Isaiah 55:8-13 ESV For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, (11) so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (12) “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (13) Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”
I thought about this Scripture this week as I was preparing the Sunday sermon from Jeremiah. The Lord had to correct Jeremiah’s thinking about what needed to be done in the wicked nation of Judah in which he lived. Jeremiah had a fix-it plan and he could not understand why God didn’t wipe out the wicked and restore Judah to peace and godliness.
The Lord’s reply was, essentially, what He says here through Isaiah. This is an amazing passage of Scripture – I may have to use it for next Sunday’s sermon. There is incredible hope here for the Lord’s true people.
First of all, we must understand that we are to walk by faith and not by sight. Faith in the Lord, not faith in what we see or think. His ways are unsearchable and if we start thinking that we have it all figured out as to what He is going to do or as to what He should do, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. Many Christians right now are thinking that God is going to deal with the wicked in America, bring them down, and once again bless this nation. But if we embrace that kind of thinking – what happens? Things don’t go the way we thought. Why? Because God has a different plan and His ways are infinitely higher than ours.
When we are persecuted by an evil person – like a domestic abuser – we pray and pray and often we just “know” that, ok, NOW the Lord is going to do such and such. But it doesn’t go down that way. We are confused, disillusioned, and we ask God…why? You get a glimpse of His answer here in Isaiah. Let me see if I can paraphase a bit-
My word is going to be accomplished. It always is. My decrees and promises always, always, always come about. My purposes will succeed. A Day is coming when you who are oppressed will go out of that oppression with joy. There is a Day coming when the curse and all evildoers will be gone. The entire creation will be renewed. Your grief will end, never to return. It will be so, because My Word effects what it declares.
Our hope therefore has to be on the Lord, not on any man. We must not presume to have it “figured out” in the short term. We KNOW the end to which Christ is taking us – He has already started us on that journey to our new and eternal home. But the specifics of how that is going to fall out – well, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and we need to leave the details to Him.
This is why I reject these preachers and supposed prophets who announce that “God is going to work a great revival in America this year. He is going to deal justice to the wicked. The evils that have plagued this land for decades now are going to come to an end.” Really? Well, what do you suppose is going to happen to people who buy into this stuff when none of it happens? What if God has a different path for us? And you can be sure, it will be a greater path than any of these charlatans dream up. Because-
His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
You can be sure that God is working. He IS taking His people to that joy and peace and a creation that sings when the curse is lifted forever. But the specific path that He takes us on is up to Him.
Psalms 40:4-5 ESV Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! (5) You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told.