Last week we talked about the glory of God, His greatness, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience.
His thoughts are greater than ours. His power and strength are greater than ours. His understanding is greater than ours. Our imagination can’t equal His reality. He is BIG. We are small. He is eternal. We are finite. He is invulnerable to weakness. He is light and in Him there is no darkness. I can’t describe His greatness because I don’t have the words to express it. He is limitless and beyond my comprehension.
Let’s return to the passage in Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV).
“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.”
God uses the word “higher” in verse 9 to illustrate the distance between the way we think and live, and the way God does. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” “Higher” is a word that we can understand. I’m 5’10’. That is my height. Even though I may have desperately wanted to be 6’ tall and more, it didn’t happen. I stopped at 5’10” and a couple of hairs. I may be able to jump a few more feet in the air, but I am vertically challenged and limited. Not only am I short in height, but also I am short sighted. I am limited in my visual-mental perception. Only “as far as” the eye can see, right?
When God says ““As the heavens are higher than the earth”, He is indicating space. In our minds, well maybe just in my mind, we’re thinking about the distance between the earth or ground and what my eyes can see. I can see a plane at 30,000 feet. I can see the sun, moon, and stars that are a considerable distance away if the sky is clear enough. The sun is so big and shines so brightly that it’s kind of hard to miss. On a very clear night, we can see the moon. There are times when the moon is huge and we can actually make out tiny details of the surface. We can also see the stars and constellations twinkling at night in the distance. The Lord did give us some pretty powerful peepers, but our concept of the vastness of the heavens is limited by our field of vision.
Of course, we have visual aids like binoculars and telescopes that help us see even further. We have even shot rockets and probes off into the heavens to send back pictures of space beyond our optical limits. But, we are finding out that the universe, space, or THE HEAVENS are bigger than we thought. The heavens go far beyond our limits. It keeps going and going and going. “To infinity and beyond!”
We haven’t found the other side of the space between heaven and earth, and we never will. Some have said that if there isn’t intelligent life on other planets then it was an incredible waste of space. It may seem that way, but maybe God is just demonstrating how great He is. The universe IS a visual representation of God’s glory! He is showing off in grandiose fashion.
Remember Star Trek? “Space, the final frontier.” “Where no man has gone before.” There is no “final” frontier. God’s universe is an endless frontier. When the Lord says, “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts”, He’s saying that THERE IS NO END, and we can’t figure it out or find it.
Of course I have been using this passage as a description of Gods greatness and glory in regards to creation, but there is also another meaning that is found in its context. Isaiah is a prophet that has been sent by God to warn Israel that they will be invaded and conquered by the Assyrians if they don’t repent of their “wicked ways and unrighteous thoughts” (Isaiah 55:7 NIV). God wishes to extend mercy and issues this invitation.
“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, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, 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 55:1-9 (NIV)
Even though we may not understand what God is doing and why, His desire is and has always been about His relationship with us, and the blessings that He can provide. In this passage God says, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.” He is saying, “I’ve got this, just trust me. If you do life my way, you’ll find meaning, purpose, joy, and fulfillment.” Philippians 4:19 (NIV) says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” The “riches of His glory” are unlimited and as vast as the universe itself. Unfortunately, in our short sightedness, we can’t see beyond what this world has to offer.
Ultimately, we can’t figure God out and put Him in a little box. He cannot be contained or calculated. I don’t believe that He wishes to withhold any information from us, but like I said last week, it’s just too much information for our little brains to handle. While it may be frustrating to realize our limitations and difficult to put complete trust in someone other than ourselves, it should be encouraging and comforting to know that the infinite, all-powerful God of all creation wants to have a relationship with you and me.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1 (NIV)
Director of Family Ministry and Facility Management