The Secrets of the Word

We can't know them, but we benefit from them.

Consider the infinite, multiple power of the seed...Contemplate with your inner eye how in a master many laws of an art or science are one...Contemplate...other similar examples drawn from nature. From the contemplations of will be able to penetrate by the keenness of your mind the secrets of the Word...

  - Eriugena, Homily on John 1.1-14, Irish, 9th century[1]

Then adorn yourself
with majesty and splendor,
And array yourself with glory and beauty.
Disperse the rage of your wrath;
Look on everyone
who is proud, and humble him.
Look on everyone
who is proud, and bring him low;
Tread down the wicked in their place.
Hide them in the dust together,
Bind their faces in hidden
Then I will also confess to you
That your own right hand can save you.

  - Job 40.10-14

No, Job couldn’t do any of that. He’d have to be God to clothe himself with majesty, splendor, glory, and beauty; to fling his anger far and wide; to humble and bring low the proud; and to tread down the wicked and consign them to outer darkness.

Do that, Job, and even God will confess that you have the power to save yourself. But Job could not do that, and he therefore could not save himself, even if he had perfect understanding concerning why all these troubles had come upon him.

We are all like Job when, as troubles arise, we look to the heavens and ask, “Why?” As if we should somehow be privy to all the secrets of the Word.

Job’s problem was that, in his moment of deep crisis, he was not willing to allow God to be God. Instead, he demanded that God become Job, and come down and explain to him in detail why all these bad things were happening.

That way Job could, in effect, become God. He would understand the deep mysteries involved in his trial, the secret counsels of eternal, inscrutable wisdom; and then – when he was, in effect, like God – he could be at peace.

No deal, was the divine reply. Faith does not consist in being God, or even in knowing as much as God knows.

Faith consists, at every moment, in seeing the mysteries of life and being content with going as far as we can in understanding them, without having to understand them completely (Eccl. 3.11). “Why, God?” is the cry of all who are led into the valley of the shadow of death. The answer is the same: “Trust Me. You cannot understand it all. I work all things according to the counsel of My will, and I do all things well. Though you cannot see it, I am working all things together for your good.”

This is where Job finally arrived, trusting in the secret of God’s Word. After God’s verbal tour de force of the creation (Job 38-41), Job was humbled before the immensity of the mystery of God, and of His power and steadfast love. He saw God in a new light by seeing Him in the creation, and he understood what God said, even though the workings of divine wisdom remained beyond his grasp. Understanding as much as he could of God’s Word, he rested in God, leaving the secrets of His Word to Him.

Job realized just how selfish and untrusting he had been, and how presumptuous he was in demanding that God explain things to him. He repented and entered God’s peace, even though nothing in his circumstances had changed, and he had no better sense of why all this was happening to him (Job 42.1-6). He was still grief-stricken, bereft, and miserable, but he was at peace.

We must be content for God to know things we cannot, and believe that He always operates on our behalf, for our good, even though outwardly it may not seem so. Our part is not to try to be God, so that we know everything He does.

Our part is to rest in Him, Who knows all, and to accept His Word and promises, as fully as He has explained them, and to confess our trust in Him.

For Reflection
1. Why is it so hard, when trouble comes, to trust and rest in God?

2. Why can we know peace and rest in the Lord, even in the midst of trials?

Psalm 111.1-3, 10 (Manoah: When All Your Mercies, O My God)
Praise the Lord! O let my heart give thanks here amid His chosen race!
Your works are great, O Lord, and sought by all who know Your grace.

For Your work is full of splendor, Lord, and of majesty most pure;
Your righteousness, O glorious God, forever will endure!

All they who would true wisdom know must learn to fear You, Lord,
and in that wisdom daily live and praise and You evermore.

Give me grace, O Lord, to rest in You in the face of trials, uncertainties, and difficulties, and I will…

Thank You
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T. M. Moore
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All Psalms for singing from
The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Bamford, p. 87.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore