“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55.8-9).
This is an incredible passage, clearly declaring that God’s ways and thoughts are so much more incredible than those originating from man. These words of God, spoken by Isaiah the prophet, help us understand that Isaiah was not speaking words he had created but was merely delivering the message of God as God gave it to him. Being that Isaiah was delivering a difficult message, this was important to understand. God’s message was not hard to comprehend, but hard to accept, since it was a message calling unrighteous people to repent and make themselves right with God.
This is not saying that God’s words and ways are incomprehensible. One time, while sharing the Gospel message with a young man, I asked him if he understood what I was sharing with him from God’s Word. His response still baffles me. He said that he was confident that what I was sharing with him could not be true because it made sense. I asked for clarification, and he explained that since God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts, he was confident that he would never be able to understand it. Therefore, since the message I was sharing with him made sense, he was convinced it was incorrect.
This is not what God is saying through Isaiah. If that were true, why even have Isaiah prophecy? If no one could understand God’s call to repentance because it was unintelligible to our small human intellect, why even ask man to repent? Why even have the Bible in this case? We know that God is not the God of confusion (cf. 1 Corinthians 14.33).
Rather, God expects us to understand His message. God expects belief, which requires understanding (cf. John 3.16). God expects obedience, which requires understanding (cf. Hebrews 5.9). God expects submission to His will, which requires understanding (cf. James 4.7). Example after example is given to us through the Bible of people hearing God’s message, believing its truth, and acting based on their belief. One great example of this is in Acts 2 on the Day of Pentecost. After preaching a sermon, including Old Testament quotes and application of different prophecies, we are told:
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2.37-41).
Clearly the people heard Peter’s message and the Scriptures and understood. They were affected emotionally by the message. They were convicted to change their lives. It even says “they received his word.” We are told by Paul later that we are to, “understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5.17).
While God’s ways and thoughts are higher than our ways and thoughts, God has communicated His ways and thoughts in ways we can understand them. God wants us to know His Words.
We hope you will desire to know the incredible thoughts of God. He wants you to know them because He knows that they will make a difference in your life. He knows they can also make a difference in your eternal life that will follow this temporary, physical life. If you get a chance, join us to study the Bible or continue to study God’s Word on your own. Let us know how we can help you in your studies.