God's Riddle
Proverbs 30:4
Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the waters in a garment?…

This verse gives God Almighty's great conundrum spoken out of eternity into time; it is the riddle propounded by the Supreme Intelligence to the heart and reason of every man born into the world. The history of humanity is little else than one long wrestle with God's infinite conundrum. There are noble souls and able thinkers who never guess the riddle here. There are lesser minds that, lightheartedly, give the riddle up — those who call themselves agnostics. Never be a giver-up of God's riddles; work at them till you die. The position of a giver-up of God's riddle is dreary and paralysing; it cauterises imagination, which is man's creative faculty; it ignores a thousand self-evident principles; it freezes the mainsprings of human activity; and it is not really humble — it implies the possession of all kinds of knowledge. It is a sweet legend of the Talmud that the indentation of the upper lip of every man born into the world is a mark of the finger of God touching the mouth at birth and saying, "Child, thou knowest, but thou shalt not be able to reveal that which thou knowest till thou hast learnt it by the things which thou shalt suffer in the infant school of human life." "What is His name?" It is a beautiful name, a name that can save the anxious heart from losing its way in the tangled speculations that pass muster for religious truth. It is a name that can irradiate with eternal hope the very darkest problems of life. It is a name that can encourage men to wait and work trustfully, patiently, hopefully. How infinitely varied are the processes by which the moral sense of man feels after and finds, and tries to give a name to the Supreme Intelligence who "holds the winds in His fists." Darwin says, " There lives and works a soul in all things; one hand has surely worked through this universe." Schlermann, the explorer, was puzzled by some irregular holes upon the crumbling front of an ancient temple resembling the impression of nails, as if some Greek characters had once been fastened to the stone. He bethought him of tracing between the nail-marks with a piece of chalk, and behold there stood out the Greek word Θεος — God. But this name is rudimentary and inadequate. Boundless intelligence, administering boundless power, by its very awfulness and vagueness has constantly evolved in human history the grossest caricatures of the name of God. The Eternal Power has manifested His moral life, His character, His feeling toward the race, in one human form, one supernatural and Divine Man, who, as the heart of God incarnate, is "the visible moral embodiment of the all-pervading omnipotence Himself for ever invisible." The embodiment soon returned to the Father; that is, He withdrew from limitations, and returned to universal life; but He has made known God's name to the race. The Divine Man of Nazareth is the sacrament of God; He is the outward and visible sign of the heart of universal Fatherhood; and to know it, with an intense spiritual conviction that is beyond expression, is to know the answer to God's riddle about Himself.

(Canon Wilberforce.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?

WEB: Who has ascended up into heaven, and descended? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has bound the waters in his garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name, if you know?

A Homily for Humble Folks
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