Isaiah 55:8, 9 - God's Thoughts And Ways Are Higher Than Ours.

Isaiah 55:8, 9 - God's Thoughts And Ways Are Higher Than Ours.

Isaiah 55:8, 9 (TNIV)  "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. 

Illustrations Of This Principle

  Rarely does God do something exactly as we think He will. Our 
problem is that we try to second guess God, saying, "Oh, now I know what 
God is planning to do!" Moses experienced this as he learned how God 
was going to deliver the Hebrews out of Egypt. God told him He would 
harden Pharaoh's heart. Yet, the result was not what Moses anticipated. 
Rather than allowing the Hebrews to leave, Pharaoh increased their 
hardship. Rather than becoming a hero among the Hebrews, Moses was 
despised by them for bringing greater suffering. Moses returned to the 
Lord and asked, "Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? 
Why is it You have sent me?"(Ex 5:22). Much of the frustration we 
experience as Christians has nothing to do with what God does or doesn't 
do. It has everything to do, rather, with the false assumptions we 
make about how we think God will and should act. 
  Have you ever done the will of God and then things seemed to 
become worse? Moses completely misunderstood what the results of His 
obedience to God would be. When things did not turn out as he anticipated, 
Moses became discouraged. God had told Moses what to do, but He had 
not told Moses what the consequences would be. 
  It is foolish to attempt to do God's work using your own 
"common sense." God does not eliminate your common sense, He consecrates 
it. He gives you His wisdom so you can understand His ways. 
  As you look back on God's activity in your life, you will 
recognize the supreme wisdom in how He has led you. As you look forward to 
what God may do, be careful you do not try to predict what He will do 
next. You may find yourself completely off the mark. [Experiencing God 
Day by Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby re Isa. 55:8, 9] 

  Once upon a time a Man of God and a traveler took a journey 
together. About sundown the first day the Man of God led the traveler to a 
modest home and knocked on the door. A kind man invited them in and 
treated them like royalty. After a very pleasant evening together the 
host showed them a goblet made of pure gold. "This cup means very 
much to me because my neighbor, who has been an enemy, gave it to me 
as a token of friendship." 
  The next morning the Man of God and the traveler thanked their 
host and started on their way. They had only walked a short distance 
when the Man of God said, "Wait here. I forgot something." He went 
back to the house and secretly entered the door. When he returned he 
had the beautiful gold goblet. 
  The traveler was shocked. Why had the Man of God taken it?
  That night the two stopped at a large landowner's mansion. 
"Bam, Bam, Bam," went the large brass knocker. Finally, the door swung 
open, and a tall inebriated man shouted, "Yeah, wadda you want?" 
  When the tyrannical landowner heard their request for lodging, 
he grunted, "Wadda ya think I run here, a hotel?" As they turned to 
leave, he yelled, "You can sleep in the barn if you want." 
  In the middle of the night the landowner crept to the pack 
that belonged to the Man of God, searched it, and quietly removed the 
goblet. The traveler wanted to stop the thief but the Man of God 
whispered, "Wait. All will be well." Again the traveler was confused by the 
strange behavior of the Man of God. 
  The next night they found themselves in a dense forest known 
to be the home of a band of robbers. They knocked at the door of a 
small cabin. The father hesitated when the men asked for lodging, but 
his boy insisted they should stay. 
  After supper the boy settled himself at the foot of the Man of 
God and listened attentively to the stories he told. He seemed drawn 
to the Man of God and in the morning asked his father if he could 
go with them to the fork in the road and show them the way. As they 
crossed the narrow bridge the boy slipped and fell into the raging 
river. The traveler plunged into the icy water to save the lad, but it 
was too late. And all this time the Man of God did nothing. 
  This was too much for the traveler. In agony he shouted to the 
Man of God, "What kind of a person are you anyway? You steal from 
the kind man, allow a tyrant to steal from you, and then just stand 
by while a boy drowns! Why? Tell me why!" 
  At last the Man of God said, "It is not for most travelers to 
understand the ways of God, but for a moment I will open your eyes. The cup 
the enemy had given to the kind man was poisoned, and I wanted no 
harm to come to him. I allowed the landowner to steal the goblet 
because he may choose to drink from it, and the peasants will be free 
from his rule. And the boy," tears came to his eyes, "the boy loved 
me. But his father was the head of a gang of robbers, and if the boy 
had lived, he, because of his love for his father, would have 
followed in his father's steps. I allowed him to die to save him for 
  The traveler at last nodded his head, "I understand," he said. 
[Creating Love by Kay Kuzma. p.163] 

  Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village.  
Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white 
horse.  Even the king coveted his treasure.  A horse like this had 
never been seen before - such was its splendor, its majesty, its 
  People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man 
always refused.  "This horse is not a horse to me," he would tell them. 
 "It is a person.  How could you sell a person?  He is a friend, 
not a possession.  How could you sell a friend?"  The man was poor 
and the temptation was great.  But he never sold the horse. 
  One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable.  
All the village came to see him.  "You old fool," they scoffed, "we 
told you that someone would steal your horse.  We warned you that you 
would be robbed.  You are so poor.  How could you ever hope to protect 
such a valuable animal?  It would have been better to have sold him.  
You could have gotten whatever price you wanted.  No amount would 
have been to high.  Now the horse is gone, and you've been cursed 
with misfortune." 
  The old man responded, "Don't speak too quickly.  Say only 
that the horse is not in the stable.  That is all we know; the rest 
in judgment.  If I've been cursed or not, how can you know?  How 
can you judge?" 
  The people contested, "Don't make us out to be fools!  We may 
not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed.  The simple 
fact that your horse is gone is a curse." 
  The old man spoke again. "All I know is that the stable is 
empty, and the horse is gone.  The rest I don't know.  Whether it be a 
curse or a blessing, I can't say.  All we can see is a fragment.  Who 
can say what will come next?" 
  The people of the village laughed.  They thought that the man 
was crazy.  They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn't, he 
would have sold the horse and lived off the money.  But instead, he 
was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and 
dragging it out of the forest and selling it.  He lived hand to mouth in 
the misery of poverty.  Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a 
  After fifteen days, the horse returned.  He hadn't been 
stolen; he had run away into the forest.  Not only had he returned, he 
had brought a dozen wild horses with him.  Once again the village 
people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke.  "Old man, you were 
right and we were wrong.  What we thought was a curse was a blessing.  
Please forgive us." 
  The man responded, "Once again, you go too far.  Say only that 
the horse is back.  State only that a dozen horses returned with 
him, but don't judge.  How do you know if this is a blessing or not?  
You see only a fragment.  Unless you know the whole story, now can 
you judge?  You read only one page of a book.  Can you judge the 
whole book?  You read only one word of a phrase.  Can you understand 
the entire phrase? 
  "Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or 
one word.  All you have is a fragment!  Don't say that this is a 
blessing.  No one knows.  I am content with what I know.  I am not 
perturbed by what I don't." 
  "Maybe the old man is right," they said to one another.  So 
they said little.  But down deep, they knew he was wrong.  They knew 
it was a blessing.  Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse. 
 With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and 
trained and sold for much money. 
  The old man had a son, an only son.  The young man began to 
break the wild horses.  After a few days, he fell from one of the 
horses and broke both legs.  Once again the villagers gathered around 
the old man and cast their judgments.   
  "You were right," they said.  "You proved you were right.  The 
dozen horses were not a blessing.  They were a curse.  Your only son 
has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help 
you.  Now you are poorer than ever. 
  The old man spoke again.  "You people are obsessed with 
judging.  Don't go so far.  Say only that my son broke his legs.  Who 
knows if it is a blessing or a curse?  No one knows.  We only have a 
fragment.  Life comes in fragments." 
  It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in 
war against a neighboring country.  All the young men of the village 
were required to join the army.  Only the son of the old man was 
excluded, because he was injured.  Once again the people gathered around 
the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. 
 There was little chance that they would return.  The enemy was 
strong and the war would be a losing struggle.  They would never see 
their sons again. 
  "You were right, old man," they wept.  "God knows you were 
right.  This proves it.  Your son's accident was a blessing.  His legs 
may be broken, but at least he is with you.  Our sons are gone 
  The old man spoke again.  "It is impossible to talk with you.  
You always draw conclusions.  No one knows.  Say only this: Your 
sons had to go to war, and mine did not.  No one knows if it is a 
blessing or a curse.  No one is wise enough to know.  Only God knows."  
[In the Eye of the Storm by Max Lucado.] 

  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 - and 
that takes prayer. [Life Application SB] 

We should form our plans with submission to the higher purposes 
of God. (Barnes' Notes) 

Even when we do not understand what God is up to in our lives - 
which may happen frequently - He asks us to trust Him. He knows what 
He is doing, even if we cannot comprehend His methods or timing. 
For to obey God is to bless ourselves; to disobey Him is to curse 
ourselves. "I have come," Jesus said, "that they may have life, and that 
they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). [Life Principles SB 
By Charles Stanley re Isa. 55:9]