Posts Tagged ‘the way’

God’s ways and our ways

March 3, 2018

isaiah-55 8-9

Combining and condensing excerpts from two previous blog posts, the Verse of the Day for March 3, 2018 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.

The Message Bible says this:

Isaiah 55:8-9 (MSG)

 “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:

 “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 distinctions between the thoughts and ways of God and the thoughts and ways of people. The term “way” in the Old Testament is translated from the Hebrew word derek, meaning “way, road, path, distance, journey, manner” and also referred to as a 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).

The passage from Isaiah 55 speaks of “the ways of God” and “the ways of man,” as we see a notable contrast between the two.

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.

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.

A series of posts on the will of God also speaks of the will of God as a 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 anonymous 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:

Follow the path of truth: God will make a way

July 21, 2017

In Psalm 119:30 in the Amplified Bible we find the Verse of the Day for July 21, 2017:

I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me.

The New King James Version says this:

I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me.

In the Old Testament the word “way” 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 reference to “the way of truth” brings to mind an earlier 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,” enhances our understanding of this concept. 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.  Used 100 times, the word is translated “way” 54 times.

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

Stumbling down the road of life,
I was wasting all my youth,
Then took a right turn to Jesus Christ;
Now I’m walking the path of truth.

Why Don’t Somebody Help Me Praise the Lord?

Today’s blog entry combines excerpts from two previous posts that speak of a way or path. The first speaks of the will of God as “the road less traveled by,” referring to the often quoted poem by Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken”; the second is entitled “On the way to doing the will of God, God will make a way.” Years ago I also remember one of the vivid descriptions of God, who was said to be “a way maker, who can make a way out of no way.”

In our efforts to walk with the Lord as we seek to do His will, we all encounter challenges and difficult situations that seem impossible to resolve on our own. The Bible reminds us of God’s unfailing power and strength to turn a seemingly impossible situation into a triumphant victory. Isaiah 43:19 declares what God is able to do:

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

The reality of God’s faithfulness brings to mind the vernacular poem “Hand upon the Plow,” offering several examples from the Bible to illustrate that “The Lord will make a way somehow….”

Hand upon the Plow

Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand
to the plow and looks back [to the things behind
is fit for the kingdom of God.
Luke 9:62

“Keep your hand on the plow, hold on!”
–Black Spiritual

When life ain’t like it suppose to be,
Right then and there it occurs to me
Folks been in fixes worse than me,
Right in the Bible where I see:

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

Pharaoh said, “Kill each Hebrew boy,”
But Moses’ Ma was full of joy
Cause Pharaoh’s daughter raised her boy.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

The lions looked so lean and thin
When they throwed Daniel in the den,
But Old Man Daniel didn’t bend.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When Jesus died, God paid the cost
And at that time all seem like lost,
But God planned ahead for Pentecost.
The Lord will make a way somehow.

Paul and Silas didn’t rant and wail
When they throwed both of them in jail.
They called on God, and He didn’t fail.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

When troubles start to bugging you
Remember, there’s just one thing to do:
Look to God and He’ll see you through.
What he did for them, He’ll do for you.

The Lord will make a way somehow.
Just keep your hand upon the plow.

One of the inspirations for the poem is the line from the spiritual “Keep Your Hand on the Plow,” performed in the inimitable manner of the Queen of Gospel music of the 20th Century, Mahalia Jackson, who offers this inspiring rendition:

The scriptures, poetry, and the accompanying musical reminder reinforce the message that as we strive to live for God and seek to follow the path of truth, that on the way to doing the will of God, God will make a way, even in the midst of seemingly impossible situations. Isaiah 43:19 and the tragic death of his nephew became the inspiration for one of Don Moen’s signature musical compositions, “God Will Make a Way,” offered here by Hosanna! Music to conclude our discussion:

The way, the truth, and the life

December 8, 2016

john-14-6

Revised and re-posted is this discussion of yet another metaphor used by Jesus involving three different aspects of the Son of God, as revealed in the Verse of the Day for December 8, 2016:

John 14:6 (NKJV):

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

In an article, “Who is Jesus? Seven facets of his life,” we discussed the seven metaphors found in John from which the following comments are taken:

In the opening verse of John 14 the disciples find themselves in a state of shock upon hearing Jesus saying that he is going away and they could not follow him to place where he is going. They were troubled because Jesus was talking about His death. They were agitated like water in a pot on a hot stove. Jesus told them that He is preparing a place in heaven. He is the means of bringing them to heaven to be with His Father. He is going ahead of them and will prepare a place for them and that he will return again.  Thomas, one of the disciples, asked,” “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

In responding to Thomas, Jesus uses another metaphor with three features: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

Jesus is the way:

The way refers to a path or road or “way.”  Jesus declares that he is not only the way; He is the only way to the Father, as he elaborates that “no man comes to the Father but by me.”

Jesus is the truth:

Jesus Christ is the full, final and complete revelation of God. Jesus is the truth. “I myself am the truth.” “I and I alone, and no one else am the truth.” Jesus is the actual embodiment of the truth. He is the authoritative representative and revealer of God. He hears what the Father says and does what the Father tells Him to do (5:19; 8:29). The essence of truth in its purest form is embodied in Jesus Christ, who is “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14), and he is the source of grace and truth to men, for “grace and truth came by means of or by way Jesus Christ.” Earlier in the Gospel of John, Jesus exhorted his disciples that if they would continue in his words that they would know the truth, and the truth would make them free. To have the Truth is to have eternal life which brings to mind the last part of the metaphor.

Jesus is the life:

Jesus Christ is the giver of life, life more abundant in the present and eternal life to come. Jesus promised “eternal life” to all who believe on Him: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28).

Not only does Jesus Christ give life, correspondingly, he also delivers from death. Christ conquered death—physical, spiritual and eternal. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

The website abideinChrist.com comments: Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Jesus is not only the way to God; He is the truth of God because He is the embodiment of God’s self-revelation. He is the life of God. He is the embodiment of “the true God and eternal life.” You can paraphrase John 14:6: “I am the way that reveals the truth (about God) and gives life (to people).”

john-14-6-poster

The photo of a poster displays the tri-fold metaphor of John 14:6.  This metaphor is brought to life with the Christian Praise and Worship song:  “Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life”:

The Will of God: The road less traveled by

June 9, 2014

Matthew 7--13-14

The Verse of the Day for June 9, 2014 is found in Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV):

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The Amplified Bible renders the passage this way:

13 Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it.

14 But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it.

As I reflect upon this familiar passage, a confluence of poetry floods my mind, beginning with my Junior English class in high school when Mrs. Hortense House required our class to memorize two poems “Barter” by Sara Teasdale and “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, both of which I committed to memory 56 years ago and  still find them applicable today.

The reference to “the broad way” in contrast to “the narrow way” also brings to mind an earlier blog entry in which I discussed “The Will of God.” Also I thought of another poem in which I refer to the Frost poem in a work related to the will of God. The poem is called “The Will of God: the Road Less Travelled By.”

In the blog entry I spoke of 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.” Matthew 7:13-14 mentions “the broad way” and the “narrow way.”When I say that the Will of God is the road less travelled, I recognize now more clearly than ever what that means in light of the poem that I first memorized years ago. Here is the poem that I wrote:

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 traveled by:

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

The straight and narrow way I once again select.

I press on, 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.

To follow the Will of God is to decide which path you 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. This anonymous poem gives us comfort and consolation when we decide to take the road less traveled by and follow God’s will, no matter where it takes 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.

Darrius Brooks offers a stirring rendition of “Your Will” as a musical summation of today’s blog entry.