Devotional – “Admire where you cannot fathom” (31 Dec 2017)

In this devotional for the last week of 2017 we turn the pen over to Thomas Watson, the English Puritan cleric and theologian. Watson has lots of useful, practical material available today, thanks to the internet. In his A Body of Divinity, he deals with the subject of God’s infinite nature. One of the “uses” he draws from his discussion of God’s infinity is this:

“If God is infinite in his glorious essence, learn to admire — where you cannot fathom. The angels wear a veil, they cover their faces, as adoring this infinite majesty. Isa 6:6. Elijah wrapped himself in a mantle when God’s glory passed by. Admire — where you cannot fathom. “Can you by searching find out God?” Here on earth, we see some beams of his glory, we see him in the looking-glass of the creation; we see him in his picture — his image shines in the saints. But who can search out all his essential glory? What angel can measure these pyramids? “Can you by searching find out God?” He is infinite. We can no more search out his infinite perfections, than a man upon the top of the highest mountain can take a star in his hand! Oh, have God-admiring thoughts! Adore where you cannot fathom!

Thomas Watson (1620 – 1686)

There are many mysteries in nature which we cannot fathom; why the sea should be higher than the earth — yet not drown it; why the Nile should overflow in summer, when, by the course of nature, the waters are lowest. “As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” Ecclesiastes 11:5. If these things perplex us, how may the infinite mystery of the Deity transcend our most raised intellectuals! Ask the geometrician, if he can, with a ruler, measure the heavens. Just so — we are unable are we to measure the infinite perfections of God. In heaven we shall see God clearly — but not fully, for he is infinite. He will communicate himself to us, according to the capacity of our vessel—but not the immenseness of his nature. Adore then where you cannot fathom!

If God is infinite in all places, let us not limit him. “They limited the Holy One of Israel.” It is limiting God to confine him within the narrow compass of our reason. Reason thinks God must go such a way to work, or the business will never be effected. This is to limit God to our reason; whereas he is infinite, and his ways are past finding out. In the deliverance of the church, it is limiting God, either to set him a time, or prescribe him a method for deliverance. God will deliver Zion — but he will be left to his own liberty; he will not be tied to a place, to a time, or to an instrument, which were to limit him, and then he should not be infinite. God will go his own way, he will confound human reason, he will work by improbabilities, he will save in such a way as we think would destroy. Now he acts like himself, like an infinite wonder-working God. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” Romans 11:33.”