His Ways Are Different Than Ours

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, 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. (Is 55:8-9)

God’s ways are mysterious. He doesn’t act predictably, at least by human understanding. Moses and Pharaoh were both surprised that He led the Hebrews right to the obstacle of the Red Sea when they were fleeing from Egypt. Gideon was surprised that God whittled his army down to 300 men to defeat the vast Midianite army. The Jews knew all of the prophecies that predicted Messiah, but were surprised that He came in the Person of Jesus. The list of God’s surprising methods is endless.

In every era of history men have been told to believe the Scripture. Moses’ last commandment to Israel was, “For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess” (Deut 32:47). God’s first commandment to Joshua after the death of Moses was, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it” (Joshua 1:8). Isaiah told his audience in the passage above that God’s Word would never return empty (vs. 11). The Psalmist in multiple places spoke of the importance of the Scripture, including at least 174 times in the marvelous literary creation, Psalm 119. Jeremiah, Jesus, and the Apostles all tell us of the importance of the Scripture.

But when “push comes to shove,” we humans (at least in this era) choose to believe the changing opinions of science and/or the prevailing popular opinions of the larger society. Certainly we understand the fickleness of humanity, but often we fail to realize that scientific conclusions are determined inductively and therefore are also fickle. A single example can destroy the conclusions of years of experimentation. In the 1970s the scientific news was that the earth was heading into a new ice age; today we will be destroyed by global warming. To reduce the criticism, we’re now worried about “Climate Change.” Medical science has told us that coffee would kill us, among many other substances, only to change a few years later when new studies surfaced. 

On the other hand, the conclusions of Scripture are deductively determined. We start with the premise that those words are true, even if we don’t understand them fully. In much the same way, the Founding Fathers of our nation made absolute the rights of Americans to be free to worship, speak, assemble and to own a gun (et. al.), even though they probably did not conceive of a time when the right to defend oneself (for example) would not be assumed. 

Both the Scripture and the US Constitution arose from the conviction of their (A)authors that the human heart is deceitful. The Founders wrote into the Constitution a set of checks and balances for that reason — they knew that power could and would corrupt people in leadership. The divine Author of Scripture knew this was true also. He inspired Jeremiah to write, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (17:9). Jesus Himself “on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25). Paul, despite his own teaching and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, recognized that the Church in Ephesus would fall prey to deceitful and corruptible men (Acts 20: 29-32). The antidote that Paul gives is careful attention to the “Word of His grace” (32).

The current COVID-19 flap that has created fear in the hearts of the people of this world could have been averted if we (including our leaders) had chosen to adopt the position that the human heart is desperately sinful. It is an insidious lie of the enemy of our souls that has been foisted upon men — the idea that “all men are basically good.” No, we are not. Men lie and deceive; men in power lie and deceive to retain that power; they use information to manipulate opinion to their own advantage. It SEEMS to be true to the naive and unsuspecting person, even though it denies the Truth that we know absolutely is true.

We thank God for the many exceptions to these statements, but the only way we will truly know if our leaders are honest in their decisions is if we hold them accountable to the (D)documents that form the foundation of our society as the (A)authors intended. But we first have to know these (D)documents ourselves! Otherwise, the deceitfulness of the human heart will prevail, and we will be surprised when our society fails, while we hear God say, “You chose not to believe My ways!”