For my thoughts are not your thoughts,Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)
neither are your ways my ways, declares 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.
You are probably familiar with these verses, no? They are often quoted to show that God is ineffable. To quote the popular phrase (which isn’t in the Bible per se) “God works in mysterious ways.” We cannot understand His thoughts and ways unless He deigns to explain them. And still the reality is beyond our comprehension. As the Apostle Paul puts it: “now we see in a mirror dimly” (1 Corinthins 13:12).
But do you know the context of these verses? The two verses that come before put these verses in a whole new light:
Seek the Lord while he may be found;Isaiah 55:6-7 (ESV)
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
We are to seek the Lord and call upon Him to find forgiveness of our sins because His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways…
Don’t we often find it difficult to forgive? And even when we do forgive, it’s easy to hold a grudge (which really isn’t forgiveness at all). Sometimes we offer a conditional forgiveness: “I’ll forgive you, if you…” And when we have wronged someone, we may avoid them rather than coming to them to ask their forgiveness because we fear they won’t really be forgiving.
But God’s thought are not our thoughts! God’s ways are not our ways! As the heavens are higher than the earth, so is God’s forgiveness higher than ours!
You do not need to fear that God will hold a grudge because of your sin. You do not fear that God will not forgive you. Because God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross in order to pay for your sins (and the sins of the whole world), you have free and unconditional forgiveness!
So return to the Lord each and every day that He may have compassion on you and abundantly pardon. Amen.