Prepare to listen. Be still and hear these words of the Lord: Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. (Isaiah 55:3)
Read Isaiah 55:6-9
6Seek the LORD while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near;
7let the wicked forsake their way,
and the unrighteous their thoughts;
let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD.
9For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
‘Let the wicked forsake their way’ (v7). The ‘wicked’ aren’t unevangelized ‘outsiders,’ or the willfully rebellious. Here, ‘the wicked’ refers to God’s people (think the Church), decent people who think they’re fully committed to God’s ways but have allowed the attractions of the world to crowd God out or distort what God is like; creating a Jesus who agrees with them in every way. Their God is too small, and their Jesus too tame. God is so much bigger than we can imagine, so much more mysterious and we’ll never comprehend God, no matter how good our theology (thoughts about God) is. We are to seek the God whose ways aren’t our ways; whose thoughts aren’t our thoughts. The God we worship, and follow is a God of higher ways and thoughts; who works in strange and wondrous ways beyond our ability to imagine. We can never reach up to this God, therefore God in Christ came down us. This is where Lent is taking us—to the cross and Jesus reaching out to us in love; to God’s higher ways so unlike our common practices today.
Reflect on your picture of God. Does it draw you into humble worship and a new way of living?
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Your thoughts and your ways are far above mine and far above all us humans put together. Teach me to let go of my small-minded ways to serve and worship you in truth and humility. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world seeking God’s higher ways.
Reading the Bible has always been essential to followers of Jesus. I've been reading, studying, teaching and writing reflections on biblical texts for as long as I can remember. I invite you to read the Bible with me during the Lent and into Easter Sunday.