God is puzzling, and the wise knows it, for He puzzles them day by day. Fools find God puzzling too, for although they benefit from his providence every day, yet they say in their hearts that He does not exist. Believers find God puzzling too, not in the ways of the wise and the foolish, or in the way of the skeptic but in an entirely different way.
People of learning and wisdom like to think that they can subject everything to intellectual analysis, they believe they have the ability to critically analysed anything and come to some compelling, even incontrovertible, conclusions that defy contradiction from among their peers. Learned people do this through philosophy and logic, scientists do this through experimentation and the scientific method. The product of this cerebral cultivation is a harvest of philosophies and theories that sometimes have the world excited.
One thing though is very noticeable. All their theories and philosophies are tentative; subject to being debunked and overturned by later experimentation or intellectual analysis. What one scientist or philosopher says today can be resoundingly discredited tomorrow as a look back in history clearly shows.
People of learning and wisdom find that God is puzzling because Almighty God does not subject himself to the flawed methods created by man's mind. It is as if these learned people are incapable of understanding that they cannot validate God, not now not ever, and failing to do so are puzzled and disappointed. Zophar asked Job a powerful question, "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" (Job 11:7)
The answer to Zophar's question is no because God can never reveal himself through experimentation or intellectual analysis; that simply is not possible because He is incomprehensible by the human mind, time, or space.
We are told the results of learned men inquiring of God and their hapless conclusion were recorded thus, "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." (Acts 17:23)
God reveals Himself only through revelation and the Bible is clear on this: "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."Matthew 11:27) Because of this, that God reveals Himself ONLY by revelation, people of learning and wisdom will continue to find an unsolvable puzzle.
Fools find God puzzling because they instinctively deny God's existence, "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God..." (Psalm 14:1) John Gill in his Bible commentary puts it very well when he said that these are, "...not such who are idiots, persons void of common sense and understanding; but such who are fools in their morals, without understanding in spiritual things; wicked profligate wretches, apostates from God, alienated from the life of God; and whose hearts are full of blindness and ignorance, and whose conversations are vile and impure, and they enemies of righteousness, though full of all wicked subtlety and mischief: these say in their hearts, which are desperately wicked, and out of which evil thoughts proceed, pregnant with atheism and impiety; these endeavour to work themselves into such a belief, and inwardly to conclude, at least to wish, there is no God."
These fools find God puzzling because they understand cause and effect, they reap what they sow, their experience tells them there are laws to which they are subject, and laws require a lawgiver; and yet the denial of God's existence is central to their existence. These are the very ones who, when they get into serious trouble, are frightened or perturbed can sometimes cry out for God's help; the very God they so adamantly deny exists.
Believers find God puzzling in an entirely different way, even although they believe in Him passionately and profoundly.
God is NOT to be taken for granted and believers have found this out to their cost.
The Bible says this, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him." (James 5:14-15)
Many believers have done just this and had no recovery; some have died without recovering.
These circumstances have to be understood in conjunction with another Scripture, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." (1John 5:14-15)
Why is all this puzzling?
Believers do not get what they want even when it is exactly what God wants. God wills some things that he does not permit, and He permits certain things that He is opposed to.
This is puzzling until you understand the mind of God; as much as permitted by the Holy Spirit.
Take this Scripture, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2Peter 3:9) yet we know that many will go to hell (Psalm 9:17)
Believers accommodate if not resolve all their puzzles by one mighty act; they put in God all their trust and confidence and preface their daily living with these words, "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42)
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Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013