Paul's breaking forth in joy

Much of Paul's letters, which make up a majority of the New Testament, consist of rhetorical questioning, argumentative and Scriptural reasoning, and intellectual diatribes about how this Yeshua changed the faith in the God of Israel.

This kind of writing should come as no surprise, seeing as how Paul was a Jew trained as a Pharisee under one of the great rabbis of Judaism, Gamaliel, the grandson of the great Rabbi Hillel whose own teachings foreshadowed many of Yeshua's.

It's an eye-opener, then, to see Paul break with that mold of intellect and bust out in a kind of joyful song, inline, right inside one of his letters:

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
His paths beyond tracing out!

Does anyone understand the mind of the Lord?
Has he ever needed counsel from mere men?

Who has ever given anything to God,
that God should repay him? None!

Everything comes from him;
Everything happens through him;
Everything ends up in him.

Always glory! Always praise!
Yes! Yes! Amen!

Whoa! Paul's starting to sound like he's one of those "on fire for God" people.

What brought about this rather uncharacteristic break from Paul's usual deep intellectual musings?

He understood, just a wee bit, what God planned with the Jews and gentiles. Where this thing is ultimately headed. He got a glimpse of just a tiny piece of God's plan for Israel and where the gentiles fit in.

If the Jewish falling out initiated this worldwide coming together, their recovery is going to set off something even better: mass homecoming! If this thing Jews did by rejecting Messiah, even though it was wrong for them, turned out for your good, just think what's going to happen when they get it right and see Messiah! Nothing short of life from the dead!

But how is it going to happen? Paul concludes with some interesting observations about how God has worked his plan with the gentiles, and suggests he'll use the same plan with Israel:

There was a time not so long ago when you were on the outs with God: living rebelliously, doing whatever felt good, living for yourself. But then Jews slammed the door on Messiah and things opened up for you. Now Jews are on the outs. But with the door held wide open for you, they have a way back in. In one way or another, God makes sure that we all experience what it means to be outside so that he can personally open the door and welcome us back in. That's what's going to happen with Israel -- they are temporarily in rebellion to God by rejection of the Messiah, but God will use this as an opportunity to show kindness and welcome them back in.

What amazing wisdom! Giving discipline to those who rebel and generous grace to those who are lost, making us all come back to Him, one way or another.

And with that realization of part of God's plan, Paul was set him off into a joyful praise of the Lord, admiring God's ultimate wisdom -- far beyond our limited comprehension -- in his dealing with humanity. :-)

We don't always understand God's dealings, especially as they're happening. Angry replies of, "How can this be from God?!" or "How could God exist and still let this happen?!" I've heard people say, as a child dies of cancer, or as some other tragedy occurs.

But when you look back and see how he it all unfolds, man, the question becomes, "How can this NOT be from God?!".

How can the Jewish rejection of Messiah be from God? How could he let such a terrible thing happen to his own people?

Simple. He's got a plan. And that plan involves God using that terrible tragedy to open up access to himself to the gentiles. End result? Today, 1/3rd of the entire gentile world knows the God of Israel. Who could've predicted that? How can that NOT be from God?!

Cool thing is, we haven't even seen it come to its completion yet. We've only got a partial picture revealed. The whole thing isn't here yet. If I were Paul, I'd break out in song too. :-)

Shalom to you fine blog readers on this shabbat the inestimably wise God of Israel made for us. Shabbat shalom.


  1. This post makes me very happy, Judah. I wish more Christians could see further than the end of their noses and know the inclusiveness and the full scope of God's plan. Sour, judgemental pouts would be turned to praise and thanksgiving!

  2. Judah Gabriel,

    What Love you send thru your blog comments! Thank you for not being silent and for the Love that overflows from your heart. I look forward to reading your comments when you do on Derek Leman's blog.