Today’s Reading: Romans 11:33-36
Who has known . . . Who has counseled . . . Who has given? (Romans 11:34-35)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Paul wonders who has known the mind of the Lord (Romans 11:34). The answer, because of sin, is none of us. “You have not in mind the things of God but the things of men,” Jesus says to Peter (Matthew 16:23). Paul also wonders who has counseled God. In other words, who has actually been able to give God advice about how best to be God? The answer? We’ve certainly tried, but our counsel is so deeply immersed in our sin that even the best of our advice is found wanting. Who has given a gift to God that he might be repaid? My goodness, that last phrase hits hard. The only thing that could be given is our very lives, and thankfully, God does not require that of us. According to the Law, because of our sin the answer to all three questions is none of us, not one.
But Paul writes so that we would see that Jesus’ death and resurrection, His tabernacling with us, addresses at least two of the questions. Who has known the mind of God? You have. He’s given you His mind, given you Jesus. “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:7). We “see” Him by hearing (Romans 10:17). But who has given God something? This is where the psalmist helps: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:12-13). Our giving, then, starts in and finds its everlasting source in receiving: receiving what Jesus graciously gives in the Divine Service and the Lord’s Supper, so we may call upon Him, pray, and confess the words He’s given us to say.
As for counsel, well, that’s where Paul leaves us hanging. None of us has counseled God, and there is great comfort in this. He needs no help from us, but instead sends the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, to lead us to and keep us in the Holy Christian Church, where daily forgiveness and life are given to you and me. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Triune God, be Thou our stay; O let us perish never! Cleanse us from our sins, we pray, And grant us life forever. Keep us from the evil one; Uphold our faith most holy, And let us trust Thee solely With humble hearts and lowly. Let us put God’s armor on, With all true Christians running Our heav’nly race and shunning The devil’s wiles and cunning. Amen, amen! This be done; So sing we, “Alleluia!” (“Triune God, Be Thou Our Stay” LSB 505, st.1)
-Rev. Adam Degroot is pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Rio Rancho, NM.
Audio Reflections speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Come on an adventure with author Eric Eichinger as he unpacks the saga of Jesus’ Hero Journey. You’ll see how aspects of this journey are seen in popular stories, and how God used Jesus to create the most action-packed one with a real Savior for all. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.