1 – Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV) 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
RAF: Man often fails to be content both with WHERE God has him, and WHEN. Men have immortal souls, but not eternal souls in the same sense as God. We are finite in our entire being. And while our souls will never die (in the sense of never ceasing to exist, either in Heaven or for those in Hell) they have not always – been. We are not like God in that He is “from everlasting to everlasting” (1 Chron. 16:36), whereas we had a beginning. Once we did not exist at all, and then God created us.
As created, finite beings, and not self-existent, infinite beings, we are to live and function within the realm God has made us to exist in. There is a beauty of this time and place with which we are to fully engage. And, He has also given us a capacity to understand the concept of eternity and the age to come. It is right then for us to live today in this place, in light of the eternity before us. Yet (the text says) He has given us this reality of eternity in such a way that we cannot find out the absolute whole of what God “has done from the beginning to the end.”
Now certainly, the main point of the text is that these things cannot be known by ourselves, we need the special revelation of God we receive through His Word and consummately in Christ Jesus.
Yet there may yet be more in this for us. I take this last phrase to at least also contain the idea that we are to humble ourselves in not trying to reach beyond God’s revelation. Passages such as Eph. 2:6-7 & 3:7-11 or even the great metanarrative Rom. 11:36 (all things from Him, through Him and to Him) are glimpses beyond this veil. But we are wise not to absolutize these flashes of glorious revelation to the extent that we imagine we have all of God and His purposes figured out in totality.
Perhaps our tendency toward speculation in theology can lead us beyond proper bounds. Let us handle these revelations carefully and with a holy hush in our souls lest we trample upon them as though we have the whole of God so reduced as to be fully comprehended by our finite minds. We will spend eternity searching out His riches. We will never be able to exhaust them, never able to take them all in. Only God can fully know God.
This of course does not mean we cannot TRULY know Him – we do! Nor does it mean we do not have true revelation regarding eternal and infinite things – again, we do! Nor does it mean we cannot know critical eternal realities regarding His eternal plans and purposes. Once more, we truly do. But it is to say we need to refrain from imagining we can and do know more than we can and do.
The same Peter who had received such a singular revelation of Christ’s Messianic identity in Matt. 16, is rebuked by Jesus a few verses later for not setting his mind on the things of God, but of man. Peter steps beyond his bounds and rebukes the Savior. May we not be found similarly stepping over the edge.
Oh Father, forgive me for those times when I fail to be humble before your revelations, and take to myself more than is fitting because of them.