Mercy, forgiveness and the ways of God. A reflection. Guest Post ~ Jean Louis

Mercy, forgiveness and the ways of God. A reflection

Mercy, Forgiveness and the ways of God

Written and posted by Jean-Louis.
This reflection follows my train of thought of a previous post on forgiveness and restoration.
The basic text is found in Isaiah 55: 8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and “your ways are not my ways”

1. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

As an interpretation of this statement of God by the mouth of the prophet, I’ve always heard that man is so much inferior to God that he can in no way be compared to him. This being true, I do not think that this is the primary meaning or intent of this passage. The usual statement´s application covers any condition and any situation that baffles human understanding and prevents any further action or probing because of the transcendental nature of God.
A closer analysis of the whole context in the preceding verses and the previous chapter show that God here is teaching by analogy a very important lesson on forgiveness and the resulting effects of the demonstration of compassion, mercy and grace, attributes of His divine nature. The way I understand it, He is saying that whereas man would exact payment for food and water and work for wages, God gives freely and graciously if wicked man would turn to him and receive pardon. Whereas man in his natural state would not forgive wrong done to him and retaliate, seeking revenge, the Lord is compassionate and forgiving. So, to this extent and in this sense, it is true that man is unlike God. It reveals more about the pettiness of man´s spirit contrasted with the magnanimous, compassionate loving heart of our merciful Father.
First notice the order. The verse begins with the Alpha, the beginning, the initiator of everything good and holy in our lives.
This verse does not mean that man is unable to think like God because man as a new creature, born again by the power of the Holy Spirit has the indwelling Spirit of Christ as Paul says in I Corinthians 2: 12-16:

12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,“Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”But we have the mind of Christ.”

     2. “And your ways are not my ways.”

In the first part of the verse, the contrast between the OT and the NT scriptures is obvious and clear. On the other hand, the second part speaking of the ways of the Lord presents a word order in the reverse, beginning with man and his ways.
Psalm 103: 7 states that: “He made ​​known his ways to Moses.” But “he made ​​known his deeds to the son of Israel.”
“The Jews require a sign,” Paul said in I Corinthians 1:22.
To me, the verse in Isaiah 55 simply means that man in his natural state as a sinner would not forgive an offense against him. Rather he would seek a means of revenge for expressing his resentment, bitterness and anger.
An example of these attitudes and intentions of the heart occurred very early in the history of man. Genesis 4:23 tells us how a descendant of Cain, Lamech, known for his jealousy, anger and murder of his brother Abel, boasted of his intention to avenge an injury by the death of his opponent and that he would be willing to take revenge seventy-seven times.
Contrast this malicious intent in the heart of a wicked man with the Lord Jesus´ answer when Peter asked how many times we should forgive our brother who has offended us. Here is the beginning of the parable of the unmerciful servant: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21,22. NIV While man since the dawn of time has sought revenge, the Lord God full of compassion and forgiveness has reconciled us to himself through the sacrifice of his Son, the Lord Jesus-Christ. It is He through the operating power of the Holy Spirit who gives us the will, the courage and the strength to seek reconciliation and to forgive those who offend us. The Lord does not ask us to do whatever He commands us without giving us specific instructions, clear explanations and strength to do His will.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.Romans 15:5-7. “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” New International Version (©1984) Understood that way, the Lord reveals the chasm between sinful man and a Holy God and provides the only way to ford the distance between the two by the power of His word in His Covenants and promises. This way is found throughout the whole Bible as being the Lord Jesus-Christ, the Word of God.
Revelation 22:12,16,17 sets the final stage: 12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man [g]according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. 16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things [h]for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
In Isaiah 55, the Lord alone extends an invitation to the sinner hungry and thirsty for real spiritual bread and water because of His mercy and compassion for His rebellious wayward children.
Now, it is at the end of the time of grace, the church age, that finally the bride (the church) and the Lord Jesus (who is the spirit of prophecy) both in one accord reiterate the invitation to those who hear and desire to come and share of the heavenly banquet. 17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and [i]from the holy city, which are written in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with [j]all. Amen.

Read more:

One thought on “Mercy, forgiveness and the ways of God. A reflection. Guest Post ~ Jean Louis

  1. Thank you again, Sandee for posting these reflections and studies. I pray that they will bear fruit in the hearts and lives of the readers and encourage them as I get encouraged and exhorted myself just by studying and meditating upon the Scriptures. Grace and peace to all. J-L.


Comments are closed.