His Thoughts And Ways
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 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. "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. Isaiah 55:6-9
There is much to be said about the passage above and more that can be written to explain the sorrow and pain God suffered over the thoughts and ways of man since God created man. As men we have great expectations for the things we design and build but in reality the things we design and make do not work out exactly as we had hoped. It is not that the things we create have a mind of their own and but the people abuse them by making them do things it wasnít designed to do.
For most people to see them selves as something God designed and built is hard to understand. To know that we are not functioning the way God planned is something we are apt to ignore. God designed man to think independently of him and we are doing just that. However our thoughts and ways needs some work to bring them up to par with God. In fact you might say the human thinking process compared to God is very immature.
At the sane time God is in the same predicament that we as men and women are in. We wear our brains out to teach our kids how to behave and they go out and do the things we have told them not to do. Adam and Eve were a good example of doing the one thing they were told not to do.
In Godís mind the problem lies in the way men think as when men speak, the true nature of men comes out of his mouth in words.
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? Luke 6:45-46
For the most part, the choice words that come out of human mouths are lies, profanity and poison. Normally poison is a chemical substance, but words can be the poison that causes injury, and death in relationships. Unfortunately people react faster to what is said to them when what has been said is not true. As James said, we use the poison of profanity to curse man made in the image of God.
The words that come out of human mouths are not always truthful, as Christianís have been known to say Jesus is Lord and not show his Lordship in their actions. For example most Christians know of people that show up Sunday shouting hallelujah, but cant find pleasant things to say the rest of the week.
The truth of our nature comes out of our mouths when our guard is down and we are ourselves. We donít always take time to think before we take our foot out of our mouths. Why is it that true feelings come out when the person we are talking about is not present and not able to hear what we are saying? When our mind is not fixed on being the good person God wants, even Christians can be downright nasty. Letís face the music the gospel message does not flow out of our mouths 24-7 and not everyone glorifies God the way we should.
The truth is that each of us has a collection of good and evil things stored away within our heart. While those things are in our heart we have time to consider if they should be stored or buried and forgotten about. Still it is what comes out of our heart also comes out of our mouths and it is the poisonous words that make our lives worthless to God. It proves that our ways are not Godís ways and our thoughts are not Godís thoughts.
Ultimately it is our thoughts that steer our lives on this highway of life in the same way that our tongue is the rudder that steers our course in life. Sometimes we say things that make us look good to men and sometimes we hastily say things we canít take back and often it is those words that injure and end relationships. The words we spoke yesterday has forged the life we have today.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," Isaiah 55:8
To understand how God thinks we need to understand his ways and what he has said. For example, Itís not Godís laws that that makes his thoughts and ways better than his creation. Godís creation has similar laws and man finds ways to work a way around them to justify his ways. Its only when the cost of obedience outweighs the consequences that the law is obeyed. In other words there is little voluntary compliance with the law without some sort of enforcement.
God demands a disciplined mindset of love and a voluntary compliance of his laws. Letís consider that laws are designed for the protection of the majority rather than the minority. Every law is designed for the respect of another person, but Godís law is not a law of the land. Rather it is a personal code of conduct governed and enforced by every person in his kingdom. Some Christians call these laws morals and other Christians call this way of life holiness. The Ten Commandments shape the moral law of God and every one of these laws shape a respectable conduct towards another person, especially within the family unit.
These laws were reduced to two laws, which spoke of a devoted love for God and a way to love one another in the same way you expect them to love you. God wanted the behavior of his children to avoid evil and develop his nature of holiness. Paul said if it werenít for the law he would not have known what sin was. In this respect, if God said thou shall not, it gave men the knowledge of what to avoid while at the same time the direct opposite of thou shall not, was a means of showing respect for a personís worth to you personally.
Jesus said on the mount,
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Matthew 5:3-12
Blessed are the poor in spirit
You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Revelation 3:17-18
This contrast shows the difference between being poor in Spirit and being wealthy. The wealthy rely on the things of this earth that God hates and neglects the things that have greater value to God. The poor in spirit are those who realize that the greatest things in life can not be bought with money, such as a personal relationship with God. In addition they seek the gifts that God values and learn to rely on him during their lifetime.
Blessed are those who mourn.
We may not grieve like those who have no hope but none the less we suffer the loss of friends and relatives when they die. The bible tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. (Romans 12:15) Mourning is an expression of grief and the book of Lamentations is one more example of expressed grief. In this book a godly Israelite examines the destruction of Jerusalem and consequences for the way they had turned from a loving God. Even in his lament, God used this man to call Israel to repent. We should also be reminded that mourning should be shared so when one part of the body suffers you show your concern for their loss.
Blessed are the meek
The Old and New Testament define meek with the term mild but render meek as humble, gentle, lowly and poor. Jesus had all of these qualities even though he was a king he came as a servant. He was persecuted for his relationship with God and did not retaliate, the Jews wanted to make him king he did not seize the opportunity. He recognized his place with God, applied himself to do his Fatherís will and went about his fatherís business.
As Godís children we must recognize our need for our fatherís forgiveness and humbly receive his grace. We must learn to recognize the privilege of serving one another by honoring the needs of another person above our own. And finally the meek rest in the calm assurance that they have placed their life in Godís hand.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Hunger and thirst are the first symptoms that your body is craving for food and water, but this hunger and thirst is for right standing with God.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey ó whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Romans 6:16
The bible also says,
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. John 4:34
Jesus did not want to go to the cross, but he submitted to his father and committed himself to do his fatherís will. He sought Godís will and then made himself available to obtain Godís purpose through his death. In the same way, Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness.
The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness - for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. Romans 4:23-24
In Heaven God will.
Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) Revelation 19:8
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
People all over this world are persecuted for their beliefs, more so by nations that does not sanction Christianity. In nationís that allow freedom of religion Christians are scorned and ridiculed by arrogant men who think the good news of the cross is foolishness. The man blessed by God sees with his eyes and hears with his ears and can fathom the truth that sets them free.
Stephen was stoned to death because of his beliefs. Haman persecuted the Jews because Mordecai refused to bow to him. Daniel refused to obey the kingís edict and was thrown to the lions. Jesus said that we can expect to be persecuted for our beliefs, at the same time lets remember that God rescued Daniel and Mordecai in their hour of trial and God will do the same for us.
no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,Ē declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:17
Our responsibility remains the same.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 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. "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. Isaiah 55:6-9
Isaiah tells us to seek the Lord during the limited time he may be found. At the same time the writer of Hebrews tells us that,
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, Hebrews 9:27
We have a limited time in the flesh to recognize the God of creation for who he is. No one is without excuse for he has made his sovereign power known to all of mankind. The reason we must to seek the Lord while he may be found is to prepare us for the day that we will stand before God to give an account for our life. Let us remember that Jesus said to repent for the kingdom of God is near. In the same respect, the terms while and near are used in the context of time.
When God is saying, seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near he is forewarning us to seek him now for in the near future he will bring you before his throne to judge your thoughts and ways. Lets also remember that God is an eternal being without beginning or end and time is understood entirely differently compared to how man understands time. For example, Jesus spoke of the future as the age to come.
Those who seek God know that God has always been, (he was) God is God in the present time, (he is) and God will be God of eternity (he is to come.) Time affects how a person thinks as people make haste when time is short and shows little concern when they have ample time. However, time has a bad habit of creeping up on you and the way we use our time can either be to our ruin or prosperity.
There is a time and place for every activity under the sun, but God has demanded that all men avoid evil. The reason is that God understands evil to be the source of suffering, injury and destruction. In the same way sin is the thief that steals, kills, and destroys and must be handled properly. Remember what God said to Cain, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:7
We have examples of how God deals with sin, the rain fell and the water covered the earth, and fire and brimstone fell on Sodom and Gomorra. God has offered a covenant of life for anyone who will accept Jesus Christ as his or her Lord. Anyone who refuses the covenant of life God is offering is facing an agonizing death for all of eternity.
On the day God gathers his people around his throne he will separate those who do evil from those who do good deeds. God will send those who do evil away to a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Those who have done good will enter the gates of Heaven where they will be free from the influence of evil.
The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. Genesis 6:5
This kind of wickedness grieved God to the point that he intervened in the history of man. God flooded the entire earth and he sent fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorra to put an end to the wickedness on earth. Lets consider how we think as our thoughts determine how and what we do. However, the thoughts that govern our deeds provide God with evidence and a way to reward man for the way they have lived.
For example you may not have seen a need for God or have a reason to know God. The bible says,
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalms 37:4
God will give you the desires of your heart even if you donít want anything to do with him. On the other hand, the person who has a need for God knows that,
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3
Knowing God tells us his thoughts and ways are based on the disposition of love. His attitude towards sin and evil deeds are things he wants his children to avoid. Therefore we ought to live holy and pleasing lives to God so we will receive eternal life.
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