(7) Let the wicked abandon his way of life,
and the failure his plans.
Let him return to YHWH,
who will show him compassion,
and to our God, because he multiplies forgiveness.
(8) For my plans are not your plans,
Nor are your ways of doing things my ways,
(9) As much higher as the heavens are above the earth,
So my ways are higher than your ways, — Isaiah 55:7-9
Isaiah 55 is a rich chapter that summarizes much of what the whole book of Isaiah has to do. By abandoning God and going after idols, Israel has come to disaster. By turning to God and accepting his grace, Israel can be redeemed. Anyone who thinks there is no grace in the Old Testament hasn’t spent enough time on this chapter!
In verses three through six we learned that God wants to set us up as a witness. Whatever our call, his purpose is to draw people to us. Sometimes we complain about places where it is difficult to share our faith in words, to talk to people about Jesus. But my question for you is this: If you weren’t allowed to talk to people about Jesus would people still be able to discover that you’re a follower of Jesus? Would they come to you and ask, â€œWhat is it that makes you what you are?â€ Would they want to get some of what you have?
When they do, that’s Jesus working through you. They’re seeing Jesus in you when they’re attracted to you. They may not realize why they’re attracted to you, but that’s it. You may be thinking that we’ll be persecuted as Christians, and that’s quite the opposite, and yes, there are those who will hate you. Just make sure that they are seeing Jesus in you, and that if they choose to be offended, they are offended at him and not at something you did.
In these verses we get the message again with some added elements. We’ve been told to go to the â€œJesus shopping mallâ€ and get good things free. We’ve been told that God wants to make us glorious, to make us witnesses and to bring people to us. Now we’re told that God wants to take us higher than we can plan or even imagine. His plans are bigger and higher.
But there’s a critical point here, that’s so obvious, yet we miss it sometimes. In order to follow God’s plan, we have to abandon our own. In order to get on God’s path, we have to turn away from our path. He’ll take us all the way, but we have to let him get us away from what we’re doing.
A person in a low-paying, dead-end job may look for something better. When they find that better job, it’s easy to say, â€œI don’t know about this. I’m going to have a trial period. They might not like me. Perhaps I’ll just stay with my current job. It’s not very good, but it’s certain.â€
In the physical world, many people are living lives of despair because of decisions like that. Don’t join them. Let God take you spiritually and physically to the level he has planned for you.