“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV
God’s ways are higher than our ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts. But what are His ways? People use this scripture to justify their theories about God. They make ignorant and misguided statements about God, His character, His ways, His thoughts and intentions and then tell us that we cannot understand God – that His plans and purposes do not make sense. But that is just not true!
God and His ways make perfect sense. Even though we cannot fully know God here on earth – it is only because of our human limitations – not because God is hiding His nature, character and intentions from us, because He has already revealed Himself to us in His Word and by His Spirit. Let us look at what God says about Himself right before He says that His ways are higher than ours.
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 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. Isaiah 55:6-7 NIV
God is a merciful God. He freely pardons those who turn to Him. He chooses to forgive us. In fact He longs to show us His mercy. He is not willing to abandon us to our destruction. We are given the choice, to choose life or death, blessing or cursing, but God’s plan and desire for us is life and blessing! (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men. Lamentations 3:31-33 NIV
Because God is a good, kind, loving, compassionate God – and He never changes – mankind has been graciously spared through the ages even though we have severely tested God’s patience, love, grace and forgiveness.
“For I am the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. Malachi 3:6 NKJV
“I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD Almighty. Malachi 3:6-7 NIV
As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is God’s love for those who fear Him. In our mind, God should hate us and be angry with us, because we are all sinners. He should punish us, because we deserve it. We also think that God should send all those who offend us, wrong us, or who commit evil against us straight to hell with no chance of redemption. In our ungodly, human thinking – without the washing of the water of the word – we expect God to behave as we would if we had the fate of our enemy in our control. However God does not behave as we think He would. He responds with grace – and it is this grace that we cannot begin to understand unless we allow God to do a work in our heart and the Word to renew our minds.
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children–18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. Psalms 103:8-18 NIV
The LORD has compassion on those who fear him just as a father has compassion on his children. From everlasting to everlasting the love of the Lord is extended toward those who fear him, and who keep his covenant and who obey his precepts. His righteousness is offered to their children’s children. God is a good God and it is His ways of His grace, mercy and forgiveness that are beyond our human comprehension and higher than ours.