Isaiah 55:6-9 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith 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.

The beginning of Isaiah 55:6-7 tells us what to do – seek and call upon the LORD and repent – and the end of verse 7 tells us how God will respond with mercy and forgiveness. Verses 8 and 9 then describe the vastness of God’s redeeming love for us. How big is the universe? The vastness of the universe is used to declare the greatness of The Lord’s mercy towards those who repent and turn to Him for mercy and salvation. If our finite minds cannot even begin to comprehend or measure the vastness of the universe, then God tells us that neither can we even begin to comprehend the vastness of the redeeming mercy and forgiveness of our God towards us. Due to our fallen, sinful natures, we tend to project our natural expectations about who God is onto Him, instead of fighting to let the bible surprise us into what God says about Himself.

Isaiah 55:8,9 are passages that are usually quoted to speak of the mysteries of divine providence, which is a precious biblical truth. But the passage in context is not a declaration of God’s surprising providence, but a divine revelation of God’s merciful and compassionate heart, which is as far above our compassion as the heavens are higher than the earth. Compare this phrase, “my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” in Isaiah 55:9 to Psalm 103:11,12: “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

God is saying is that we cannot even begin to view His expressions of compassion with our natural eyes or ways of thinking. The fallen human heart is bent toward reciprocity, tit for tat payback. We are far more law-oriented than we realize. Our capacity to apprehend the heart of God has been diseased by the fall. God’s ways and thoughts are not our ways and thoughts in that His are thoughts of love and ways of compassion stretch to a degree that exceeds our mental comprehension. One of the early Reformers said that God is infinitely compassionate and infinitely ready to forgive, so that it ought to be ascribed exclusively to our unbelief if we do not obtain pardon from Him. Repent of your sin and trust in The Lord Jesus Christ and He will abundantly pardon. Selah