Thursday, September 28, 2006

God doesn't think like we do.

Lately I have been feeling tired. Maybe I've been waiting on (hoping for) something other than the Lord, so that I haven't been appropriating that promise from Isaiah 40.31. (There are other reasons for feeling tired, but at this time, in my case, I think it's this.) I had some time to think about this in the car driving to work this morning, as I also thought about the opening of chapter 55:
Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good,
and delight your soul in abundance.
Isaiah 55.1-2
I thought about that and prayed, asking "Lord, what does that mean for me today?"

I'd like to tell you that I got a clear answer that made all my anxieties disappear, the way some of our praise choruses make it sound. But it didn't happen. But come think of it, maybe it did.

Maybe it happened before I even asked -- maybe the only reason I prayed and asked was just this: That today, for me, "Come to the waters" means just this: "Bring your anxieties and weariness to me, and I'll listen. No, I won't give you all the answers or solve all the problems right now, but I will listen and I do care."

And that is a great thing.

Now what I actually had in mind to write about today was a famous passage a little further on in the chapter: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord (Isaiah 55.8). He goes on to say that his ways and thoughts are as much higher than ours as the heavens are higher than the earth.

Many of us have heard that in sermons, or memorized it. And of course it's true just as it stands.

But what was the Lord talking about in particular? Why is the "For" there at the beginning of verse 8? Let's take a look at verses 6-7:
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. And let him turn to the Lord, for he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isaiah 55.6-7
It's no surprise: of course the Lord's ways and thoughts are higher than ours in many ways, but the thing he emphasizes here is his mercy.

How cool is that? He's all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, but the thing he wants us to remember, the thing he emphasizes here, is his eagerness to forgive.

And that's good news for me every day.

posted 9/29

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