Summary: Isaiah made it clear on behalf of God that his thoughts are way differant to ours and his ways are much higher than ours, so why would we limit God?
Isaiah 55: 8-11 This passage talks of a future servant who would save God's people as they returned from exile and followed him.
An interesting time of the year, welcome to 2011, well I guess that many of you welcomed the New Year in yesterday. Many of you would have probably have made one of those New Years resolutions. That sort of I’m going to loose a couple of kilos, work at getting a pay rise, get up earlier, and smile more at my neighbour’s, that sort of things. OK time to fess up who here has resolved to do what?
Resolutions are good and all these things are excellent to aim at, there is one thing that I believe could have real impact and it can have real impact. It’s trying to alter our own limits on our potential, and how we limit others potential and the limits we put on God’s potential to work in our lives. Often we limit ourselves and we limit those around us and we put limits on God’s involvement in our lives. We are inclined to put ourselves in a box, to put others in a box and to put God in a box.
1) This year I am going to engage in some outside the box thinking, and I’d like to invite you to do the same. God has always had a way of taking the inside the box stuff and using something to blow that thinking apart.
Who would have thought a child, who was born to a couple of poor teenagers from a dry dusty town in the Middle East around two thousand years ago would be worshipped as The Saviour of the World, ‘to the very ends of the earth’ (which incidentally is here in New Zealand) today!
In this next year I would ask that we don’t limit God! The prophet Isaiah wrote down these words of God;
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Do you get the sense here that God is saying; don't limit me by your thinking and to be aware that I am God!
God: that little word that holds the most massive of meanings and encourages endless human attempts at understanding.
I learned along time ago that I tend to limit God. That my understanding is limited by my own sensory perception and my education, that even my understanding of His love is limited, by how I have been shown love in my upbringing.
It is a little like this, your understanding of food might be that you have only ever eaten boiled food with a little salt for seasoning when there are many other ways in which food can be prepared and seasoned. It could be the thing with the most flavour you have ever tasted is, say boiled mutton chops, cabbage and onions with a little salted potato. Yum! Why limit it?
What if that food could speak what would the mutton chop say. “try me seasoned with a fresh mixed herbs, plum sauce and a side of pan fried mushrooms.” The potato, the onion what could you do with that, and cabbage it has potential beyond boiling, doesn’t it, yes even cabbage has potential? Why limit it?
2) In similar way people tend to limit God to how they have understood him, or because of their life styles they keep him at a distance not wanting to understand him, When what he desires from all people is to be understood, to be welcomed into peoples lives.
Interestingly with an increased understanding of God, reading his word the Bible…”it will not … fail us” ( I borrowed that line), as we interact with him talking to him allowing his Holy Spirit to minister to us, we find blessings and we find ourselves blessed.
In the first part of verse 13 of Isaiah 55 God says “Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree and instead of briers the myrtle will grow…”
God is able to take the destitute, the desolate and even the thorny, what we would consider to be something useless and turn it into the useful and treasured, to take the broken person and heal their spirit, to take a fool and use them to confound the wise.
His thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways.
Here’s a question; God looks at us and sees potential where we see nothing, why would we compare ourselves with what we see in others when we can focus on the potential that God sees in us
Just imagine what we can do with God’s leading. I sometimes think of where I came from and the things I’ve achieved in my own strength, those of you who know a bit about my working life before Salvation Army officership know that once, ‘I couldn’t even spell Electrician, and now I is one.’ The things we can do in our own strength are far surpassed by the power of God.