Monday, 29 August 2016
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, Ephesians 3:20
Paul bursts into a doxology of praise as he is often seen to do. As he writes his epistles, it is apparent that the process of writing (or dictating) his thoughts helps him to unpackage the wonder of what God has done in Christ. His emotions rise to such a crescendo that he literally bursts out with words of praise. Such is the case here as he ponders the enormity of what God has done.
The words, “Now to Him,” are speaking of God the Father as seen in verse 14. It is He “who is able to do exceedingly abundantly.” This is a compound adverb which is only found here and twice in 1 Thessalonians. It shows the incomprehensible nature of what God can do. What is done by Him is beyond anything which could have been expected or anticipated. Vincent’s Word studies argues that these words are an independent clause –
“Read the whole, ‘Unto Him who is able to do beyond all, exceedingly above that which,’ etc.” Vincent’s Word Studies
In other words, they are a contemplative thought of Paul which stops short because of an inability to continue for a moment. It would be as if someone were thinking on the marvel of what God is. In doing so, he stops and says, “God is so great; amazingly marvelously great… greater than I can describe!”
From that high note, he recovers himself and then continues on with the superlative nature of what God is capable of doing. He says, “…above all that we ask or think.” When we petition God for the most incredible of things, God is able to meet those prayers and even go beyond what we have asked for. And while praying, our thoughts are on our highest hopes. But God’s ability to perform exceeds even those highest of hopes.
However, it is important to remember that Paul ties “ask” and “think” in with what God is “able” to do, not with what He will actually do. Sometimes our prayers are not in accord with His Divine will. If this is the case, then we cannot expect that they will be answered in the way we wish. Rather, what He is able to do is “according to the power that works in us.”
God is working in us according to His will and His predetermined end. There are times when our desires meet that will, and there are times when they will not. But through it all, His magnificent will is being worked out and we will realize the superlative nature of His workings at the end.
Life application: God is God; we are man. Let us always make our petitions known to God in humility and with high expectation, but let us also acknowledge to Him that “Your will be done, O God.” We should never “claim” anything in His name. It is presumptuous and arrogant to do so. Instead, let us allow Him to direct His will without us snapping fingers of pride.
Heavenly Father, thank You for meeting every need of ours according to Your great wisdom. Thank You for perfectly aligning Your will with our lives so that what You have planned will come out as it should. And because it is Your plan, keep us from presumptuous displays of pride by “claiming” anything in Your name. Instead, let us remember that You are God and You alone will decide what prayers will be answered as we desire. When things don’t come out as we hope, grant us the ability to say, “Your will be done, O God.” Surely with this You will be pleased. Amen.