Romans 11:34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?”
C.S Lewis once commented about his frustration with people who asked why God had to make religion so complicated, as if the Lord were just making this all up as he went along instead of revealing quite unchangeable facts about who he is and what he has done. Sometimes people want a little god, a god they can put in a box, or one they can set limits on.
But do we really want a god like that, one so simple we understand everything about him, one so small we can control him? Why not be happy our God is so great? Isn’t it better to accept our place, and know how much greater he is?
The idea of thinking we are smarter, and giving God advice is appealing. Might we be tempted to raise our hands and volunteer if the position of “Advisor to the Lord” were actually offered? We can all look back through our lives and find some time when we tried to appoint ourselves the Lord’s counselor. We think we could do a better job of steering, and avoid the bumps along the way, if he would just give us the wheel.
We struggle to appreciate the growth in faith times like that provide for us. We forget that our questioning attitude flows from our failure to love the Lord with heart, soul, and mind.
It is not our place to tell the Lord what to do. It is his place to tell us what he has done. Who wants to complain when he tells us that he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve? Who would have suggested that he demand nothing of us, or that he offer his Son to suffer for our sins? That is exactly what he has to say, and he assures us over and over again.
Paul’s third question also suggests something about knowing our station. “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” All that we have ever given to God is grief. All that he should repay to us is death and hell. Nonetheless, he treats us as if he does owe us something.
Take a moment to consider how much of God’s work for us involves the word “give.” He gave us his Son. Today he gives us the Holy Spirit. He gives us life. He gives us heaven. He gives us our daily bread. He gives and he gives and he gives. When we understand our station, as the receiver of his gifts, our reasons to question him begin to disappear. Our reason to trust his greatness becomes so much more clear.