St. Paul puts three questions – each one progressing deeper into the matter. All three questions are to be answered in the negative. Nobody has known the mind of the Lord, with which he led the various nations through history. Nobody was his counselor in determining the course of history either. Finally nobody has any merit or worthiness which God needs to repay either. His unspeakable goodness and wonderful providence are totally unwarranted and unearned by us and purely given, granted and implemented out of fatherly goodness, divine mercy and unfathomable love. His judgments are entirely righteous and he deals with us people without favoritism, yet all good, beauty and help we receive so bountifully is totally undeserved and remains utterly due to grace alone – nothing but grace, love and mercy. The apostle recognizes this and in this conviction he lauds and magnifies the name of the Lord, praising him and giving thanks to him alone.
Oh God and Father in heaven! You have revealed yourself to your congregation here on earth, that they would know and recognize your fatherly goodness and unfathomable mercy. We thank you for your holy word by which you have revealed yourself from the early days of the apostles and prophets and you have preserved these gracious revelations throughout the generations. We pray: Grant us your Holy Spirit that he will rekindle in us your true light of knowledge and understanding, that we trust and believe your goodness more and more, hold on to your gracious gospel more fervently and be comforted ever more deeply by your promises. Oh God, speak to us through your holy word in good and bad times, in joy and sorrow, in life and death. Let it be the light, that shines on our path and leads us through all darkness into your heavenly kingdom, where we will see, what we here believe. Amen. (E. Linderholm)
All praise your works of wisdom, love, grace and strength that surpass all understanding. Faithfulness, longsuffering, light and blessing mark your ways o Lord. No praise ever sufficiently promotes your worth o God, yet you have engraved it into all your creation. Amen, Amen – we are yours too and join in your magnification: You oh God are our God alone! (Gerhard Tersteegen 1697-1769)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the festival of Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 219 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.