Skip to main content

Despondent?


Every so often we come across a text that is understood one way but when we examine it in its original context find it means something different. When preachers speak on the text, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8) most draw a parallel to one of two things. One is evangelism. The preacher uses the verse to point out to non-Christians that their thinking and lives are wrong. So they need to change and go God’s way.

Another way this text is interpreted is to say that in the midst of suffering you cannot understand God, so you must resign yourself to suffer; resign yourself to the fact that God knows what he’s doing. This last way is how the text is most often used: to express that when life has turned sour it makes no sense to question God, for his thoughts and ways are so far above yours that even he wanted to tell you why you’re suffering you wouldn’t get it.

But this last interpretation is the opposite of what the text was originally meant to convey. Israel HAD resigned herself to captivity in Babylon. They thought to themselves, “There’s no way out of this mess. There’s no way we’re ever going to return home. The best thing we can do is to build a future for ourselves in this hole.”

Against this melancholy, God says, “Those may be your thoughts, but I have something else in mind. I’m thinking of your liberation and returning to you your land. You may not think this way. You may not be able to find the way back. But my thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways. So do not resign yourself to hopelessness and despair. Do not live in spiritual paralysis, but understand that I am at work in your life to bring release.”

Are your though and ways God’s?

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Andy Stanley and the “NEW Hermeneutic”

The problem of faith and reason is longstanding in the history of theology. Augustine held that faith aids reason (credo ut intelligam) and that reason aids faith (intelligo un creadam). The church father is, however, inclined to stress the later over the former. It was with Thomas Aquinas, and his Summa Theologica, that the effort to reconcile faith and reason reached its apex. Rejecting the medieval doctrine of double truth, he placed natural reason prior to faith in effectively every area of the Christian life. The restrictions are the mysteries of the faith that reason cannot penetrate.
Thomas’ affirmation of the high role of native reason in Christian belief is linked to his stress on dialectical method in study, seminally set forth by Peter Abelard. The form of study is dependent largely on logic to argue both sides of a theological question. Christian belief is thus the proper result of process or synthesis. Faith then assents to the final proposition arrived at by reason.
Thom…

Pat Robertson is Warned!

Pat Robertson is taking it on the chin again. Seems each time he opines on why bad things happen to us, there is someone to call him on it.
Most recently, Dr. Richard Mouw has taken up the challenge in response to Robertson's recent statement on the Las Vegas shooting, in which at least 59 people were killed and more than 500 were wounded in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
In a piece, titled, "You've Been Warned, PatRobertson!" Mouw, for whom I have deep respect, pens,

"It didn’t take long for some preachers to start telling us why God caused the horrible mass murder in Las Vegas to happen. Pat Robertson led the way, declaring that it was divine retribution for the widespread 'disrespect' for Donald Trump in America."
If Robertson had limited his rationale for the Vegas shooting to God punishing us for people dissing the President, I'd be smacking him on the chin myself. But he didn't.
Robertson's brief remarks f…

Fighting Abortion is Not the Fourth Sign of the Church

Some Christians are what I call, “single-issue.” I recall one family that left a church because everything did not revolve around Evangelism Explosion. But that's just one issue.
The issue I'm thinking about is abortion on demand. Some concerned Christians expect their pastor to thunder away almost each week on this topic, or at least mention it. He must make it is his central motif. He must protest outside the abortion clinic. If he doesn’t, he can say he’s against abortion all he likes, but it’s not enough.
Motivating the single-issue congregant is a deeper judgment. He thinks that the ultimate reason abortion on demand still happens is because pastors let it. Churches let it.
As one who has taken a virulent stand against abortion, both in the pulpit and with pen, I can say without qualification, “I hate it.”  Period. I pray the day that Roe is overturned. Nonetheless, as a former pastor, an as one who may return to the pulpit someday, here’s the bottom line.
We are called to …