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Chapter 21

Understanding God's ways


The objective of this chapter is to look at how God's ways are different from the ways of man and how man can never fully understand the ways of God. It is really important to recognise these two things. The ideas presented in this book May never be able to be understood and accepted if they are looked at in the way man normally looks at things.

In reading this book, you need to be able to put aside all your common preconceptions concerning just about everything. In this chapter, you need to allow yourself to be educated about the real nature of God and also of mankind. You need to be able to understand something about God's ways in order to be able to seek him in the way he desires.

Differences between God and man.

Firstly, let's take a look at the differences between God and man, because the difference between them is the basis of their different ways. Although man was created in the image of God, he became very different when adam and eve sinned and lost the full provisions of fellowship with God through his holy spirit. See chapter 16 for that story. Note the differences between God and man that have resulted since those events.







Unsearchable ways.







Reasoned and logical.

When you look at these differences between God and man, is it any wonder that God's ways are different from those of man.

Understanding God's ways.

Christians understand something of the ways of God, but never ever delude themselves that they can ever understand all his ways. This is despite the fact that God has made many promises in the bible, all of which he has vowed to keep. ( I have a pocket promise book of God with 867 promises in it). But the thing we all have to remember is that God alone decides when and how to answer those promises. Christians call this aspect of God his " sovereignty". To say that God is sovereign is to say that he is the almighty, the master of all heaven and earth and that no one can defeat his purposes. In short, he is the 'boss' over all things in heaven and on earth.

So, although we can always ask God for anything, we have to accept his answers, as they come, and when they come, because he is all- knowing and knows what is best for us. We all need to accept right now, that this side of heaven, we will never understand all of God' s ways . God himself tells us this .

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways you ways," declares the lord.

" As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." ( Isaiah 55:8-9.)

So that's how it is! What man is left to do is to believe in Jesus and to trust and obey what is said in the bible, which is the word of God.

How are God's ways different?

If you were master of the universe, as God is, then wouldn't you, when you sent your son to earth, set him up in the best hotel, with the best of clothes, serVice and means of transport? This is a great example of how God is different. When Jesus came to earth his birthplace was a horse stable, his bed of straw, his covering a piece of cloth and his transport a donkey. How different are God's ways to man's! This difference is indicative of many others that Jesus talked about in the sermon on the mount. In the following list compare the characteristics that Jesus was advocating for man, with those that are in the world.

Jesus was advocating:

  • to depend on God instead of being proud, independent and selfish.
  • to be gentle and humble instead of arrogant.
  • to be merciful instead of cruel.
  • to be pure instead of corrupt.
  • to be peaceful instead of quarrelsome.
  • to accept persecution without retaliating.
  • to seek God rather than pleasure.

Imagine a world without pride, arrogance, cruelty, corruption, quarrels, wars and selfish pleasure seeking! These are all man's ways. God's ways for man are dependence on him, humility, mercy, purity, peacefulness and acceptance. These are not just the ways of God, but the ways he expects man to achieve. ( With God's help of course )

God's methods.

When we talk about God's ways we are not only meaning what he is like, but also his methods, the way he does things. This is the most important part of the chapter. What seems like one of God's strangest ways is that he will often allow his people to suffer, when it would seem like he should deliver them from the cause of their trouble. He did this with his own people the jews, when he allowed them to be enslaved and mistreated for 400 years.

However, whenever he allows people to suffer, it is always for their own final good. By the standards of man however, these things would be considered cruel and unjust. The problem is that man can never judge these things, when his meagre knowledge is compared with all the knowledge that God has at his disposal.

This characteristic that we are talking about is called the omniscience of God. It means that God knows all things whether past, present or future. The bible tells us that God's understanding has no limit

( Ps. 146:5) and that he knows the beginning from the end, and what is still to come. ( Isaiah 46:10)

The majesty of God.

Imagine if you like, God sitting at the centre of a time wheel of all time and being able to see all things. This is how it actually is for God. By any comparison, man is so insignificant and puny. If we, as human beings do not take notice of God and his ways, we are rather foolish. Listen to what the apostle paul said about God.

" Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the lord? Or who has been his counsellor? ( Romans 11:33-34.)

In other parts of scripture, God himself says that we should trust him and not rely on our own understanding of things. It has proved very good adVice. Are you beginning to see the importance of placing God's ways before your own? You have probably already read about the state of man in chapter 13. There isn't any comparison is there? It's really best to go God's way.

What to expect from God. What not to expect.

Everyone can pray. In its simplest form, prayer is just asking God for his help or guidance. God answers all prayer, although it should be noted that God answers prayer in his own ways. For example, he May not give you the wife of your choice, but gives you the one he chooses, because he knows that the one he chooses will be better in the long run.

A further example. A mother who is short of money to buy clothes for her children, might pray for money. God however, in his wisdom and mercy, might prompt another person to provide the clothes needed and at no cost, because her own children have grown out of them. An answer to prayer, but in a different form.

God will supply all your needs, as distinct from your wants. You might want a mercedes, but he supplies a small ford. You might want to live in luxury, but he gives you a comfortable cottage. You might want to marry a blonde with the looks of a fashion model, but he gives you a loving, caring wife instead. Patience is needed in waiting for answers to prayers. God hears prayers and will answer them in some form. We need to learn to wait for his answers. Note the importance of obedience in chapters 16 and 17 in respect of getting answers to prayer.

What this chapter has said.

  1. God and man are different in many basic ways.
  2. God's ways are very different from the ways of man.
  3. Jesus came to earth to teach man new ways. ( These are recorded in the bible.)
  4. God's methods are different from man's methods.
  5. When you pray to God, expect the answer in his way and in his time.
  6. God will supply all your needs.