The Deep Things Of God
June 12, 2019
In our modern culture, we have a saying to describe the intensity and thoroughness of a person’s intellect or wisdom. We often describe those who are unusually smart or make profound statements as “deep.” This phrase usually describes people or principles that provoke thought, requiring others to really engage in mental exercise to consider the full meaning of what is said. Those who are “deep” or statements that are “deep” often require reflection to know the true meaning of what is being said. Instances that are “deep” might have various “levels” of meaning, making them complex in nature. There might be a “surface” level that is simple and easy to understand, but upon further examination, there might be other “hidden” meanings that express things more thoroughly, creatively, or intellectually. In modern culture, we recognize that it is a rarity to find “deep” people or to hear “deep” statements, showing that “depth” is not usually a part of normal and casual conversation of daily activity. Often times the pace of life can make it so that it is filled with the shallow and mundane, requiring us to give little thought to things at all. Depth is something out of the ordinary, which is often why we need to pause for a moment to understand that which is defined as “deep.”
The Bible uses these same principles in a physical sense to explain the greatness of God. For example, in Job 38:16-18, God used literal “deep” measurements and scope to explain the vastness of His complexity. The Bible teaches that God is so “deep” that His ways are past finding out. Even if we were to stop the progress of our lives forever to consider God, we would never understand the essence of His nature, power, and wisdom. The dynamics of life in this world severely cripples us from truly knowing the “depths” of God’s glory and goodness. There are so many factors that are natural to our lives that keep us from seeing, hearing, and understanding the truth about God’s nature. Yet, God desires to make Himself known, and so He has done things in certain ways in this world to provide examples about the extent of His greatness. When God addressed Job in order to humble him, God pointed to some of these “deep” things to remind Job of how small he was, and thus, unqualified to criticize God or demand things of Him.
God’s first question to Job dealt with the depths of the seas. God had already asked Job about the oceans of the world, the workings of their waves, and the power known by the extent of water in our world. God has charge over all of it. In Job 38:16-18, God spoke specifically about how deep the seas are, referring to the literal measurements of the ocean floors. Do we know exactly how deep the deepest parts of our oceans and seas are? Have we explored every inch of deep water space to know how far down it goes and how things work down there? Over the years, scientists have found out the hard way that the human body is not equipped to deal with the intense pressures associated with deep waters.
We cannot freely walk on the grounds of the deep ocean floors, but God can. In Psalm 77:19, the Bible says:
“Your way [was] in the sea, Your path in the great waters, and Your footsteps were not known.”
The depths of the seas are unnatural to human life. We can’t dwell there. We can’t walk there. We can’t even fully explore there. God does not have these limitations. God is able to dwell where we can’t. God is able to walk where we can’t. God is able to explore the depths of all deep places, literal and spiritual. In this way, the Bible clearly shows that God’s power, ability, and wisdom is far greater than any human being. He is not like us. He is not limited in scope or ability. There is no place where God cannot go, see, know, and deal with. For this reason, He alone is qualified to deal with the “deep” things of life, especially spiritual matters that seem to baffle the human mind. If the plain things of the ocean that are free to see to people every day of the week are so beyond us, how can we know “deeper” things of a spiritual nature?
The ocean floors have been around since the beginning, yet we’re still trying to see what’s been there, and can’t. God referred to the hidden tunnels or “storehouses” far beneath the earth’s crust that house and transport water around the world. Though we now know of these channels and passages, we can’t freely dive into them to travel, explore, or entertain. This was a basic mechanism of God’s wisdom when He created the world and developed the processes by which the world would work. How then can we know the depths of the heart? How can we know the hidden things of God that stem from the glory of His kingdom? If we can’t get to the depths of a couple of miles within the oceans and seas in a physical sense, how much more limited are we to speak with authority concerning that which we can’t see?
If we can’t get a couple miles “deep,” how can we go deeper into the abyss of Hades? God asked the question, “Have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?” First, notice that death is like a shadow. We know its general form, but no one knows the details of its face. We know people die, but no one knows the day, hour, or manner in which death will come. The Bible teaches that it is appointed for all people to die once, and then the judgment. However, are we really able to explain the “depths” of that statement? The world can’t even agree on what death really is because no one has died, examined the effects and experiences, and come back to document the findings. There have been many in human history that claim to have contact with the dead, yet so many people fear the uncertainty of death. If some are so certain about life after death, why are so many others afraid of what it will be like?
According to the Bible, only One is qualified to speak of death in truth. Only One has been to the gates of Hades and come back from the grave to testify of the truth about death; and when He did so, He took the keys from Death and Hades, and holds them in His hands now. Only One has shown the ability to face death and defeat it to testify of what it is all about – Jesus the Christ. Though He rose others from the dead, we don’t have their testimonies to describe the essence of what death is. Still, those people died again showing that for all they might have known of death, they didn’t understand the means by which anyone gets to its doors, lest they would have escaped death the second time around. They didn’t.
Who has gone to the doors of death, examined the make of the door, the structure of death’s home, and come back to tell us about it? For all of the testimonies of “after-life experiences,” none of us who remain alive can validate their claims because we can’t freely visit death at our will. There have even been many who tried to take their own lives prematurely and failed. They tried to visit death on their own terms, and He who has command over the living and the dead prohibited them from achieving their goal. Recall that even Job wanted to die in order to end the suffering of his diseases. He was assured by the promise of eternal life in the presence of God, but clearly did not have the authority to usher himself into the presence of God according to His promises to the faithful. We can’t get to the bottom of the ocean floors. We can’t go deeper into the center of the world where Hades is (Luke 16:19-31) to see what’s happening in the spirit realm, and who is there. When Jesus testified of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke Chapter 16, He clearly taught that even those who have been through the doors of death do not have the power, ability, control, or wisdom to change their circumstances. There are some who are comforted by the promises of God until the fulfillment of them in Jesus Christ. There are some who are in torment awaiting final judgment unto condemnation by Jesus Christ. Neither is able to change their condition. Even after going down to “the deep,” no one can freely come up to the surface, even if it is for good reason to warn those about the finality of death and the consequences that follow in eternity.
Next, God asked Job if he had ever really considered the “breadth” of the earth’s surface. By this statement, we see that “depth” goes up and down, and also side to side! It is not just that the world is deep from a vertical standpoint, but depth of God’s power, wisdom, and control is also communicated in the vastness of our world. At the time of Job, there was no understanding of the world’s topography like we know today. The Americas were newly discovered less than 1,000 years ago. When the ancient empires of the world ruled, they figured to have conquered the whole “known world.” Today, we know that the scope of their influence was a small percentage of the real known world. According to God, Job had not considered the vastness of the world’s surface because it is so large to consider. Though we can estimate the size of the landmasses on earth, and guess their dimensions in depth and weight, no one really knows. Do we know the exact dimensions of our continent, let alone all of the landmasses in the world? Then, when we consider that the world changes its scope subtly every day with water erosions, windstorms, and other natural occurrences that makes today’s knowledge different tomorrow, who can really know? God can. God does.
When God brought these points up to Job, He provided practical examples of how “deep” He really is. There is so much about the world we live in, that we can see and experience with the senses, yet know so little about. There are things of this world and the principles of it, that we are totally restricted from knowing and understanding. We don’t have control over this world. We don’t fully understand the “depths” of what can be known of this world. How much more disqualified are we from knowing the depths of the spiritual world? Mankind has sought to avoid death for the longest time, yet no one has been able to get to death’s door to shut it and lock death in. With all of this said, do we really think we are able to contend with God about the workings of our lives? Can we really complain to God as if we know better than He who can walk the depths of the seas, holds the keys to Hades and Death, and holds the vast surface of our planet together with the spread of His hand? Can we really complain against God because we don’t like what’s happening in our lives, as if our ways are better than His? Can we really approach life with spite and frustration because plans we made aren’t going the way we thought if God has clearly shown the extent of His control over all things? When our minds and hearts start to wander off into the land of “self-righteousness” or “self-entitlement,” these are the things of God that we need to remember so as to humble ourselves before the God who has no weaknesses, no limitations, no flaws, and no imperfections of any kind. He alone is God and there is no other like Him!