Isaiah 55:8,9 - Praying and Planning - Does It Matter Which Is First?
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. Isa 55:8,9 (KJV)
Mercy is an attribute God, an infinite and inexhaustible energy
within the divine nature which disposes God to be actively
compassionate. Both the Old and the New Testaments proclaim the mercy of
God.... If we could remember that the divine mercy is not a temporary
mood but an attribute of God's eternal being, we would no longer fear
that it will someday cease to be. Mercy never began to be, but from
eternity was; so it will never cease to be. It will never be more since
it is itself infinite; and it will never be less because the
infinite cannot suffer diminution. Nothing that has occurred or will
occur in heaven or earth or hell can change the tender mercies of our
God. Forever His mercy stands, a boundless, overwhelming immensity of
divine pity and compassion....
And it is not enough to believe that He once showed mercy to
Noah or Abraham or David and will again show mercy in some happy
future day. We must believe that God's mercy is boundless, free and,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, available to us now in our present
situation. (The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer) [Inspirational SB]
Man's thoughts are of time, and God's, of eternity. Man's
thoughts are of self, and God's, of the creatures of His hand. Man thinks
of what he can get, and God, of what He can give. [SDA Commentary]
The natural inclination in Christian living is to act on the
impulse of a good idea. Not every good idea is from God. Sometimes good
ideas get in the way of God ideas.
Where does your inspiration come from? The vision of the
transfigured Christ inspired Peter: "O Lord, it is good for us to be here. If
you wish, I will put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses
and one for Elijah" (Matthew 17:4). Our natural impulse is to do
something good for God and suggest it to Him.
The tendency of the well-meaning person is to prepare a plan to
do some good idea, and then pray, "Jesus, this is my plan. It is a
good plan. It hurts no one, and I want it to please You. Lord, please
bless my plan." It is plan, then pray.
So many of our ideas are impetuous. They are not what the Lord
wants to do. They do not resemble in any way the things which concern
Him. We have good ideas, but they are not God ideas. His agenda and
our agenda conflict. We want to build Him a shelter but that is not
what He wants.... When Peter, James, and John heard the voice of the
Lord . . . they abandoned their inventive-but-self-made idea. The
presence of the Lord magnified, and His holiness brought them to their
senses. Jesus gained their attention, not by subduing them with a stem
scolding, but by magnifying His presence until all the genius of their
human ideas was bleached out by His refulgent face.
When they abandoned their good idea and fell facedown before the
Lord, He could work with them again....
When you and I abandon our good idea and fall to our face before
me Lord, then He will come and touch us, too. When we pursue our
own plan He cannot use us. We must abandon our good idea and fall
facedown before Him. Then He will be able to use us again. Then He will
reveal what He is doing - a God idea.... It is pray, then plan. Through
prayer, Jesus instructs of His plan, a God idea.
Prayer removes the impulse of the good idea, the good idea born
of human ingenuity but not of God. Pray, then plan. It is the habit
of the surrendered saint. (From Walking with Christ in the Details
of Life by Patrick M. Morley) [Inspirational SB]
God's knowledge and wisdom are far greater than man's. We are
foolish to try to fit God into our mold-to make his plans and purposes
conform to ours. Instead, we must strive to fit into his plans. [Life
We should form our plans with submission to the higher purposes
of God. (Barnes' Notes)
Let men pray that they may be divested of self, and may be in
harmony with heaven. Let them pray, "Not my will, but thine, O God, be
done." Let men bear in mind that God's ways are not their ways, nor His
thoughts their thoughts; for He says, "As the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your
"The dealings of God with His people often appear mysterious.
His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. Many times
His way of dealing is so contrary to our plans and expectations that
we are amazed and confounded. We do not understand our perverse
natures; and often when we are gratifying self, following our own
inclinations, we flatter ourselves that we are carrying out the mind of God.
And so we need to search the Scriptures, and be much in prayer,
that, according to His promise, the Lord may give us wisdom. TM503
I asked God for strength that I might achieve.
I was made weak that I might humbly learn to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity that I might do better things
I asked for riches that I might be happy.
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I asked for vision that I might control my future.
I was given awareness that I be grateful for the now.
I got nothing I asked for - but everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am among all people most richly blessed. -Anonymous
Prayer: So often, God, I don't understand why your ways are not
my ways. But I wouldn't want it any other way.
[Life Recovery Devotional SB]
Because He is so much greater than we are, we can trust Him
though we do not understand everything which happens. [Disciple SB]