Monday, June 24, 2013

Isaiah 55: God's Ways are Always Better

Isaiah 55:6-11 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn 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, 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.  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. 

God's ways and God's thoughts are always higher than ours. We can never fully comprehend God. Theologians may want to believe that their profound thinking has finally put God in His place. But that is as foolish as an ant thinking that it has finally understood the complexity of a human person by studying his toes. They simply cannot because they do not have the capacity nor experience of the human life to fully understand or describe the human life. It's much the same with God--we are creatures and though created in God's image it is but an infinitesimal subset of His majesty glory. We are not God's equal and to talk like we have already got the Divine Majesty buttoned up is sheer human arrogance.

It's best to admit that we do not yet fully understand nor can ever comprehend the fullness of God simply because as creatures we just don't have the wisdom, the revelation and the intellectual capacity to understand Him. What we are shown in Christ is what one author calls the "human face" of God, not His divine face. If God were to show us His divine face, we would all perish: "Then the Lord said, 'There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.'" 

We must be content with seeing only God's back, never his face in full glory. We now know only in part but one day we will see Him face to face: "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known" (1 Cor 13:12). Let us stay humble before God and accept His word, even if we cannot fully understand it to obey it. For what we do know is this: His word will bring life wherever it is sent, just as water brings life. That's all we need to know for this earthly life. The secret things belong to the Lord, and it's best we leave some room for the Divine Mystery and not try to box Him up theologically: "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law" (Deut 29:29). 

Father, thank You that You are the God above our ways and our thoughts. Help us to know You through Your Word in order that we might have life. Deliver us from any theological arrogance and free us from our theological boxes we have made to contain You. Amen.

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