From the Desk of Reverend Frank
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says 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.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)
My father-in-law, Lyn’s dad, had a theme song. Everyone knew it, and they honored him with it as the background of a slideshow at his retirement. I Did It My Way sung by Frank Sinatra.
The Bible says that what’s good, though, is GOD DOING IT HIS WAY!
When life presents a challenge, Isaiah 55 is exceptionally helpful,so let’s break it down a bit.
The word thoughts in the Hebrew is the word machashebaw. It’s found in Genesis, Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Micah.
The verb form means “to devise”- to purpose, to plan with a particular aim, to adapt for a specific purpose, to think through with intention. In some passages, it’s translated design or invent.
Understanding this helps us see that God doesn’t just make impulsive decisions. He plans with a particular aim, adapts for a particular purpose, thinks through with intention.
God is not impulsive. He’s intentional. He takes as much time as needed to make the right decision because He’s beyond time.
We, on the other hand, tend to want to move quickly, sometimes in haste, sometimes without all the facts, sometimes without researching, or checking in with God (for that matter). Would it be prudent for us as believers to ask God to show us Truth in any and all situations of our lives. Would that be important?
So here in Isaiah 55, in just this one word, thoughts, we’re reminded to slow down in our thought processes and to factor into our response to a challenge or difficulty, that God thought this challenge through before implementing it! And His implementing it was on our behalf, and for His glory.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
The word ways in this verse translates well from Hebrew to English. Orcha simply means an ordinary or customary path to get somewhere.
This is interesting. The Hebrew word orcha implies more than the English word ways does. It indicates that when God makes a decision to handle a matter in a particular way, it may be an ordinary or customary way for Him.
God has used thE specific technique he’s using on you successfully in a specific situations much like yours COUNTLESS times before!
So not only does our Heavenly Father think through His decisions in our lives, but He employs proven methods as He molds us.
So the way I see it is that thoughts are the evaluation process and ways are the action taken. Both God’s evaluation process and the action He takes are optimal, that is, the best possible, the best that can be and much better than we can conceive.
Not only are God’s thought processes and actions taken the best possible, but they are higher, inferring a higher purpose, a prescription that encompasses and accomplishes more.
God’s thoughts and ways are the highest that could exist. No other thoughts or ways could be higher, more noble, more perfect, more straight, more full of truth, more pure or more filled with God’s love.
Consider Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
And ponder on Romans 8:31 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Over time in our experiences with God, experiences where we witness His higher thoughts and ways, we get just glimpse of His style, His sense of humor…His mannerisms; one thing we never have to wonder about are His motives.
HIT BY A TRAIN
Forty-six years ago, my wife and sweet young daughter of two headed cross country on an airliner for a visit with her mother.
The only things to return… were divorce papers and a letter explaining my fate… to never see my daughter again, and for her to be taught that I never existed. A promise and an edict of lifelong banishment and a shrouding that would engulf me to this day. Things couldn’t have looked worse.
In those days (and in the state where we lived), divorce wasn’t granted with just irreconcilable differences. Consequently, I was accused of atrocities that took my breath away… for years. No way could I ever breathe again.
I was done before I ever got started. Devastation was not an accurate word to describe my countenance. I had been hit by a train and I was afraid to get up for fear that I would be hit by another one.
But God says, “My ways are higher than your ways”
JOB, ABRAM, JOSEPH
I can’t help but think that Job had questions like I did about what God was up to. You know the story. He lost all 10 of his children to a great wind. How do you make sense out of that?
Again, Isaiah comments from God’s perspective, “My thoughts are not your thoughts.”
What about Abram? He was called to walk away from his HOME and ALL OF HIS KIN without even knowing where he was headed or why… WOW- Pack your bags and start walking, Abram, God’ll check in with you later… “What, God? Give up my family?”
But God says, “Nor are your ways My ways.”
And then there was Joseph. You talk about betrayal! What may have seemed for a moment like a short-lived practical joke by his brothers, ended up in transportation into Egyptian slavery, and eventually jail time.
Can you imagine Joseph as he’s being taken by the foreigners? “Wait, guys, very funny. The joke’s over. Come on. I’m getting hungry. Guys! Guys! Guys!…”
Years later, Joseph’s sitting in Pharaoh’s dungeon struggling to match up that dream he’d had as a child with his present reality. Have you been there?
Again, we’re instructed, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
TIMIMG WAS CRITICAL
A few years ago, as Lyn and I were working together in business, we had a personal and very large issue where timing was critical. We woke up one morning feeling that God had missed our deadline… really missed it.
Still in bed, we whispered together a short (but not so sweet) prayer from the pillows. It went something like this: “God, you’re late…. Amen.” (OK, so David prayed a few like that. Longer, of course, but still.)
That particular morning, we had a woman scheduled to come into our office. She’d gotten wind of what my profession was, and wanted to meet with me. She really knew nothing else about us except that we were in a class with her and about 50 others.
When she arrived, we sat down to start our meeting… and she said…”I was reading my Bible and praying this morning before I left for our meeting. I feel like God gave me a word for you”.
“Really?” We responded. “Go ahead!”
“I feel like God instructed me to tell you one simple thing” she relayed. “I’m not late!”
WOW! ADJUSTMENT RECEIVED! …God says “I’m not late… I’m not lost. I’m not busy. I’m not ignorant of the facts. I’m not sleeping, I’m not surprised, I’m not distracted, I’m not unwilling, I’m not forgetful, I’m not preoccupied, I’m not sloppy, I’m not lackadaisical, I’m not inattentive.”
“My ways are just higher than your ways.”
DOUBLE FOR HIS TROUBLE
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts”.
Job got double for his trouble- 10 NEW children PLUS the 10 he’ll reunite with in heaven!
As you can see today, I indeed got back up from being hit by a train 46 years ago. With the help of the Lord, I again started walking and I kept walking. So what were God’s thoughts for me?
BEHOLD… my wife, Lyn. It’ll be 42 years this June. Five wonderful kids. 10 grandchildren (2 sets of twins). And 2 more grandkids on the way!
Joseph, after 22 years of separation, was reunited with his family and able to forgive them and shower them with provisions during the last 5 years of the great famine.
We may not understand what God’s thought process is, or why He takes the action He takes. That’s because we’re not God. He’s God all by Himself! And the closer we get to reckoning that, the happier we’ll be.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
P.S. I hope this helps someone! Please share your comments for the Glory of God on what God has shown you or how He’s moved in your life in this area!