Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Jesus Knows You

Leslie Basham: Jesus knows you. That sounds simple, but do you realize what that really means? Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: He knows it all! The depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God. He knows about your family situation. He knows about your financial needs. He knows about your physical challenges. He knows about your motives and your sins and your fears and your insecurities. He knows mine, too. He knows it all.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms, for Tuesday, October 9, 2018.

Imagine that you had the opportunity to talk with the wisest person on the planet. What would you ask? What topics would you cover?

Well . . . you can talk with the smartest person who has ever been on the planet. Nancy will tell you about this incredible opportunity in a message called, "From Him, Through Him, To Him." She delivered this at the very first True Woman Conference in 2008—exactly ten years ago today. That was the launch of the True Woman Movement, and the first of many True Woman Conferences. So let's go back on this special anniversary and hear from Nancy. 

Nancy: I had planned to speak tonight on what is a true woman. As I prepared, I sensed God over the last several weeks directing me to a passage in the New Testament that on the surface of things doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the subject.

But as I’ve been meditating on this passage, the Lord has brought it back to me again and again. I realized that this passage is foundational to what it means to be a true woman of God and to everything that we’re going to hear this weekend.

So let me ask you to turn in your Bible if you have it there. If you can see, if we have enough house lights that you can see, I want you to see the text in your own Bible—Romans chapter 11. The book of Romans, chapter 11, the last paragraph beginning in verse 33.

As you’re turning there, I want to do something that is rather brave, I think, and that is to try to give you a two-sentence synopsis of the whole book of Romans, so you can get a sense of where this passage falls.

Now, at the risk of really oversimplifying, let me just say that the first eleven chapters of the book of Romans are those in which the apostle Paul lays out the basic doctrines of our faith—the sinfulness of man, the amazing grace of God, and the salvation that is possible for us through our Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s the first eleven chapters. The last five chapters—chapters 12–16—Paul makes practical application of everything that has just preceded and asks, in effect, how are we to live in light of all that we’ve just seen?

So the first eleven chapters are “the what.” The last five chapters, beginning in 12:1, are the “so what?” We need to know the what, and then we need to ask the so what? What does this mean for us?

Chapter 11, verses 33–36, the paragraph we’re going to look at for these next moments, is a bridge between these two sections. Now, before I go to that paragraph, let me just pull in a little tighter into the book and give you a little bit more of the context, because it’s going to make this passage shine like the awesome jewel that it is.

In chapters 9–11, which are chapters you’ve probably never memorized, they’re chapters you don’t hear preached on often enough, but in chapters 9–11 leading up to this paragraph, the apostle Paul explores the mysteries of God’s sovereign, electing grace—God’s plan for redeeming both Jews and Gentiles.

He talks about Israel’s past, present, and future role in God’s great redemptive story. He explains how in God’s sovereignty, the Jews’ rejection of Christ has actually become the means of Gentiles—that’s most of us in this room—coming to accept Christ.

The Jews rejected Him. That has provoked us to accept Christ. Then he talks about how in His great mercy, God will yet fulfill His plan for true Israel in spite of their rejection. 

Now, again, I just way oversimplified those chapters, and Pastor Piper and others can do far more justice to them than I just did. But as you read these complex chapters, you realize this is not the way we would have written the story.

It’s not the way we would have scripted it. You see in those chapters how God is able to make even the unbelief and rebellion of men serve His final, eternal purposes. And you scratch your head and go, “How did God come up with this?”

We would have never scripted it this way. But God scripted it this way. It’s His way. It’s His story.

Last month I celebrated my fiftieth birthday, and I've been planning it for about ten years, looking forward to it. Those of you who heard Revive Our Hearts have probably heard me say that my goal since I was a little girl has always been to be a godly, old lady.

I have this picture in my mind of what a godly, old lady looks like. I don't know that I've actually ever meet this picture in my mind. But . . . I have found that the getting old part comes easier than the getting godly part.

But I have been looking forward to this marker in my life.  I took some time in Colorado. I was out there for about a week. One day I went jeeping with some friends in the mountains of Colorado. I had not done that before, and it was an amazing experience.

We were on these mountain trails winding higher and higher up these mountain passes—at one point to 13,000 feet. You could hardly breathe up there. That's where airplanes fly.

Here we were in these jeeps and some of these trails were steep and treacherous. There were some hairpin turns. If you got too close to the edge and looked over, it could be really, really scary! This was quite an experience. Then . . . you get to the top and you look down and you look around and you are just awestruck by the beauty and the magnificence of the view below.

I thought of that trip as I was meditating on recent days on this passage in the book of Romans. In Romans 1 through 11 it's like hiking or jeeping up this steep mountain trail. There are some difficult passages. It's tough climbing at points. Then you get to the end of chapter 11.

And the apostle Paul is as if he has reached the summit. He looks at where he’s come from, and he sees this awesome view, the view of God’s sovereignty, His electing mercy and grace, His eternal plan, and Paul pauses to contemplate it all.

It’s as if there are no words to explain what he sees—the magnificence of it all—there’s no way to fully grasp the depths below.

Words fail when he tries to explain it to others. It’s as if he’s grasping for words, and then it causes him to break out into this hymn of praise, to sing the doxology, and that’s when we come to Romans 11, verses 33–36.

I want to read that paragraph, and then break it apart for us in the moments we have remaining, and then end with saying, “What in the world does all of this have to do with being a true woman?”

But as I read this passage, I’d like us to honor the Word of God by just standing as I read these verses. Romans 11:33–36. Would you stand with me?

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.

And all God’s people said, “Amen.”

Thank you. You may be seated.

  • I believe this passage provides a framework—a context—for our lives as women.
  • It gives us a fixed reference point for our hearts.
  • It tethers our hearts to God’s ultimate eternal purposes.
  • It gives us a perspective and a grid for responding to God’s sovereign choices in our lives and for responding to circumstances that we cannot understand or explain.

Paul starts by saying, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God.” Oh, the depth. Interestingly there, the Greek word that is translated “depth,” sounds a lot like our English word “bath.”

It’s like you’re going down into this, to be bathed in it. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God.” They are immeasurable. They’re so deep that you can’t get to the bottom of it all.

On January 23 of 1960, a U.S. Navy lieutenant and a Swiss scientist got into a submersible vessel that’s known as a bath escape. It goes down into the depths.

They went down to the bottom of the Marianas Trench that is located in the Pacific Ocean near Guam. This is the deepest spot on Earth. It’s 35,800 feet deep. That’s about seven miles—down, down, down to the deepest spot in the oceans in the world.

Interestingly, no man has ever been back to that place since. I read one study that said it would probably take $100,000,000 to do that again. Nobody has even tried, it is so deep. Going seven miles to the bottom of the ocean is a massive human feat, but I have to tell you, it is nothing compared to the depths found in God.

You can never, ever plumb the depths of His riches, His wisdom, His knowledge. You can’t get your mind around it. Words fail. His wisdom and knowledge and riches are inexhaustible; they’re limitless; they’re immeasurable.

Oh the depth. It’s immeasurable. Not only is the depth immeasurable, but the riches, the wisdom, and knowledge of God are foundational. I think that’s part of what is meant when Paul says, “Oh the depth of these things.” They’re foundational.

When you get to the bottom of everything in your life, you find that the bedrock of our lives and of our faith is the riches, the wisdom, and the knowledge of God. That’s what’s underneath it all and holding it all together.

When you get to the bottom of everything in your life, you find that the bedrock of our lives and of our faith is the riches, the wisdom, and the knowledge of God.

In 1944, Corrie ten Boom and her family were arrested by the Nazi’s for harboring Jews in the their home. They were sent to the Ravensbrook concentration camp in Germany where Betsy ultimately died.

Corrie’s sister, Betsy, before she died, said to Corrie, and you’ve probably heard this sentence before. She said, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Betsy died in that concentration camp, but Corrie was released, and as many of you know her story, she lived into her nineties. For decades she traveled all around the world.

For the rest of her life, that was the heart of her message—the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge and love of God. Her point was, however deep your problems, however deep your challenges, however deep your issues, there is something—should we say Someone?—that is deeper. Underneath are the everlasting arms, oh the depth—immeasurable, foundational for our lives. Now, what is it that’s so deep? Well, Paul tells us, “Oh the depth of the riches of God.”

I understand that there are vast riches to be found in the depths of the earth. It’s estimated, at least in one source that I read, that there are at least six billion dollars in sunken treasure that lie on the bottom of the earth’s ocean floors waiting to be discovered.

There’s lots of treasure down there. Then I read about the world’s deepest gold mine, which is found in South Africa, about sixty miles outside of Johannesburg. This gold mine goes more than two miles down into the earth.

It’s been described as the eighth wonder of the world. It’s the richest gold mine in the world. It’s produced more than a hundred million ounces of gold—that’s three thousand tons of gold—since it began operating in the early 1950s.

This one gold mine employs amost 17,000 people. They are working all the time to mine the gold out of the earth. And it's not done! There are still more gold in "them hills." This one gold mine is expected to produce at least a million ounces of gold every year for the next twenty years.

But I’ve got to tell you, within the depths of God are found riches that infinitely surpass earth’s greatest riches. Earlier in the book of Romans, Paul talks about the riches of God’s kindness, His forbearance, His patience.

He talks in chapter 9 about the riches of God’s glory. In the book of Ephesians, he talks about the riches of God’s grace, and it says, “He is rich in mercy.” Unlike the riches in the ocean floors or beneath the surface of the earth, God’s riches are limitless. You see, the gold in that mine will run out some day. But the gold in God’s mine will never, ever, ever, ever, ever run out.

It’s limitless. It’s inexhaustible. Aren’t you glad that God will never have an economic crisis? He will never have a sub-prime mortgage crisis. His riches are inexhaustible. He says, “My God shall supply all your needs.” From what source? Where's He going to get what He needs? Where's He going to get what's needed for all of our needs in this room and every other believer everywhere else? Where's it all going to come from? It's according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

His riches. “Oh, the depth of the riches of God.” They’re infinitely beyond what we can fathom, what we could ever mine or imagine. That means that the riches of God are always more than what you need for your situation. “Oh, the depth of the riches of God.”

And then, “Oh, the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God.” I’ll just keep those together for brevity here at this point. The depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God.

God has complete wisdom and knowledge. He knows everything about everything. Everything about the world, everything about history, everything about the future, everything about elections, everything about economies and where they’re headed, and not only does He know everything about the macro picture, but He knows everything about your life.

  • He knows where you’ve been, your history, the things that have been done to you, the things you’ve done.
  • He knows everything about your present.
  • He knows things about your past and your present that you have not told a single soul on earth.
  • He knows all about your future, too. He knows it all! The depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God.
  • He knows about your family situation.
  • He knows about your financial needs.
  • He knows about your physical challenges.
  • He knows about your motives and your sins and your fears and your insecurities. He knows mine, too. He knows it all.

The wisdom and knowledge of God are infinitely greater than ours. And as an example of that, in the context of this passage, chapters 9–11 of Romans, Paul leads us to respond that the human mind could never have come up with a way that sinners could be justified or declared righteous before a holy God.

We could not have found a way to do that. But the wisdom of God found a way. You say, “So what does that mean for me?” It means the wisdom of God knows how to deal with your situation, as complex, convoluted, impossible as it may seem, oh the depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God.

Paul goes on to say, “How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways.” His judgments, His decisions, His decrees—they are unsearchable, beyond our capacity to fathom.

And His ways, the means that He chooses and uses to fulfill His purposes, the ESV that I’m reading says, “His ways are inscrutable.” The NASB says the are "unfathomable." If you are using the Kings James it says His ways are "past finding out."

Dictionary.com defines inscrutable this way (it’s not a word we use every day, so let me just give you this little definition): “incapable of being searched into or understood by inquiry or study; impossible or difficult to be explained or accounted for satisfactorily; incomprehensible; not easily understood; mysterious.”

No human being can fathom the judgments and the ways of God. No matter how brilliant that person may be, no matter how hard or how long he or she tries, we can never get to the bottom, we can never explore the depth and the breadth and the width and the height and the length of the judgments and the ways of God.

If you do a Google search for judgments of God, you'll come up with 313,000 hits. If you do a search for the ways of God, you get 1,600,000 hits. Now, I just want to say, if any one of us could ever read and master every one of those entries, we would have barely skimmed the surface of the depths of His ways.

We cannot know all that He is doing. We cannot know why He is doing what He is doing.

I once heard Pastor Charles Swindoll say, "Don't try to unscrew the inscrutable." There are some things that are hidden and locked for this time in the mind of God, and you have to leave them there.

I heard Dr. John Piper say in a message years ago something that really stuck in my heart. I’ve shared it with many people over the years in conversations and counseling situations, and I want you to remember this. He said, "In every situation, in every circumstance in your life [think about what you’re facing right now, and just apply this], in every situation, God is always doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you do not know."

You may be able to see a few things that God is doing, but God's doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you do not know.

I shared that quote with a mom the other day who was heart-broken over a prodigal daughter. We talked about how unsearchable are the judgments of God and how unscrutable are His ways. I shared that quote with her and she said, "I need that hanging in my home where I could look at it all the time."

We need that hanging in our hearts. God is at work. You cannot see what He's doing. We don't know, and He doesn't owe us an explanation, but He is at work. 

We can never exhaust or fully explore the ways of God. We cannot see the end. We cannot see the outcome. We cannot fathom the means that God has devised to fulfill His holy purposes.

Now, in verses 34 and 35, Paul goes on to ask three questions. They’re rhetorical questions, and the answer to each question is the same.

Verse 34, “For who has known the mind of the Lord?” What’s the answer? Let me hear you. No one has known the mind of the Lord.

Or, second question, “Who has been His counselor?” What’s the answer? No one has been God’s counselor. Isaiah 40 tells us, “Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows Him his counsel?” No one!

Third question, “Who has given a gift to Him,” to God, “that He might be repaid?” What’s the answer? No one. Job 41, “Who has first given to Me,” God says, “that I shall repay him? Whatever is under the whole Heaven is mine” (v. 11).

So how can we give anything to God and expect that He owes us something? Now, the implications of those three questions are staggering.

If we could just lay hold of this in our hearts, God never needs to consult with anyone about anything. He never needs input. He never needs counsel. He never needs advice, not even mine, not yours. He has limitless wisdom. He is self-sufficient. He is independent. He never needs help. He never needs a hotline. He never has to call directory assistance.

And I’m not trying to be trite, I’m just saying, God needs nothing and no one. He’s complete. He doesn’t need anything outside of Himself.

Now, how opposite are we? We are utterly, totally, absolutely, dependent. You say, “Well, I’m sitting here.” How are you breathing? It’s God on whom we depend for every breath. We need Him. He doesn’t need us. We can’t tell Him what to do. He makes no mistakes. He’s not indebted to anyone. He does not owe us anything.

As I’ve been pondering that, the obvious question in my own heart is, “So why do I get so bent out of shape when things don’t go my way?” As if God owed me something. He owes us nothing. We owe Him everything.

Nothing ever occurs to God. Nothing ever surprises Him. He never has to scramble to come up with a solution. He never has an emergency come up. He knows everything. He foresees everything.

I was thinking about the news this morning and it struck me that God doesn't follow current events. God determines all events—past, present, and future. He never has to figure out what His next move will be.

So what does that mean? It means there’s no place for criticism, or doubt, or fear, or anger, or second-guessing, or arguing, or disputing God’s choices.

Ladies, we’ve got to get it into our heads and hearts, He is God, and we are not.

There’s no place for criticism, doubt, fear, anger, second-guessing, or disputing God’s choices.

Leslie: God knows everything.  When that truly sinks in, it will leave you in awe.  And it will require a response from your life. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been helping us focus on the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. She delivered that message at True Woman '08, an historic gathering that sparked a True Woman Movement in the hearts, homes and churches of women across the country and around the world. She delivered that message exactly ten years ago today. 

Since the first one in 2008, seven more True Woman conferences have followed, affecting thousands of women who have gathered in person, and hundreds of thousands more have joined via livestream around the world. All this ministry is possible thanks to listeners who support Revive Our Hearts with prayers and financial gifts. When you choose to give to this ministry, you’re choosing to be a part of all that God is doing through Revive Our Hearts.

Today, when you give a gift of any amount, we’ll say “thanks” by sending you the brand-new 2019 wall calendar. This thirteen-month calendar follows the chapter themes from a book Nancy co-wrote called, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. Each page features floral artwork and hand lettering created by the Revive Our Hearts design team.

Ask for the 2019 wall calendar when you make a donation at ReviveOurHearts.com, or you can call us at 1–800–569–5959.

One final thought. Nancy says marriage is a powerful picture of your ultimate relationship.

Nancy: Married to Christ, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, and a lot of people are going to be finding out in the days ahead, “Did we really love Christ for who He is, or were we paid lovers, loving Him for what He can give us?”

Leslie: Hear more tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to know that God sees you, knows you, and loves you. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture was taken from the English Standard Version.

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