34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?”
There are three questions in verses 34 and 35 that come from Scripture. These verses confirm verse 33. The answer to all three questions is “no one.” There are certain things impossible for people to understand.
Verse 34 is a reference to Isaiah 40:13 (LXX). Isaiah 40 declares that God is the sole Designer of the universe. This entire chapter depicts the majesty and glory of God. God’s glorious purpose is a mystery to man because of who and what He is; He so far transcends man’s capacity that there is no way man can fully grasp God’s purpose and plan.
The Old Testament context of the Isaiah quotation is while Israel is in Babylon and filled with apprehension about their lot. The Lord assured Israel that the nations of the world are a drop in the bucket to Him. Just as God promised to save Israel from an impossible situation where they had virtually given up, He would do the same for Jews and Gentiles in Paul’s day. God’s glory can be seen in weakness.
Paul also quoted Isaiah 40:13 in 1 Corinthians 2:16 where he stated that believers have the “mind of Christ.” The preceding verses (2:6-15) argue that no one can know the thoughts of God apart from revelation and inspiration by the Holy Spirit. Although a Christian’s perception of God’s purpose is restricted, he or she can know what aspect of that purpose He revealed. We cannot know God’s plan unaided, but we know it through the Word and illumination of the Holy Spirit.
who has known the mind of the Lord?
No finite human being has the capacity to know the extent of a Person with omniscience. God’s depth of knowledge surpasses mankind’s capacities to grasp fully. He alone has access to what He knows. We would not know that God is love except through the Word.
Because God is absolute, only He can know His mind completely.
The book of Ecclesiastes demonstrates the irrationality of human wisdom apart from God’s Word. Without divine viewpoint, all that remains is recurring cycles of purposelessness. Meaningless evil situations arise in the lives of people.
There is no way to grasp God’s purpose in the ordinary course of events. Many people come to the conclusion that life is pointless. If it is true that there is no rhyme or reason to life, then what “profit” or purpose is there to life? There is no point to anything (Eccl 1:3; 2:11, 22; 3:9; 5:16).
If there is no meaning, then there is no value. What is the ultimate purpose to our business or family (Eccl 2:22f; 5:11)? All human events can be reduced to nothing except envying one another (Eccl 4:4). There is no point to all the sweat we put into life because the whole enterprise is empty (Eccl 1:14).
Many Christians today follow the same path of purposelessness. We spend most of our energy on trivial things. God will not ask us, when we get to glory, how well we manicured our lawn or how much money we saved. Our status in society will be irrelevant when we get to glory. The only way to develop eternal definition in our lives is to go the Bible to discover God’s purpose for our lives. That purpose is to put God at the center of everything we do.
Prov 19: 21 There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.
1 Co 10: 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.