“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor 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).
As he was teaching God’s people while in Babylonian captivity, the prophet Isaiah has encouraged them to become more spiritually minded as he refreshes their minds about God’s promises to the obedient and warns the disobedient to turn from their wicked ways.
In these two verses, he gives the basis for his teaching: as the Creator, God is superior to humans. His thoughts and His ways are as separated from man’s as the heavens are from the earth—His superiority is indescribable.
That situation has not changed in the New Testament Age, and God’s expectations of His people have not changed either. He expects us to have the same recognition of the superiority of His thoughts and ways and to submit to His will just as He did those who lived under Moses’ Law.
“ ‘Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly” (2 Kings 20.3).
Having received a message telling him he is going to die, King Hezekiah tearfully pleads with God and presents the case that he has been a true and faithful servant and has lived a good life in full obedience to Him.
God hears Hezekiah’s prayer and observes the depth of his sincerity because of all of his tears and decides to grant the King fifteen more years of life.
Even though we don’t have the kind of direct relationship with God that Hezekiah had, we do have the opportunity to live according to truth and we have the opportunity to live a life that is good because it is based on instructions found in God’s word. Doing so will grant us favor with God—spiritual treasures—as we pass into eternity.
“Abide in Me, and I in you…” (John 15:4a).
When Jesus makes this statement to His followers as He teaches from the vineyard, He is giving them the opportunity of a lifetime: they have the opportunity to live a life that is fully immersed in Him. To “dwell” means to “live.”
One writer uses making a cup of tea as an example of Jesus’ message: some dip the tea bag up and down in the water while others leave the tea bag in the water until it releases its full flavor. The first group is called dippers and the second, dwellers.
Living in Jesus does not mean dipping into the waters of Christianity occasionally or even once a week; rather it means immersing one’s life into Him by fully embracing His teachings and the lifestyle He requires. Jesus desires “dwellers,” not just dippers.
“For You have armed me with strength for the battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me” (Psalm 18:39).
David is retrospective as he recalls the abundant blessings God has bestowed on him, giving him encouragement when he is down and victory when he feels he can’t win. And He gives God the glory for all of his successes.
While the battles David speaks of here involve physical conflict with other nations, the battles we are involved in—at least, for the most part—are of a more personal nature: hurts, personal conflicts, relationship problems, professional difficulties, financial woes, serious health issues, tragedy—the list could go on.
Just as David received strength in his day, we today also receive strength, although it is in quite a different format. God does not provide direct, miraculous strength today, but He has given us everything we need to cope with whatever life throws in our pathway.
We have His word as a constant, readily available source of encouragement; and through it, we can develop the faith we need to rely upon God and to deal with life.