"O, the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the
knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments, and
untraceable His ways! For, who knew the mind of the Lord? or who
became His adviser? or who giver to Him first, and will be repaid by
Him? seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all; to Him
be the glory for the eons! Amen." Romans 11:33-36.
Not many words are required to teach the truth on any
one subject. No one can ever fix it better than Paul here has it.
All is out of God - not ninety nine percent! ALL!
The fact that He can be the Director of every move, and
yet mankind, for the most part, be doing just what they want to do, is
because of the depth of the riches and the wisdom and the knowledge of
He is the Disposer - the Placer. That is what the
word, "God' means the very first time it occurs in the scriptures, Gen.
1:1. In that chapter we see Him disposing of things. A careful
reading of the entire scripture will reveal to us the fact that He is yet
disposing of things and persons, or, as the Greek has it, He is placing
things and people.
Since it is important to Him that there be just so many
hairs on my head, Matt. 10:30, and since not a sparrow can fall without
Him, I can easily believe that everything and every event has a bearing on
the carrying out of God's purpose. Therefore, I am not forced to say
that all that is important to the fulfillment of His plan is of His plan
is of Him, and the rest is not. No one can say with certainty that
there is any event of anything in the universe that is meaningless or
Some of the brethren have begun to reason. They
say that, since God gives certain commandments, the violation of one of
His commandments is not of Him. In this they show an utter ignorance
of the fact that God commanded Pharaoh to release the people of Israel,
and then deliberately hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he would not
release them. In this instance He intended that He be disobeyed.
It was necessary to the carrying out of His plan of deliverance. If
Pharaoh had obeyed, it would have upset the plans of God.
The brethren of Joseph carried out their wicked designs
when they sold their brother. But Joseph said, later that it was God
Who did it. The sale of the boy and his being taken to Egypt
resulted in the carrying out of the plans of God.
God saw to it that King Ahasuerus should not
sleep on a certain night. In his sleeplessness he had the records
searched, and the result was, Mordecai was saved from the gallows that had
been built for him. This deliverance was necessary to the carrying
out of the plan of God, Ester 6:1.
God, the Placer, placed Paul's nephew right where He
would hear the plot against the apostle's life. God could not afford to
have Paul killed at that time. So the boy, who thought he was where
HE had chosen to be, was, in reality, where GOD had placed him. We
know the result, Acts 23:16.
These are not isolated cases. They are examples
of God working behind the scenes. Could it be that God's plan
requires that a boat be in a certain place at a certain time? I was
in a boat with my father once, and the craft began to sink. The
water was deep and swift, and my clothing was heavy. I must drown,
for, even if my father could swim in that current, he could not save me.
The boat struck bottom, and I found that it had moved so much more swiftly
that either of us thought, the water was not waist deep. I waded
out. Since then there have been hundreds whom God has blessed
through me. I take no credit for it. He had designed that I
could be a teacher of the evangel, and if I had been drowned it would have
upset His plan. He could not afford that - not because I would ever be
able to make myself indispensable to the carrying out of any part of His
plan, but because He, by HIS power would use me in this way.
We ought to be able to see that if He has designed that
one person shall serve in His purpose, it is necessary that He place ALL
events, ALL persons, ALL animals, in order to preserve the one whom He has
chosen for the service. If there is any event that is not of Him,
then He might be thwarted in any, or all of His designs. Is there
danger that a rattlesnake will bite and kill one who has been thus chosen?
No; for God places the snake. Many who went through the War Between
the States came back home and became pastors, teachers and evangelists.
God had designated that they should serve in this way. But suppose
they had been killed in battle. God could not afford to have it so;
therefore He guided the course of every bullet, so that it was not
possible for one of His chosen ones to be killed before they had served as
He had planned.
I am confident that, in this universe, there is not a
person whom God does not place and dispose of, every moment: that there is
not an object, from a blade of grass to the largest of all objects, that
He does not manage all the time; that there is not an insect, animal,
bird, or other creature, whose movements He does not plan and execute at
all times. Moreover, I am confident that there is no being, no
movement, no event, no object large or small, that does not in some way
contribute to the carrying out of the purpose of God. This is what
Paul's statement, "out of Him and through Him and for Him is all," means
Yet I am confident that in the great majority of
cases, those whom God is placing think they are managing themselves, and
carrying out their own will. They are not conscious of any
constraint or restraint. This is what Paul's first statement in the
passage means to me. The depth of the riches and the wisdom and the
knowledge of God is beyond my ability to reason out. His judgments
are inscrutable; His ways untraceable. At the close of a talk made
at a meeting in Alabama last summer, a brother arose and said, "Brother
Screws has presented to us the greatest God that I have ever heard of."
There is no outward sign of a miracle in our every-day
life. Yet, in the course of any twenty-four-hour period, we do, and say,
and think just what The Disposer, the Placer, designs.
God does not delight in all that is done. There
is much in which He does not delight, at present, just as we find it
necessary to do things in which we do not delight, in order to finally
have that in which we do delight. In nothing else is His greatness
shown more effectually, than in the fact that He subjects Himself to much
in which He takes no delight. We say a person who does nothing that
is irksome, is childish. God is not childish. The COUNSEL of His
will, Eph. 1:11, tells Him what is to be done in order for Him to finally
have that in which He delights, and He follows that course. He
operates all in accord with this counsel.
But He knows just how to have delight. Every act
of obedience on the part of any saint is caused by God operating in him or
her, for the sake of His delight, Phil. 2:12, 13. I am happy to know
that He sometimes uses me to bring about His delight. But at other
times I, as well as all other saints, fail to delight Him. This is
in accord with the counsel of His willfor how could He display the
transcendent riches of His grace toward me in the on-coming eons, unless
my life here is so full of failure, as to make any heavenly blessing an
act of pure grace, instead of the payment of a debt that He owes me for
obedience in this life?