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. (ESV – Read the chapter)
We are not God. That should be basic, but it’s not. A reversal of that fact is the fundamental deceit of the fall. We forget it all the time, in fact. We regularly are guilty of thinking we know better than God how to run His world. Things happen a certain way and we almost immediately start Monday-morning-quarterbacking the creator and sustainer of the whole cosmos. When was the last time you consciously processed a thought which began with, “Well, if I were God…”?
Yet this is not the real state of things. To say that God is as much higher than us as we are than an amoeba is an insult to the amoeba. In fact, trying to compare ourselves with God in the first place is a fool’s errand. It doesn’t even compute. We aren’t of the same kind. It’s a comparison not of apples to oranges as many might think it. It is a comparison of apples to battleships. The moment we begin to formulate the thought that we know even in the same universe as much as God does about anything we are wrong.
God’s ways and thoughts are not ours. He is able to see the whole picture in a way we can’t even fathom doing. Perhaps the best way to think about it for me comes out of the world of marching band. When the band performs, from the perspective of an individual member, everybody is roaming around on the field precisely, but randomly. If a movement is particularly burdensome or difficult, it might be tempting to think that the director doesn’t know very much; that the player has some good ideas about how the movements should be happening instead. Meanwhile, the director is sitting high in a tower looking down on the whole picture. He can see how everything fits together. More than even that, he has the whole drill chart in his hands and can see every movement of the entire show. He can see how they all fit together and how one set flows into the next. He can see when individuals are out of place, distorting the whole picture. The single member may complain, but he doesn’t have enough information to be able to do so legitimately.
What Isaiah is saying here is a little like that. God’s ways and thoughts are infinitely beyond ours. He can see the whole perspective of human history all at once. He knows where things need to be going and the best way to get them there. We might criticize, but we don’t have anywhere in the ballpark of enough information to be able to do so legitimately. He can see the things for which we don’t even know to be looking. He knows how where we’ve been will affect where we’re going and the connection from one place to another before we even know where we are now.
He is good and we are not. He is holy and we are not. He is loving and we are not. He is infinite in every sense and we are merely made for eternity. He is everything we’re not when we need Him, which is all the time. If we will lean into Him no matter what is going on around us, we will learn to trust Him and reap the rewards of this trust.