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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Red maple
This beautiful red maple at the end of our road.

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"O The Depth!"

"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" (Romans 11:33).

How rich are you today? When it comes to worldly wealth I suspect our readers differ considerably, since these messages are delivered all over the world to followers of Christ in a variety of circumstances.

How we perceive our worldly wealth is quite relative. Most readers, including myself, are in the top 10% of the wealthiest people on earth.  An interesting website (I'll share the link below) allows you to type in your annual income and see just how you rate in comparison to others around the globe.

The site explains the tendency to gauge just how rich we are by looking upwards at those who have more of this world's goods which can make us feel poor. Rather we should look around and consider the many who have far, far less for a proper perspective on just how wealthy we really are.

But today we want to share a message focusing on the greatest source of wealth we all may equally share in; regardless of where we live, the language we speak, our ethnic background or the degree of our earthly material wealth.

Riches can describe wealth, money, possessions, or abundance. But Paul is obviously not speaking of worldly riches in our daily text but rather he is speaking of spiritual riches similar to the sentiment he expressed in Ephesians 1:7, "In Him (Christ) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us." Worldly riches are visible to others while spiritual riches are embedded in the believing human heart and there is not necessarily any correlation at all. 

The first eleven chapters of Romans is steeped with deep theological teaching that Paul has recorded as a foundation for understanding our life in Christ.  He then moves from the theological to the practical in the next section (Romans 12) as he gives guidelines for living as a redeemed people in a sin-filled world.

But before he closes the theological section he seems to step back and examine God's work and in summary he makes the powerful acclamation in our daily verse, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"  Many commentators consider this verse and the next three to be a Doxology. In my personal study I try to read it aloud as Paul might well have expressed it, particularly in light of the material that precedes it.

William MacDonald sums up Paul's concluding doxology as looking back over the entire Epistle and the divine wonders that have been unfolded. Paul has expounded the marvelous plan of salvation by which a just God can save ungodly sinners and still be just in doing so. He has shown how Christ’s work brought more glory to God and more blessing to men than Adam lost through his sin. He has explained how grace produces holy living in a way that law could never do. He has traced the unbreakable chain of God’s purpose from foreknowledge to eventual glorification. He has set forth the doctrine of sovereign election and the companion doctrine of human responsibility. And he has traced the justice and harmony of God’s dispensational dealings with Israel and the nations. Now nothing could be more appropriate than to burst forth in a hymn of praise and worship!

We will close our message today with this prayer of praise to God for the wisdom and foreknowledge of His incomprehensible plan for our lives.  He governs the universe and our lives in His perfect wisdom and vast knowledge.  We cannot fully understand but we can fully trust His plan and provision for our lives each day. To do so is to experience true wealth that this world cannot give!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, I am in awe of the depth of Your riches, both of wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable are Your judgments and unfathomable Your ways! For who has known Your mind, Lord, or who has been Your counselor? Or who has ever given to You, Father, that You should repay Him? For from You and through You and to You are all things.  To You be the glory forever. Amen.

(Romans 11:33-36 slightly adapted for prayer)

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.

"O The Depth" Today's text set to music. Audio from the Integrity Scripture memory series.

"Favorite Song Of All"  Audio  Open page and click on "play". Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.  This song sure makes me smile!

A member of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir shares a powerful Scripture meditation that I have enjoyed for many years (2 minute audio) followed by this song.

Global Rich List  See how you compare!

Note: Yesterday's message was on Cain and Abel and a thoughtful friend of mine shared this thought:  "You spoke about Abel's gift and why it was not be accepted. I would like to share with you what I shared with our congregation this past Sunday concerning this question. A study of Hebrews 11:4 reveals that he offered a greater sacrifice... God testifying of his gifts (plural). The account in Genesis reads that "Abel also offered" the firstling of the flock. Is it possible that Abel offered the fruit of the ground and also in addition to that of the firstling of the flock. This would seem to follow some logic as the fruit of the ground would be an offering of thanksgiving or a thank offering which would have been offered by both of them. Abel's additional offering was the offering for sin or the sin offering. In viewing it this way, we don't want to forget that the condition of Cain's heart toward God was apparently not proper and that is what would have affected his choice of offering. Did he possibly not recognize his sinfulness before God and therefore not see a need for the sin offering? I certainly don't feel that this is the only correct interpretation but it seemed to settle my curiosity somewhat and just wanted to share it with you."

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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