The ways of God: The ways of man

Isaiah 55--7-8

The Verse of the Day for October 5, 2016 is found in Isaiah 55:5-6, but to round out the context, verses 7-9 are added:

Isaiah 55:5-9 (MSG)

Seek God while he’s here to be found,
pray to him while he’s close at hand.
Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.
Let them come back to God, who is merciful,
come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.

8-11 “I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”
God’s Decree.
“For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

Seek the LORD while you can find him. Call on him now while he is near.  7 Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.  8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.  9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

These verses point out the distinction between the thoughts and ways of God and the thoughts and ways of people. In previous blog entries, I discuss the term “way” which in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew word derek, meaning “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner.” It is also referred to as direction, manner, habit, way of life, a course of life or mode of action, and a lifestyle. We speak of the expression “the ways of God” and “the ways of man.”

There is a notable contrast between the “ways of God” and the “ways of man.” 2 Samuel 22:31 and Psalm 18:30 provide the same rendering in the New King Version:

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Jeremiah 10:23 provides this reminder:

O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

The Prophet Isaiah also makes known:  All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way;

The difference is striking, indeed. The ways of God are righteous altogether; whereas the way of man are wicked and unrighteous.

Another verse from the Old Testament also points out  one of God’s promises to His people:

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NLT):

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

The Verse of the Day from Isaiah 55 encourages the people of God to turn from their own unrighteous ways and follow the ways of God who is rich in mercy and who will abundantly pardon.

In one of a series of posts on the will of God, I spoke of the will of God as path that believers should ever seek to follow. To follow the will of God is to decide which path we are going to take. Many times it is easier to follow our own path and seek our own way rather than God’s way or God’s will. Like the Psalmist, we should choose to follow the path of truth, and when we choose to follow that path, we take comfort in knowing that as for God, His way is perfect. The following poem also provides assurance as to where the path that is the will of God will take us.

 The Will of God

Author: Unknown
The will of God will never take you,
Where the grace of God cannot keep you.
Where the arms of God cannot support you,
Where the riches of God cannot supply your needs,
Where the power of God cannot endow you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the spirit of God cannot work through you,
Where the wisdom of God cannot teach you,
Where the army of God cannot protect you,
Where the hands of God cannot mold you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the love of God cannot enfold you,
Where the mercies of God cannot sustain you,
Where the peace of God cannot calm your fears,
Where the authority of God cannot overrule for you.

The will of God will never take you,
Where the comfort of God cannot dry your tears,
Where the Word of God cannot feed you,
Where the miracles of God cannot be done for you,
Where the omnipresence of God cannot find you.

We conclude with musical summary of the Verse of the Day:  Indeed, His thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways, as this Christian Worship and Scripture Song from Isaiah 55:6-9 reminds us:

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