Eye has not seen, ear has not heard
Those who study the works of God seen in the Creation stand in awe of His power and genius. People of no language are deprived of the enlightening speech uttered by His works. Had we a million lifetimes we would never run out of created things to investigate and delight in. But there is a lot more to God than awesome power and infinite intelligence. We can deduce from the staggering premise that God “is infinite” that He has many attributes we know nothing of and have not the words to describe; His attributes are beyond number. However, Scripture does provide us with many insights into the flawless, beautiful character of God that cannot be attained by investigating the material realm. Read the book of Isaiah with wide eyes and open heart and you will come away enriched with invaluable knowledge of the Divine.
Some biblical statements reverberate with possible insights. Take Psalm 138:2 for instance:
I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
What does magnifying His word above His name tell us about God? The Hebrew for “word” here, “ 'imrah ”, could also be translated “utterance, speech, pronouncement” (see, for instance, Genesis 4:23). Perhaps a key to understanding is to be found in verse 4 which tells us that,
All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord, when they hear the words of Your mouth.
Whatever it is that God speaks and that is magnified so highly in verse 2 is most likely the cause of astonishment for earth's kings. This pronouncement will even exceed God's “name”, a term taken to refer to, “His revealed nature as the perfection of truth and other suchlike qualities” (Rev. Dr. A. Cohen,
The Psalms). The same commentator understands that the exaltation of God's utterance above His name means that, “… what He has actually done for us exceeds what we anticipated”. We will take this interpretation as the proper meaning.
So we are talking about some divine utterance that takes the breath away; not, probably, when the words are uttered but when they are fulfilled. Whatever the content of the divine utterance (yet to be revealed, it would seem), its actual implementation in human affairs will be of such a nature that the mightiest men and women on earth will be shocked when they see it fulfilled after having earlier heard it uttered. All their skepticism about Israel's God, the Father of Jesus Christ, will be blown away like straw before a hurricane. Amazingly, many will turn in grateful thanks towards the One True God and begin to sing of His ways (vs. 5). Hallelujah!
Again we ask, what can we learn about God from this passage? Just as eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has in store for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9), in this case the fulfillment of a promised act of deliverance for His people vastly exceeds both the limited capacity of human language to describe and the imagination of the human mind to picture. Though some people are highly skilled in the use of words and others have vivid imaginations, God's “imagination” is infinitely superior to ours. He has plans up His sleeve that we cannot even begin to imagine. Even when He lets us in on the secret ahead of time we cannot fully apprehend just how glorious the “real thing” will be. Probably this incapacity of human beings to grasp what God has in mind is what is intended in Habakkuk 1:5:
Look among the nations and watch — be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days w hich you would not believe, though it were told you.
They would not “believe” it because they could not imagine it.