His Ways are not Our Ways

Isaiah 55:8, 9 are among the more quotable verses in our Bible. Some of us, no doubt, have memorized them, and most of us have voiced their sentiments in so many words:
“‘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.'”

But of course! God is bigger and smarter and better than we are, so obviously that makes sense. Our ideas and methods pale in comparison.

But Isaiah’s point, actually, God’s point, isn’t to generalize about His thoughts and actions. It is about His compassion and eagerness to forgive sinners who come to Him, and how different that is from us.

We know this because that is the context of Isaiah 55, which begins with invitations to come to Him, eat and drink from His provision, and freely take what we could never earn (vv. 1, 2). Then we are invited into the Covenant of David which is offered to all nations (vv. 3-5).

And then vv. 6-8. . .
“‘Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
and the evil man his thoughts,
Let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts. . .'”

You and I may forgive, but we often do so slowly and cautiously.
You and I may show mercy, but we can do so begrudgingly.
You and I may welcome sinners, but we do so selectively.

Not God. He invites ALL sinners. He welcomes every transgressor.
And He pardons lavishly and lovingly and richly, inviting them not only to quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger, but to partake of His Covenant blessings, all of them, regardless of nationality.

He does not rebuke us when we return or reject us when we repent, but restores us to His heart. If you have wandered from the path and sinned against Heaven, remember that God is not like a scolding mother or legalistic father. He does not hold our sins against us.

He saw it all, and forgives it all, not mechanically as a detached observer, but a Father whose compassion outstrips anything we can imagine. As a Father who sent His only Son to pay the price for sinners. It’s not just what He does; it’s who He is.

“All that the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6:37

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