All Christians agree "people are not God." We often disagree about the meaning of that truth. While most of us agree people are not God, most of us believe God does things the way we would do them. "God does things the way we want them done."

Isaiah began his prophecy (chapter 1) declaring Judah had forgotten God. Their temple worship made Him sick. Jerusalem was an unjust prostitute. He would forsake them.

God was now their adversary. Judah and Jerusalem would experience extreme difficulties (chapters 2, 3). They depended on idols. They abused the poor. They were wicked. As a consequence, God's vengeance was unavoidable (chapter 5).

In chapter 55, Isaiah pleaded with chastised Judah to trust their compassionate God. If they listened to the Lord, every need would be met. God would make an eternal covenant of mercy with them. God's compassion was theirs if "you seek the Lord while He can be found and turn from evil."

That was hard for Judah to accept, and harder to trust. God was so sick of them He rejected them, and they suffered. Yet, later, God promised mercy and compassion if they turned from evil and sought Him.

We do not do things that way. It does not "work" that way in human/human relationships. People who are that guilty of evil, who are forced to accept the consequences, are not offered mercy and compassion to heal the relationship.

"Explain yourself, God! People do not do things that way!"

"You are right. People do not act like I act or reason like I reason. People do not show compassion to those who inflict horrible wounds and injustice. People do not forgive years of abuse. People do not heal the guilty with mercy. But my thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways. My actions are far above yours. You cannot think as I do. You cannot relate to my actions. I forgive when you would not. "

God never did things "our way." We would not begin an evangelistic outreach by teaching a divorcee who was living with a man (John 4). God would. We would not allow a man who denied knowing Jesus to become the principal Christian teacher to an ethnic group (Matthew 26:69-75). God would. We would not allow a man who destroyed Christians to become a lead missionary and a New Testament writer (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-43). God would.

When we impose our judgment, logic, reasoning, and concepts on God, we trust ourselves, not God. When we allow God to impose His purposes on us; when we yield to God's will when His will defies human logic; when God's values defy human rationales and we embrace them, then we trust God instead of ourselves.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 13 August 2000

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