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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Joining God


Isaiah 55:8-13
Vv. 8-9
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.  

Vv.10-13
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, and instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, and it will be a memorial to the LORD, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off." [NASB]
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How many of us have jumped in to fill the gap? We have heard the phrase “standing in the gap” and have made that our life’s stand. We may feel that if we do not do it, no one will. We may have even waited for a day or two or a week or two and no one filled the gap, so we jumped in and saved the day. Have you considered that God may have other plans for you? Maybe God was preparing another person and that person was wrestling with the call to obedience. If we jump in the gap too soon, possibly the plan of God, who is grooming someone for just that spot, could be delayed. The other person will not fill the position, will not grow, and you did not intend to thwart God’s plan. Verses 8 and 9 above must be remembered. 

Let us consider this passage. Verse 8 tells us that God’s plans are not our plans and our paths are not His paths. Surely, we say, “We must know God.” We have been His follower, His child, for 1, 5, 10, 20, 30 years. We say, “We know the voice of God and we obey.” Are we saying that we know what God is saying then or that we know Him so well that we know what He would want in the situation? I think we need to be careful here. We must exercise caution and being the “mind of God.” We will never have the mind of God. We strive, if we are listening and growing in Christ, to have a mind like Christ, like what Paul speaks of in Philippians 2:5-11. We strive for this. We run the race toward this goal, using the metaphor of Paul. We never have the mind of Christ. 

Point taken now. So, if we are not to stand in the gap and do the work of God, what are we supposed to do? Are we to let that ministry fall by the wayside? Well, if that is God’s plan, yes. Oh, I know how hard that is to stand, wait, and watch a ministry work die. The alternative though is God has another plan. His ways, His paths, are higher that our ways. Not only is Isaiah saying that since God is greater so His plans must be better, Isaiah is saying since they are majestic God’s plans, His plans are exalted. This should grab out attention now. Can we say that we have ever had exalted plans. That is what the Hebrew word, which we translate as “higher,” means. It means “exalted.” Isaiah goes further and reminds the Israelites that it is God who brings the rains and snows, which after they have watered the seed, animals, and man, somehow, majestically return to the heavens. God makes the seed sprout and provide bread for man. If God’s plans are so exalted that it is He who takes care of us, how do we think that our plans can even measure up to the majestic, exalted plans of God. Not only did Isaiah speak of this, but Paul spoke of it time and again as he bore witness to Christ. Read Acts 14:1-20 and specifically note verse 17. Read Acts 13:18 about God’s provision for the Israelites. Consider further Deuteronomy 1:31 where Moses recalls to them what God has done for them. Finally, read Matthew 6:25-34. God’s plans are greater than any plan that a mere human can hatch. 

God’s plan for this gap may be to fill the vacuum with a person He has been preparing. This person may not have realized it yesterday, but God’s plan has been active since before time began was realized and counted. God’s plans were made before creation because He has been since before creation. He is and always will be. His plans are high/exalted. Ours are not. The person whom God has been preparing needs to have time to hear God calling him or her to take over and fill the gap that seems as if no one will fill it. This person needs time to obey God’s calling upon his or her life for this moment. It is for that moment that God led him or her. We recognize that because we have been in that place ourselves. We may have been at a store just when someone needed human compassion and assistance, possibly for us to give him or her food. We may have been at that meeting at just the right time to see the parent who is fighting desperation while keeping the family afloat financially or emotionally. We have all been in the time and place where we could say, “’For such a time as this’ (Esther 4:14 [NASB]) God has led me.” Stop, wait, listen, and see whom God wants to fill the gap. 

This is how we will know if we are to be the one to fill the vacant gap. This is how we have known in the past. If you have forgotten or never known, you must “ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking” (Matthew 7:7 [AMP]) where God would have you serve Him. Sometimes it will be a day before God gives you an answer and direction, sometimes a week, month, or months. God’s ways are higher than our ways remember. When we are persistent and He knows our hearts are in earnest in seeking His ways, He will direct our paths. He will shed light on the path we are to follow. It may be to that open gap or it may be to another very different path. Know, though, that God has His plans, which are higher and wiser than our thoughts or plans. If He says leave the gap open, He has bigger plans than we can see.  

I could give you a great example of this, but I do not want to appear seeking praise from humankind. Suffice it to say I waited 3-4 months for God’s guidance and almost three years later, there are results that are so much greater than I could even have imagined or conceived in my created human mind! God’s plans are greater than our plans and His ways are higher than our ways. His master plan is to bring all people to know Him so that He can guide them in the best way and so they can have salvation from their sins and live with Him forever even after human death. This is the Master’s plan and He has a master method, through the forgiveness of their sins by the blood that His Son, Jesus, shed as the sacrifice for our sins, our errors and evil ways. The big question remains: Will you seek God’s thoughts and higher ways to know Him and to know how He would like you to be of service in His master plan? Where will God call you to “lay down your life” (John 15:13 [AMP]) because of your love for Him, which came from His ultimate love for you, the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ?

Stop…Pray…Ask…Seek…Knock.

He will direct your path in His love for you and the people of the world.

His ways and thoughts are higher.