Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah 55:6-9’

God’s thoughts and God’s ways

October 13, 2018

Today’s blog post entry combines the Verse of the Day for October 13, 2018 found in Jeremiah 29-11 with comments on a related verse from Isaiah 55:8.

As one of the most popular verses of the day, Jeremiah 29:11 appears on greeting cards, plaques, placards, and wall hangings of every kind. Believers rejoice in anticipating to see God’s plans for their lives unfold in glorious ways. Here is the New International Version of the widely recognized verse:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

To understand more fully the magnitude of God’s declaration, take a look at the context of the verse taken from Jeremiah 29:11-14:

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

The words of Jeremiah were specifically addressed to Israel concerning their release from Babylonian captivity after seventy years of enduring unimaginable pain and suffering, shame and humiliation as a result of their rebellion and disobedience. As we read the passage, we recognize the truth expressed in Romans 15:4:

Whatsoever things were written aforetime, were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.

The prophetic word from Jeremiah can certainly have personal application, in that the plans that God has for each of His children are no less grand than those He has for the Children of Israel. We must recognize, however, that those plans may not unfold in the way that we think they should at the time when we think they should. The Scriptures remind us: As for God, His way is perfect. The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30).

The passage from Jeremiah 29 which speaks of the thoughts of God toward the people of God also brings to mind Isaiah 55:7-9

7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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.

This passage describes the mind of God, explaining that His thoughts are far beyond our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 was also the inspiration for this expression of our desire that God will lead, guide, and direct us:

O Lord, prepare the way, straighten our path, and order our steps.
Shine your light upon us that we may not stumble,
That we may not walk in the light of our own sparks,
But illumine our way with the lamp of Your Word.
O Lord, direct our hearts into the love of God
And into the patient waiting for Jesus Christ.
Raise us up in righteousness and direct all our ways,
As we acknowledge Your thoughts are not our thoughts,
Neither are Your ways our ways, O Lord.

As we ask God for guidance and direction, He will lead us, teaching  us along the path that continues to unfold as a light shining more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18). Jeremiah 29:11-13 also informs us of God’s concern for our future or “final outcome”, so that we need have no fear for our future.

Damaris Carbaugh shares “I Know the Plans” (Debby’s Song) a musical reminder of Jeremiah 29:11

We close this entry, as we listen to this Christian Worship and Scripture Song based on Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord

October 5, 2018

The Verse of the Day for October 5, 2018 comes from Isaiah 55:6, but to round out the context, we add verses 7-9:

Isaiah 55:6-9 (Revised Standard Version):

“Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, says 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.

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.

Previous blog posts on this passage have focused on the distinction between the ways of God and the ways of man. Today, however, we would like to emphasize the opening exhortation from verse 5 to “Seek the Lord.” This expression appears in the Psalms and elsewhere as a reminder of where our focus should be as believers.

To seek is to pursue, to put forth a diligent effort. The Psalmist also encourages us in this way:

Psalm 105:3-4

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his presence continually!

In the Gospels Jesus Christ encourages his followers not only to seek but to ask and to knock as well:

Matthew 7:7-8 (New Living Translation)

[Effective Prayer] “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

This celebrated passage reveals that seeking will be rewarded, as expressed in the lyrics to this song shown as an acrostic poem that spells out the word “ask,” the first three letters of which form the three verbs found in verse 7.

Ask and it shall be given you;
Seek and you shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened unto to you.

Ask, seek and knock.
Ask, seek and knock.

For everyone who asks receives
He who seeks finds
And to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

Ask, seek and knock.
Ask, seek and knock.

Certainly this principle applies when seeking the Lord: that those who seek the Lord will find Him. Hosea speaks of a time when seeking the Lord will be rewarded:

Hosea 10:12

Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain salvation upon you.

Reflecting on the Verse of the Day inspired this response:

Seek the Lord

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;
Isaiah 55:6

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon Him while He is near;
Draw close; abide in the fullness of His presence. Have no fear
Come boldly before Him to find grace to help in time of need,
Trust the surety of His promises, and you will succeed.
Keep your ears near to the lips of God that you might clearly hear.

With more than enough to restore each loss, no matter how severe,
As a good shepherd provides, the Lord, our God, supplies each need.
Seek the Lord while he may be found.

As the Day Star rises and the hope of Christ’s return draws near,
Continue to move ahead as pioneers on a love frontier.
Trust in the Lord and follow His will wherever it may lead
God is always speaking that we might not only hear but heed.
Fight the good fight of faith as you stand to the end: persevere.
Seek the Lord while he may be found.

We conclude with a Christian Worship and Scripture Song from Isaiah 55:6-9:

The ways of God: The ways of man

October 5, 2016

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:

His thoughts and ours; His ways and ours

March 3, 2016

isaiah-55 8-9

The Verse of the Day for March 3, 2016 is taken from Isaiah 55: 8-9 (AMP):

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts 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, a lifestyle.

The expression “the ways of God” also brings to mind a previous blog entry in which I discussed “The Will of God,” using the analogy of the will of God being a road, a path or a way, looking at the Hebrew word derek which is translated “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, a lifestyle.

In the New Testament, the Greek word hodos is translated “a way, a traveled way, road, and when used as a metaphor it means “a course of conduct” “a way (i.e., manner of thinking, feeling, deciding. It is used 100 times with 54 of those times the word is translated “way.”

Even though God’s ways are far removed from our ways, being higher than the heavens above, He desires that we might know Him and follow in the way or the path that He sets before us. As believers we echo the sentiments of the Psalmist, who says:

Psalm 25:4

Let me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.

We are reminded to consider our ways and to follow the path of truth that God sets before His people. That path is so plain and easy to follow for those who seek to find it. Isaiah 35:8 puts it this way:

And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

Proverbs 4:26 also exhorts believers to take note of the path, the road, the direction that they choose to follow:

Consider well and watch carefully the path of your feet, And all your ways will be steadfast and sure.

We think of some of the lyrics to the children’s ministry song “O Be Careful Little Eyes,” which also encourage us to ponder the paths that we choose to follow:

O be careful little feet where you go
O be careful little feet where you go
For the Father up above is looking down with love.’
O be careful little feet where you go.

God, our Father, in His grace and lovingkindness allows us to choose the path or the way that we will follow. The well-known poem by John Oxenham also reiterates this truth:

The Ways

To every man there openeth
A Way, and Ways, and a Way.
And the High Soul climbs the High Way,
And the Low Soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A High Way, and a Low.
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go.

Our ultimate desire should be to know God intimately and personally to know His ways, as the lyrics to “Seekers of Your Heart” remind us:

Lord, we want to know you,
Live our lives to show you
All the debt we owe you
We’re seekers of your heart.

We desire not only to know the works of God’s hand, but like Moses, we seek to know His ways, to know Him, in a deeply personal and intimate way. Psalm 103: 7 reveals that God made known His acts unto the Children of Israel, who witnessed firsthand the parting of the Red Sea and crossing of the Jordan at full tide; they not only saw manna from heaven, but they also partook of its sweetness as displays of the ways of God Almighty.

Moses, on the other hand, not only beheld the mighty works of Jehovah God, but Moses differed from those whom he led through the wilderness in that he had a most intimate relationship with the Lord, described this way in Exodus 33:11a (AMP):

And so the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.

Exodus 33:13 reveals Moses’ request to the Lord:

Now therefore, I pray you, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways so that I may know You [becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, recognizing and understanding Your ways more clearly] and that I may find grace and favor in Your sight. And consider also, that this nation is Your people.”

In a similar manner, as believers who hunger and thirst after righteousness, with an insatiable desire to ever abide in the presence of God, we also yearn to know the ways of God, ever pressing to know

The Way You Speak

So the LORD spoke to Moses face to face,
as a man speaks to his friend. . . .
Exodus 33:11a

Open our ears to do more than just hear
Your voice but also teach us to listen,
Though the flow of tears at times may glisten
Our face. Teach us to recognize those clear,
Familiar words You whisper in our ear.
As our teacher, help us not to hasten
Each lesson, even the times you chasten,
While reassuring and holding us near.
In seeking to dwell in Your hiding place,
Our deepest yearning is to understand,
As we listen to hear each word You say.
Even as Moses knew you face to face,
So we long to know the way you speak and
Not question nor doubt but only obey.

As committed believers, we are ever seeking to follow the will of God, to follow the path or the way that He desires us to pursue. 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 consider our ways and choose to follow the path of truth. When we choose to follow that path, we take comfort in knowing that as for God, His way is perfect. 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:

The ways of God: the path of truth

March 3, 2015

isaiah-55 8-9

The Verse of the Day for March 3, 2015 is taken from Isaiah 55: 8-9 (NIV):

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts 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, a lifestyle.

The expression “the ways of God” also brings to mind another blog entry in which I discussed “The Will of God,” using the analogy of the will of God being a road, a path or a way, looking at the Hebrew word derek which is translated “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, a lifestyle.

In the New Testament, the Greek word hodos is translated “a way, a travelled way, road, and when used as a metaphor it means “a course of conduct” “a way (i.e., manner of thinking, feeling, deciding. It is used 100 times with 54 of those times the word is translated “way.”

In “Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?” a poetic expression of my personal testimony, I refer to “the path of truth”:

Stumblin down the road of life,

I was wastin all my youth,

Then took a right turn to Jesus Christ;

Now I’m walkin the path of truth.

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?

In one of a series of posts on the Will of God, I spoke of the will of God as the road less travelled, referring to the often quoted poem by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken.” Most remarkably I first committed that poem to memory as a junior in high school, back in the middle of the Twentieth Century. I still know the poem by heart and recognize more clearly than ever its application to my life at this time, as I incorporate a reference to Frost in this poem:

The Will of God: the Road Less Traveled by

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

 

The Road Not Taken

—Robert Frost

 

 

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,

but let God transform you into a new person

by changing the way you think. Then you will learn

to know God’s will for you, which is good and

pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)

 

I begin again this year of my jubilee.

Reflecting on life’s journey, I cannot deny

That the will of God is the road less travelled by:

To choose to serve, even though having been set free.

The straight and narrow way I once again select

I press on while still striving toward the highest good.

In this place we renew our covenant of blood,

Reassured that “As for God His way is perfect.”

I see clearly with new eyes where our paths have led.

In the midst of turbulent times I remain still,

Proving that good and acceptable and perfect will.

I look back, waiting in the now, then look ahead.

Each day God offers another chance to commence:

The choice to do God’s will makes all the difference.

Reflecting on life’s journey, I cannot deny

That the will of God is the road less traveled by.traight and narrow way I once again select.

 

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, taking the “road less traveled by.” When we choose to follow that path, we take comfort in knowing that as for God, His way is perfect. 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:

 

 

My thoughts are not your thougnts. . .

October 6, 2014

Isaiah 55--7-8

The Verse of the Day for October 5, 2014 is found in Isaiah 55:6:

 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

To more fully understand what the Lord is saying, let’s take a look at verses 7-9 as well:

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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.

This passage describes the mind of God, explaining that His thoughts are far beyond our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 was also the inspiration for a poetic piece composed five years ago:

We Ask Why

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

 

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary

to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly

him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

Ecclesiastes 10:1

 

Though God is able to do above all we ask or think,

Our lives may still unfold in ways that we cannot explain,

As dead flies cause the apothecary’s ointment to stink,

So we ask why until the day when all shall be made plain.

Watching and waiting in hope while poised on the very brink

Of disaster, as our pathways seem to lead to defeat;

We seek the favor of God to reverse the curse and turn

The hearts of fathers to sons that our joy may be complete.

As patient farmers wait for the former and latter rain,

We fix our eyes toward Eastern skies, for Christ shall return again,

When angelic reapers shall separate tares from the wheat,

And every knee shall bow before the mighty Judgment Seat.

We write the pages of our history, though not with pen and ink,

As we find that the Lord’s return is much closer than we think.

 

In reflecting on the verses from Isaiah 55, a related message from Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind, further illustrating the thoughts that God has toward us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

This passage was the inspiration for the recent blog entry: I Know the Plans

Listen to this Christian Worship and Scripture Song based on Isaiah 55:6-9

God’s thoughts and our thoughts

March 3, 2014

isaiah-55 8-9The Verse of the Day for March 3, 2014 is found in Isaiah 55:8-9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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.

This passage describes the mind of God, explaining that His thoughts are far beyond our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8 was also the inspiration for a poetic piece composed five years ago:

We Ask Why

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

 neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8

 

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary

 to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly

 him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.

 Ecclesiastes 10:1

 

Though God is able to do above all we ask or think,

Our lives may still unfold in ways that we cannot explain,

As dead flies cause the apothecary’s ointment to stink,

And we ask why until the day when all shall be made plain.

Watching and waiting in hope while poised on the very brink

Of disaster, as our pathways seem to lead to defeat;

We seek the favor of God to reverse the curse and turn

The hearts of fathers to sons that our joy may be complete.

As patient farmers wait for the former and latter rain,

We fix our eyes toward Eastern skies, for Christ shall return again,

When angelic reapers shall separate tares from the wheat,

And every knee shall bow before the mighty Judgment Seat.

As we write pages of our history, though not with pen and ink,

We find that the Lord’s return is much closer than we may think.

 

In reflecting on the verses from Isaiah 55, a related message from Jeremiah 29:11 came to mind, further illustrating the thoughts that God has toward us.

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

This passage was the inspiration for the recent blog entry: I Know the Plans

Listen to this Christian Worship and Scripture Song based on Isaiah 55:6-9