The Knowledge of God and the Ignorance of Man
Read Isaiah 55:6-13
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts…and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts”
When we do not understand what God is doing, why he is doing what he does, and what will be the outcome, it is easy to begin to question God. We question God’s knowledge of us when it seems heaven remains silent in the face of our struggles. We question God understanding when his actions and commands contradict our perspective of morality and fairness. We question God’s concern when adversity strikes. We question God’s plan for us when things go awry in our life. Sometimes we even question God’s forgiveness when our past is filled with unspeakable failures.
In verse 6-7, Isaiah calls upon Israel to turn back to God and forsake their sin for God will forgive and pardon them abundantly. Having pleaded with Israel to turn from sin, it seems as if verse 8-9 are out of place. Why would Isaiah point to the contrast of God’s thoughts and ours when he is speaking of sin and forgiveness? One would have expected him to compare our righteousness (or lack thereof) with God’s holiness and righteous standard. Instead he points to our thoughts compared to God. So why the shift? The answer lies in verse 7, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.” Sin begins in our thoughts. More often than not, we do not choose sin because we want to sin, we choose sin because it seems right to us. The reason Adam and Even ate the forbidden fruit in the garden is because they thought it would bring them greater wisdom. To them, it seemed like the right thing to do. The sin of Adam and Eve was not their rebellion against God’s command, but their questioning of the truthfulness of God’s command and their desire to be independent of God.
This is why Isaiah contrasts our thoughts and God’s thoughts. In a fallen world where our thoughts are corrupted by sin, what we think is right or wrong comes in conflict with what God says in his word to be right and wrong. Thus, the corrective set forth by Isaiah. When our understanding seems to conflict with God’s understanding we need to recognize who has greater knowledge. God’s knowledge is infinite, encompassing all things real and possible. He knows all options and every outcome of every option. Our understanding, however, is finite and limited merely to the realm of our own experience. Therefore, it would be foolish for us to question God’s wisdom and knowledge when it conflicts with ours. Instead we must recognize the certainty of his word (vs 10-11). Verse 12 gives us a promise that we grasp and hold on to dearly, “For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace.” But that promise is only true when we have embraced the limits of our knowledge and trust solely upon the knowledge of God revealed in his word.
In these times of uncertainty when we are not sure what to do and what is right or wrong, we need to trust in the only one who does know all things. The most important question is not, “what do we know” but rather it is, “Who do we trust to know.” That is why we must be turning to the pages of scripture for answers to all of life’s deepest questions. Start spending time each day reading the Bible to gain the truth that only he can give. Then, conform your thoughts to his, rather than conform his thoughts to yours.