Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9
Have you ever tried untying a bread tie only to twist it the wrong way first before realizing it was working against your purpose? (This is a regular occurrence for me.) Similarly, we can twist scripture the wrong way at first and it too works against our purpose to be spiritually fed by God’s Word. Instead we end up questioning God and listening to Satan whisper, “Did God really say…?”
Take 2 Samuel 24:1 for example and see what your first impression of God is after reading it.
“Now again the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and it incited David against them to say, “Go, number Israel and Judah.”
Without reading 1 Chronicles 21:1 it would seem that God provoked David to sin. Is God just messing with David’s mind and heart because He’s angry at Israel and wants a reason to punish them? Of course not! Therefore, knowing my twisted tendencies, I go to the truth passages in God’s Word that tell me of God’s character and use those verses as a plumb line to measure passages I don’t fully understand.
For example, after reading 1 Chronicles 21:1 we know that Satan was the instigator, appealing to David’s pride and insecurities, and God allowed the numbering to take place because He is sovereign, loving and just. God was in hot pursuit of His bride’s heart, allowing pain for the purpose of restoration. This is how it works with us too. I know when my heart hardens toward God He allows whatever it takes to bring me back to Him, exposing sin not for the purpose of shaming or condemning me but for healing and restoration just like a surgeon creates a wound through an incision, exposing what’s inside in order to remove a problem area or restore what’s broken. When this happens I can have twisted thoughts about God based on my circumstances instead of His character.
Fortunately, like a swing when you twist it round and round, you can only go so far before letting go. For instance, when we twist our hope around things other than Jesus Christ we ultimately feel the pain of loss of intimacy with God and others causing us to stop and repent. For David his hope was in the size of his army. What is it for you? Is your hope in your job, your family, money, looks or friends? Or, is your hope (confident expectation) in Jesus? Are your thoughts and actions in line with God’s?
What good news it is to know that God knows our thinking is twisted and we need help! Fortunately, in verses like Isaiah 55:6-8 we have directions for untwisting our hearts. “Seek the LORD…Call upon Him…Forsake YOUR ways and YOUR thoughts…Return to the LORD…HE WILL have compassion on you and HE WILL forgive you…”
Thank You, LORD, that Your thoughts are perfect and right and Your ways are straight! Praise You for Your Word which is “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” making my thoughts obedient to Christ as I allow You to renew my mind and heart by the power of the Hoy Spirit which is in me!