Who hath first given to Him?

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

— Romans 11:33-12:2

In the 11th chapter of Romans, Paul lays out some heavy doctrine concerning the roles of the Jew and Gentile in God’s plan. He explains that though Israel as an earthly people was cast from its priestly position, by God’s MERCY Israel was not cast from its future inheritance. God will reclaim Israel. The Gentiles by God’s GRACE were grafted into God’s intricate plan. Ever since the graft took place there has been no difference between Jew and Gentile for the present time (Romans 10:12). God’s plan was so big, merciful, gracious, detailed, and beyond man’s understanding that the apostle couldn’t help but to just stop and praise the Lord.

In verses 33-34, Paul praises the Lord for being beyond man’s understanding. In verse 35, the Lord is beyond man’s power.

Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” – Romans 11:35

Have you ever been given a gift which made you feel obligated to give something back in return? I have some friends from China who explained that if you threw a birthday party for yourself in China, and someone gave you a birthday present, then when that person has a birthday party you are obligated to match the monetary value of the gift you were given. If you do not at least match the monetary value of the gift you were given, it is dishonoring.

God has never experienced this. There has never been a time in which someone gave to God, obligating God to give something back. God has never been in debt. He’s never owed anybody anything! I’m concerned when I hear about people making deals with God. The person trying to make a deal with the Lord is not living in submission to His Lordship. “Lord, if you fix my life right now, I’ll live for you!” NO! Jesus paid it ALL so ALL to HIM I owe.

Not only does this verse highlight the bigness of God, it points out the smallness of man. How many Born-Again Believers think so highly of their talents that they somehow believe they can actually help God out? God doesn’t need our help to accomplish his gigantic plan. That’s Paul’s point! I’ve met some preachers who seem to think their abilities and talents in the pulpit can really help God out in saving people. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 –

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.”

God once used a donkey to rebuke a wicked prophet. That donkey had more sense than many of us do. The donkey could not only see the work of the Lord, the donkey feared the Lord (Numbers 22:24-34). We might have thought at some point, “If God can use a donkey, He can use me.” Nope. That’s putting us a little higher up on the ladder than where we really are.

“If God can use me, He can use a donkey.”

God doesn’t need our help. He desires our service and love. It is our reasonable duty to submit our whole lives to Him. Use your abilities and talents to bring glory to His name. He’s worthy of it!

I hear the savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray
Find in me thine all in all

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

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