Verse of the Day Devotion Isaiah 55:8
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.” – Isaiah 55:8
Our focus verse addresses the idea that we as mankind are absolutely different from God. This, along with verse nine show just how much we differ, in everything. Let us go back one verse and take a look at our major difference. “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7. Here we see the distinct difference between the two: man’s sinfulness and God’s compassion.
Just how different are God’s thoughts and ways from those of people on earth? “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9. Notice the link here. His thoughts are above our thoughts, and His ways are above our ways. And this contrast between God and mankind is compared to the distance between the heavens and the earth. Just to give some context Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to our solar system is located 25 trillion miles away. It takes light just over four years to reach earth. Now this may seem like a large distance, however, the next closest sun-like star is actually three times farther then Alpha Centauri. Thus, it would take twelve years to arrive. And these are but two stars. When we look into the sky at night, we see an incredible number of stars which are but a tiny percentage of all the stars in the heavens. And many of the stars are so far away we will never see the light from them.
Now this is a huge distance between the heavens and the earth. Such a comparison might make one wonder if there is anything that is similar between the thoughts of God and the common man. Surely there are few similarities between God and the wicked, but there are some similarities between the righteous believer who reads or hears about God’s thoughts and ways and attempts to live a life consistent with God’s instructions. Nevertheless, even with these few similarities with the righteous, it is not hard to accept the idea that God’s plans and purposes are exceedingly higher than anything the smartest righteous person has ever thought or imagined. But is this text referring to all God’s thoughts and plans or to a specific topic? Since nothing specific is mentioned, one could suggest that this is a broad principle that applies to all areas of life and thinking. Yet the contextual reference to God’s compassion and forgiveness of sins as seen above in verses 6-7 indicates that the divine plan of redemption is the supreme example of God’s higher thoughts and ways. Some people have a hard time being compassionate toward good people, and most find it hard to be merciful to extremely wicked people. Most people have difficulty truly forgiving those who wrong them, but God is willing to love the most unlovely and ungodly, even forgive those who do unforgivable evil against others and blaspheme the name of God, if they come to Him and truly repent.
We who are followers of God must strive to live as He desires us to live. We will never, in all ways, think like He thinks or make His ways our ways. Yes, the point here is to assert that the ways of iniquity and wickedness are to be rejected precisely because they are not God’s ways does not rule out the recognition that forgiveness and pardon are not normally human thoughts and ways either. “Yet you say, The way of the Lord is not right. Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. But the house of Israel says, The way of the Lord is not right. Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right?” Ezekiel 18:25-29.
But we can, and must, make it our goal to move in that direction. When we are truly saved it is important that we make His ways our ways. “The one who says, I have come to know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” 1 John 2:5-6. Let us all strive to walk as He walked, loving all people no matter how they treat us, and do all He has called us to do. We may fail at times but knowing He will forgive us gives us the opportunity to grow in His ways and become more like Christ day by day.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.