Deep, Unsearchable, Inscrutable Wisdom

By Mark D. Roberts

June 9, 2024

The Gift of Wisdom

Scripture — Romans 11:33 (NRSV)

O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Focus

Though we can know, receive, be guided by, and share God’s wisdom with others. We must also recognize that it is not something we can ever fully comprehend or master. Divine wisdom is richer and deeper than anything we can comprehend.

Today’s devotion is part of the series The Gift of Wisdom.

Devotion

Today I’m wrapping up my devotional series The Gift of Wisdom. I won’t summarize all that we have reflected upon in the last month. If you’re curious, you can always check out all 21 devotions here.

I do, however, want to underscore a theme that has run through many of these reflections. It’s the idea that God, the ultimate source of all wisdom, makes divine wisdom available to us. God helps us to be wise by shaping our minds and hearts, giving us spiritual gifts of wisdom, putting wise people in our lives, teaching us through experience, and revealing deep wisdom in Scripture. Most importantly, God shows us divine wisdom in the person of Jesus Christ, who is God’s wisdom in human form (1 Cor 1:24, 30; John 1:1-14).

So, yes, we can know, receive, be guided by, and share divine wisdom with others. That’s great news, to be sure. But even as we rejoice in the gift of God’s wisdom, we must also recognize that it is not something we can ever fully comprehend or master. We saw a hint of this truth in a previous devotion, “Countercultural Wisdom in a Multicultural World.” That devotion was based on 1 Corinthians, where it says, “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength” (1:25). Several verses later, the Apostle Paul writes, “But we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory” (1 Cor 2:7).

Romans 11:33 makes a similar point in more poetic language: “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” Some commentators refer to these lines as a hymn because of their structure and beauty. This hymn celebrates the depth of God’s wisdom, wisdom so deep that we’ll never see to the bottom of it. Though we can perceive and receive it, we’ll never fully comprehend it.

The inscrutability of God’s wisdom reminds us always to be humble as we seek after divine wisdom. It commends similar humility when we attempt to express God’s wisdom in our own words. The only true and complete expression of wisdom is found in Jesus Christ, the Word and Wisdom of God incarnate.

Romans 11:33 also reminds us that the search for divine wisdom doesn’t lead only to understanding. It leads also to wonder . . . and then to worship. God’s wisdom exceeds anything we can imagine, thus calling us to bow before God’s sovereignty and praise God’s matchless glory.

Reflect

What do you find most amazing about God’s wisdom?

What might help you to grow in wisdom and, at the same time, humility before God?

Act

Offer to God a prayer of praise and thanks for divine wisdom, for how God makes wisdom known through Christ, and for the gift of wisdom in your own life.

Pray

Gracious God, today we praise you for your wisdom. Not only do you have wisdom, but you are Wisdom. Even as we say this, we recognize that we will never fully understand this truth. It inspires our minds, enlarges our hearts, and humbles us before your majesty.

Thank you for making your wisdom known to us. Thank you for what we learn from Scripture, from the Spirit, from our sisters and brothers in Christ, and, most of all, from Jesus, who is Wisdom in human form.

Help me, Lord, to grow in wisdom. May I seek your wisdom and be open to letting go of the imposter wisdoms from this world. May your wisdom fill me, shape me, instruct me, and guide me. Then, may I be a faithful sharer of your wisdom with others, giving away what you have so graciously given to me. As I do, may I be humble, remembering that I will never completely grasp your wisdom. Amen.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: God’s Character is to Have Mercy on Everyone (Romans 9–11).


Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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