날짜: 3월 3일 2019년
제목: 하나님의 생각
올리브연합감리교회 김배선 목사
20190224 Sunday Worship Sermon
“God’s Thoughts” (Isiah 55:6-11)
Whether it’s past generations or this generation, we often hear young generations say, “There’s nobody that understands us.”
I think I had similar thoughts when I was very young.
We often thought, “Oh the adults don’t understand us,” and labeled ourselves as rebels.
Sometimes, even though what we think seems correct, others may not understand.
But on the other hand, sometimes we are too convinced that our thoughts are absolutely correct.
Just like the younger generation, the older generation sometimes think, “nothing goes MY way.”
But brothers and sisters, such thoughts have fundamental mistakes.
When we think “Things don’t go MY way or how I intended,” there is a fundamental principle underneath it – that all things SHOULD go as I thought or intended, and MY thoughts are correct.
It is embedded in us that MY thoughts are correct and others should naturally follow what I think.
Because of this principle, people blame others when things don’t go as they thought.
It is true that for some people, they might not have reached their true potential because of their environment.
Some people might have to give up their potentials because of bad timing.
Some people because of lack of connections or bad connections.
Some of you may think – yes I had to give up some of my potentials for reasons that were my fault.
So we blame the environment, timing and circumstances or sometime other people.
I am asking that we change our perspective today.
We need to look at what’s hidden behind the fact that sometimes things don’t go as we thought, planned or intended.
It may well be that something else may be interfering or impacting our lives without us realizing it.
We should be humble to realize that there may be this absolute force, or thoughts and intentions that lead our lives.
And that is God’s thoughts – His plan.
A lot of people seem to understand but tend to forget that God’s thoughts – His plan – is leading our lives.
God’s thoughts sometime supplement and help our plans.
But on the other hand, sometimes His thoughts govern our thoughts and sometimes even clash and conflict our thoughts.
Sometimes, His thoughts overpower ours and make us fall on our knees.
Therefore, when we recognize and believe that God’s thoughts are behind ours, it fundamentally changes how we think.
Today’s scripture mentions that God’s thoughts have two characteristics.
Verse 8 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”
God’s thoughts are different from ours.
Even some faithful Christians mistakenly think “my thoughts are God’s thoughts. What I hope for is what God hopes for. My prayer requests are what God intends.”
This may sound very faithful, but we need to be very cautious of such thoughts.
We human are created after God’s image, but because of sins, we lost a lot of His images.
So no matter how much we try to mimic God’s thoughts, no matter how wise we think we may be, we cannot catch up with God.
No matter how holy our thoughts may be, they are no way close to how holy God’s thoughts are and we cannot read His most holy thoughts.
Yes, it is very important to realize and humbly admit that “Yes, God’s thoughts and His plans may be well different from mine.”
And when we admit that, then we can embrace His thoughts in ours.
Then how different can God’s thoughts be from ours?
Let’s look at verse 6 and 7.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
We can read God’s thoughts in these verses.
Let us focus on the word “while.”
It means timing.
There may be a difference between His timing and ours.
In terms of timing, God is telling us now is the time the wicked should forsake their way and return to the Lord.
And because this is God’s thoughts, He calls the wicked and the unrighteous using many different ways.
God is saying “now,” but what do we think?
We tend to think “not yet.”
God says, “Now is the time to believe, now is the time to return to me,” but people think “Not yet, maybe later.”
How shallow and unwise we are.
God says “Come forward to worship now, pray now, share the gospels now, and serve now.”
But we answer “let me enjoy a little more, let me make and save a little more money, let me finish just this one, maybe later when I get a little older.”
We make excuses and procrastinate.
This is how different and distant our thoughts are from His.
Another characteristic of God’s thoughts are in verse 9.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
God’s thoughts are higher, more grand, most perfect and unfathomable.
Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, God’s thoughts are at a level that our thoughts cannot reach.
We know well about the story of Lazarus.
When Lazarus was about to die, his sisters - Mary and Martha - sent the message to Jesus that he needed to come right away.
They probably thought that if Jesus was there, he would be able to heal Lazarus.
That’s how we think.
However, how did Jesus think?
Jesus had different thoughts.
Jesus thought that he didn’t have to go right away, because he know that Lazarus’ death was to glorify God.
Here we see how different our thoughts and God’s divine thoughts could be.
Of course, Mary and Martha would’ve never understood why in the world Jesus delayed his trip.
So they complained.
In the end, Jesus delayed his trip for four days and resurrected Lazarus.
How can we fully understand God’s divine thoughts and intentions?
We nod our heads and seem to understand when we read the Bible.
When we pray, we seem to acknowledge, “Ah, this is what God wants.”
But, when we are actually faced with reality, we tend to change our mind.
“In reality, my thoughts seem more appropriate than God’s thoughts. This fits my circumstances better.”
Like such, we assess and make decisions centered on us.
We seem to acknowledge that God’s thoughts are much higher and grander than ours, but when we are faced with realities, we ignore God’s thoughts and put our thoughts higher than His.
Brothers and sisters, where do you think a lot of our hardships originate from?
Don’t you think that forgetting that God’s thoughts are higher than mine and ignoring them is the origin of a lot of our hardships?
Then what are God’s thoughts?
Throughout the Bible, we can summarize his thoughts and intentions in four big themes.
His first and foremost thought and intention is that He will save us.
His second thought and intention is that He will make us his children.
His third thought and intention is that He wants to have us to his work.
He will trust us with his missions.
His fourth thought and intention is that He will make all things work together for good.
In other words, that He will work with us.
Yes, as we contemplate the Scripture very carefully, we realize what God has in mind for us – that God wants to save us, God wants us to live as his children, God wants us to his work, and that God wants to make all things work together for good, for us!
But unfortunately, our thoughts often collide with God’s thoughts.
And we resist and rebel.
Instead of living our lives according to his thoughts, we insist on our thoughts and our ways.
And that causes hardships in our lives.
Let us look at verses 10 and 11.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”
What does this mean?
Just as the rain comes down from heaven and does not return until they complete its purpose – by watering and producing the crop on earth, God’s thoughts and His words complete their purpose.
It means that God will ultimately accomplish what he intended.
Once He decides, He will complete it.
For this reason, if we don’t follow God’s thoughts, God may complete his intentions his way.
If He decides, then even if we don’t want it, he completes it.
Yes, His intentions and thoughts may not match mine.
And the way He accomplish things may not be exactly how he see things.
From time to time, it may mean hardship for us, struggles that we need to push through and overcome.
So please, do not try to clash with God’s thoughts.
That is not being wise.
Helen Keller, who was deaf-blind but lived more accomplished life than anyone else, said,
“Losing sight or hearing momentarily is beneficial to one’s spirit, because they will realize how precious and grateful it is to be able to hear and see.”
I think this is how God works.
Sometime, when our plans and intentions are so different from God’s, he works by making us spiritually and circumstantially blind or deaf.
In other words, He puts us in such a dark situation when we see no light at the end of the tunnel.
Sometimes, he puts us in such a lonely place where we can hear nothing – no sound of search and rescue.
Brothers and sisters, have you been in such situation?
Where you could see no light at the end of the tunnel or you feel like you fell in a dark pit and there is no sound of search and rescue.
Was that because you had no luck?
Or you had unfortunate timing or circumstances?
No. Think about it.
Sometime God shuts our eyes and ears because we resist and rebel against his will.
I like the sound of stream.
Some parts are calming and some parts are rhythmic.
The sound of stream is mostly water hitting and splashing against rocks and boulders and small turns and twists.
What if you take out all rocks and boulders and make the stream a straight line without any turns and twists?
Then I am sure there will be no sound of stream, because the water won’t be hitting any rocks and boulders.
God wants us to sing and praise him.
No matter where and what circumstances we are, God wants us to live according to his will, his thoughts and intentions.
God doesn’t want our praise and worship to stop no matter where we go.
And that’s why God does not remove the rocks and boulders, turns and twists of our lives nor make our path straight.
Even if it hurts God to watch us flow through the turns and twists and sometime hit against rocks and boulders.
Let us understand God, how he sees us and feels as he watches us.
Brothers and sisters, God’s thoughts – his wills and intentions – are higher and deeper and grander than ours.
“God, I am putting my thought down and in that place, put your thoughts. I praise and worship you.”
Let us all confess.
I know we shed tears and felt desperate and felt like failures sometimes, but we are not failures.
God has plans that are higher, deeper and grander than you can possibly fathom.
So why should we be sad and discouraged?
Why should we complain that nothing goes the way we want?
"My thoughts were foolish, but God's thoughts were wise. I thank you God for your will be done. Thank you that my way didn’t work. "
Let us confess that in our lives.
To such a man, God will prepare for greater blessings and entrust greater work.
I pray in the name of Lord that we all live in obedience to the will of God, so he may use us and our lives be full of blessings from God. Amen.