Friday, July 6, 2012

"As the heavens are higher than the earth....."

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are 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)

    I've read this verse a bunch of times before, but never has the word "higher" hit me as it has before. I began to think about what God meant when he said his "ways are higher than the earth," and his "thoughts are higher than the earth."  I began to think about how high is the heavens above the earth?
    I started to look at it from what we have observed scientifically. AIG states: "The universe is believed to contain over 100 billion galaxies, and within each galaxy may be an average of 100 billion stars!" Also they state: "When we hear the term light-year, we need to realize it is not a measure of time but a measure of distance, telling us how far away something is. Distant stars and galaxies might be millions of light-years away, but that doesn’t mean that it took millions of years for the light to get here, it just means it is really far away!" 
    So if the heavens (universe) is millions of light years, God is using the analogy that his 'ways' and 'thoughts' are light years away from our ways and thoughts!! That's amazing considering how we humans always try to figure out why God has done this or that!
    Secondly, I thought about the apostle Paul, and how he was caught up to the "third heaven" which is Paradise! John MacArthur describes the third heaven as follows: " The first heaven is the earth's atmosphere (Gen. 8:2);  the second is interplanetary and interstellar space (stars and planets-Gen. 15:5); and the third is the abode of God (Psalm 123:1). Paul said that he heard "inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter." The connection between where God dwells and the fact that Paul could not even talk about the words he heard there, shows us that God's thoughts/ways are much higher than ours!!! In fact Romans 11: 33 Paul says: "Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!"
   How can we finite beings think we could possible have God all figured out? How can people blame God for things? How can people not give glory to Him alone for creating us? 
  Isaiah shares a similar experience when he is allowed to see God in His glory: "Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.” (Isaiah 6:5 NLT) Isaiah also recognized that God's thoughts/ways were perfectly holy and that man's thoughts/ways are filthy and deserving of judgment!
   Although Isaiah 55 describes a great distance between God and man, we can find great comfort in another analogy God gives us in the distance between us and Himself: "For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;" (Psalm 103:11) God's mercy is as high as the heavens are above the earth! Does that mean that His mercy can be measured in light years? I have no clue, but its something to think about. 
  In conclusion, pondering the distance of the Lord's ways and thoughts has led me to see how great God's mercy is upon us as sinful people. Our words and thoughts are filthy like Isaiah says and we all deserve judgment from a Holy God! BUT GOD........"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom. 5:8) God has extended his mercy all the way down to us who dwell on this earth by sending the Son of God (Jesus Christ) to die on behalf of us to pay for the judgment that should fall on you and I!!! Amazing!
   May we all remember that as we look to the heavens, we can also compare it to the depth and height and length God was willing to go to redeem us!
In Christ -Dustin

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