July 5, 2010

Those Lovely Prepositions

Every word of God is tested”. So says the wise man in Proverbs 30.5. And, says the One who is wisdom personified, “man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4.4). And what that tells me is that we really ought to pay attention to all the words of Scripture … every jot and tittle, as Jesus put it in Matthew 5.18; every pronoun; every ‘and’, ‘but’, or ‘although’; and every preposition. In fact, if we take seriously the fact that every word of God is our life-bread; that every word has been “tested” and carefully placed exactly where it needs to be, we will discover that, sometimes, the smallest words can make all the difference. Sometimes there can be silver mines full of truth hidden beneath a single two or three-letter word.

Such is the case in Romans 11.36. It’s a rather famous verse. But it’s the prepositions; the short, easily overlooked two and three-letter words that make all the difference. Notice them with me:

For from Him [God] and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Did you see them? The words “from”, “through”, and “to” make this verse what it is! Think of all the treasure that is buried beneath each of those words:

From Him are all things. That one little word carries us back to Genesis 1, where God made all things by the word of His power, and called them good. It carries us to the book of James, where we are reminded that every good and perfect gift comes from above, from the Father of lights (James 1.17). It carries us to the book of Job, where we are reminded that both prosperity and adversity come from the wise, loving hands of God (Job 2.10). Indeed the word “from” carries us to the manger in Bethlehem. For, though Jesus always existed and was not created, in His humanity, He did proceed from the Father. Even Jesus is “from Him”. And so there is a wealth of theology and encouragement to be unearthed beneath the word “from”. It teaches about God’s creative power, His providence, His good gifts, and even His Son!

Through Him are all things. The word “through” surely says some of the same things about God as the word “from”. But it adds a layer. Not only do good gifts come from God, but they come through God. He does not simply create good things. He personally delivers them to His people as well! In other words, god is not a like a watchmaker who winds up a clock and then lets it tick away on its own. That is not at all how God deals with His creation. For, though we can surely say that our watches are from the watchmaker, we cannot really say that every tick of the second hand comes to us through the watchmaker. He just sets the gears in motion … and the batteries make it go. But not so with planet earth! God not only ordained and designed all that is. But He is infinitely involved in every tick of the clock, so to speak. The sun does not rise simply because of gravitational forces and scientific laws that God has created. Those things are true! But God Himself makes the sun rise every day. He actively makes the laws work … every day! He actively makes your heart beat. He actively causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. He is not simply Creator, but Sustainer. All these things come to us, not only from Him, but through Him as He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1.3).

To Him are all things. All things come from God and through God. And all things are created and upheld so that they might reflect glory and praise back to God. The heavens are declaring His glory, says the psalmist. And the rocks will cry out if we do not! So, since all things are from Him and through Him … and since those things are so good, and merciful, and kind … let’s make sure we consciously, willingly reflect His glory back to Him!

“From from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen”!


steve said...

Thank You Kurt,
We will continue to pray for you, that the message you deliver comes entiely from and through Him to help our lives glorify Him.

steve said...

Thank You Kurt,
We will continue to pray for you, that the message you deliver comes entirely from and through Him, to help glorify Him.