“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither 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.” – Isaiah 55:8-9
It doesn’t take much reading in the Bible to notice that God doesn’t do things in the way we would expect him to. Take Satan formerly known as Lucifer as an example. Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 tell of a being so full of himself that he believes that he can take on God and grow to be equal with him. He somehow manages to drag one third of all the angels in heaven to join him on his deluded quest. What does God do while Satan is conducting his whispering campaign? Very little apparently. Don’t get me wrong. The Bible really doesn’t record much of what happened between God and the angels before the creation of the world. It does record in Revelation 12 that God’s loyal angels declared war on Satan’s rebel angels and kicked them out of heaven.
Think about this, if you or I had unlimited power and unlimited knowledge, knowing everything that Satan and his now demons were going to do to people on earth, wouldn’t you rather destroy them than permit them to operate seemingly with impunity? Why does God not destroy Satan on the spot? If not that, why allow him any freedom at all? Today, if someone was stark raving mad it wouldn’t take long for them to be put in a straight jacket and a padded cell. God doesn’t do that. Instead, he let’s Satan roam free. Wow. Clearly God doesn’t think or act like we humans think or act.
Now take Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us in places like John 1 that Jesus was fully God and fully human. He is the most powerful being in the universe. No one can compare to his knowledge, his power or his presence. He can literally be everywhere at one and can do anything he wants. Nothing is impossible with God. Then, because of sin and disobedience, God decides to come to the earth as a human being. If you or I had been in God’s unlimited power position would we have allowed ourselves to become as vulnerable as a human baby?
Furthermore, if we were going to try to get the attention of the human race, wouldn’t you think we would do everything possible to be attractive to them? Human beings love power. God has plenty of that. Human beings are attracted to riches. Who is richer than God? Human beings are also attracted to beauty. Who created beauty? Who is more beautiful that God himself? So when God decides to come down to the earth he uses all of these tactics to get human beings to listen to his message and believe in him right? Wrong. From a human standpoint God seems to do everything wrong in the way he presents Jesus to the human race.
Isaiah 53:2 tells us “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” This whole chapter in Isaiah is talking about the Messiah, otherwise known as Jesus Christ. Here in verse 2 we read that Jesus came as a plain man. Not in power and not beautiful. Not what we expected… Then in Luke 2 we read that Jesus was born in a stable, in the feeding trough of animals (manger)… Not what we expected of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. While it is true that no human being can choose the manner, place or people who will raise him, God the Father chose all of these ahead of time. Nothing was left to chance.
The Jews of Jesus’ day were held in captivity by the Roman empire. The Romans weren’t exactly known for their kindness and gentleness. In any given conquered land they were the tiny one percent minority of a given population. Romans primarily cared about receiving the taxes of their conquered lands. The last thing they wanted was any kind of insurrection. As a result they came down fast and hard on rebellions and asked questions later. There would have been all kinds of reasons for the Jews to hate the Romans. They worshipped a false religion. They are unclean foods. They considered anyone who wasn’t a Roman citizen a second class citizen who did not merit any rights of property or person.
The Jews expected that the coming Messiah would come and liberate the nation from Roman rule. Instead, Jesus was establishing a spiritual kingdom. Not what they expected…
Bottom line for each of us to consider. Never expect God to act in the way or at the speed that you think is necessary. God has eternity in view, all we can see is the moment. His decisions may not seem to make sense now but we need to trust that he is in control and that he will accomplish what he started. We need to daily ask God to increase our faith, our trust in him. We must recognize that he is the master and we are the servant. We don’t need to know everything before obeying. We don’t need to have all the facts before believing. Let us learn to be faithful to what he has shown us and trust the rest to him. Chances are… He will act in a way we didn’t expect.