to our short sight, seems quite contrary to the end to be gained.Lessons —
1. The Christian lives and walks by faith, not by sight.
2. As the object of God in all His dealings with His people is His own glory and their eternal good, so they ought heartily to concur in these ends, and labour to promote them. God's glory is more important than the lives of all His creatures.
3. Let us put a watch upon our hearts and lips, lest we should think or say more about God's nature and ways than befits our ignorance and our selfishness.
4. Note how excellent are Divine things. "Divinity is the haven and Sabbath of all man's contemplations." Every honest effort to spread the knowledge of God is praiseworthy.
(W. S. Plumer, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?