No matter how hard we try to perceive the awesomeness of God, he is still God, and we are not. We must forever remember that the original, and still primary, sin was seeking to become equal to God. We are to know God, and we should daily seek to know all we can about God, but we can never fully know everything about him or become equal to him. Trying too hard to become equal to God and losing our sense of reverence and awe for God, are at the very heart of all sin.
While we should continuously seek and try to put on God’s righteous character, gracious compassion, and faithful lovingkindness, in humility we recognize too that we approach his majesty, righteousness, wisdom, or holiness on our own.
This is both exciting and frustrating because there is simply too much. But the promise remains true that one day we will be like him and see him as he is (1 John 3:1-3) and know fully even as we are fully known (1 Corinthians 13:11-12).
Isaiah 55:6-9 English Standard Version
6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
7 let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Jesus walked among us but for a short time. Along the way, the Gospels tell us, he calmly walked into the lives of twelve men while they were going about their everyday lives. He did not advertise he was coming among ordinary men. There were no billboards or television commercials or social media advertisements or any job search web pages. No one was ever even asked to submit any resumes. It is true there were no e-mail addresses or phone numbers to arrange interviews, to examine resumes to ask probing questions or to even verify any references.
Jesus, the Itinerant Rabbi just quietly and calmly walked among men. He called twelve men to be his students. He told twelve men he was going to be teacher. These twelve men, without asking questions, left their occupations, left their understanding of how things of this earth and things of their God were and in ways we cannot comprehend today, they became students of God’s own ways.
They would gladly follow close behind, “eat the dust of their Rabbi!” to learn more about the incomprehensible ways of their God. They would long to feast upon every word, every thought, every utterance, every action of this Rabbi. he taught them with an authority no one had ever experienced before, and no one would ever experience again. They would see the miraculous, be mightily tested and challenged to think outside the Temple box and believe great and mighty and unknowable things their finite minds could never hope to comprehend.
God wanted to be known among men for who He REALLY was, not some bizarre contrivance from the over rationalized thoughts, over regulated, and unspoken rules and traditions which other learned men had long since placed before them and blindly expected them to follow. God was looking for some minds, thoughts of men which He could take hold of, which He could transform into His image. He sent His Son to be Rabbi and Teacher. Give them the incomprehensible God.
Rabbi Jesus was teaching them the unknowable, unreachable, and unsearchable things of His Father in Heaven. Jesus now had these twelve under his tutelage. These twelve struggled mightily for the three years they were with them. It was an impossible task to undertake a PhD +++ in God, in such a short span of time.
The truth is that any task in life – is easy if you know the answers, procedures, and skills necessary. Not knowing the correct answer is what makes a test hard. Not knowing any of the necessary procedures and skills required is what makes a complex task hard. Not knowing what to do is, so often, what makes life hard.
The problem is not the test, task, or life at hand; the problem is in simply not knowing. Ignorance – not an insult, but the simple absence of knowledge which is important to us – is not always bliss. It is both a daunting, terrifying thing. Is there an answer to knowing the unknowable, the unsearchable things of God?
The Answer: Found in Context
A few verses before, in Isaiah 55:6, the Lord through Isaiah instructed His people to, “seek the LORD while he may be found” (ESV) – reminding us that the gift of salvation is not extended to us, as individuals, forever. We must accept God’s invitation to seek, to look for grace prior to the end of our lives – and the coming day of judgment. God’s gracious nature is eternal, but our lives on earth are not. God lovingly but clearly declares this reality in this remarkable verse.
Then, in Isaiah 55:7-8, immediately before our passage for this devotion, God calls His people to repentance and trust in Him – the key to salvation. “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” God’s plan of salvation is neither locked away, secret or hidden; it has been boldly, triumphantly, and resoundingly declared throughout all the ages.
Salvation comes by turning from sin – rebellion and opposition to God, His plan, and His purposes – and turning to Him in faith and trust. In a hard world seemingly full of things so unknowable, unsearchable, complicated, complex, and difficult to understand, God, in His infinite wisdom and grace, has made attainable, the way of salvation joyously simple – to repent, and to trust Him.
The Relationship Between Trust and Knowledge
Trust. What a remarkably simple thing, and yet something with which so many people struggle. In a very real way, trust is founded in knowledge. And, like so many of the problems we encounter in life, the problem with trust is the lack of knowledge concerning it. We often think of trusting as the opposite of knowing – that is, trusting somebody requires commitment without knowledge.
For example, I trust somebody to keep something in confidence, regardless of whether or not I know that they’ll actually keep a secret. I trust somebody to show up to an event or perform a task, regardless of whether or not I know that they’ll actually show up or do what they’ve committed to do.
However, to think of trust in this way is actually to miss the whole point of trust. The very concept of trust is built on knowledge. We trust in someone because, based on our knowledge of that person, we believe that they are worthy of our trust.
While trust is an action unto itself, it is an action founded in knowledge.
More specifically, trust requires the knowledge of mutual commitment.
Trust requires the knowledge of mutual understanding. Trust, ultimately, requires the knowledge of a mutual expression of love. All of these things are what God desires in His relationship with each of us.
The problem most people have with trust is the fear that their commitment, understanding, and love will not be returned – the absence of knowledge that the other individual will hold up their end of the “bargain.”
God has taken that fear out of the equation by reminding us that He has already expressed each of these things in an ultimate and complete fashion.
The ultimate expression of God’s commitment was the giving of His only begotten Son. As John 3:16 so powerfully declares, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (ESV).
Further, Psalm 55:2 reminds us, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (ESV).
Jesus told us in Matthew 6:26, “Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they?” (CSB).
All throughout the Bible, we are reminded of God’s care and commitment for us as His children. God has already given His commitment. He calls on us to freely choose to commit 100% of our thoughts and actions unto Him alone in return.
The ultimate expression of God’s understanding can be seen in how well He knows and understands His creation and, above all, His people.
As the LORD declared to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 ESV).
While this verse is directed toward Jeremiah specifically, the principles behind it are echoed in numerous other passages, accounts, and teachings throughout Scripture. God knows and understands us more deeply than any other human being possibly can.
In truth, God knows us better than we know ourselves! Psalm 139 conveys this truth in breath-taking terms. For example, the Psalmist declares:
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.” -Psalm 139:1-3 (ESV)
God has shown His love for His people countless times all throughout the Bible and human history, but in no event was God’s love for His people shown more clearly than in what happened at the cross of Calvary.
As Romans 5:8 declares, “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (CSB). Further, Scripture reminds us that God’s love was not a one-time deal; it continues throughout the ages.
As the Psalmist declared, “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:26 ESV).
Conclusion: The God Who Knows and Loves
1 Corinthians 2:6-12 English Standard Version
Wisdom from the Spirit
6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
Why did God send His Son into the affairs of mankind? Why did God choose to make the way of salvation so simple? Why did God choose to call us to simply trust in Him? Why did God prove his commitment, understanding, and love for us up front, rather than requiring us to “go first”? He desired to be known.
Because He is both the God who knows and deeply desires to be known and made known among us and the God who loves. The call to trust Him brings us inescapably face-to-face with the reality of knowing and loving Him in return.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9 ESV)
In a 21st century sense, being Christian with an Isaiah 55:6-9 mindset is not unlike, solely for the sake of God’s glory, edifying God’s Kingdom, inserting ourselves and our thought processes squarely into this historical quote.
“We, who are the unwilling, led by the unknowing, who are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, for so long, with so very little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.”
― Konstantin Josef Jireček
Is that really what we want to pray for in these most unsearchable of times?
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us pray, (if we dare ….)
Tender Shepherd, thank you for being so patient with me when I cannot fully understand and appreciate your holy and transcendent character. Thank you for sending Jesus so I can know you better and trust you to know me better than I know myself. I look forward to seeing you face to face when Jesus comes to bring me home. Until that day, please know I love you. In the name of Jesus, I offer all of my thoughts, thanks and praise. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.