How Is God’s Mercy Higher Than Our Ways?

Biblical Authority Devotional: The Higher Ways of God, Part 4

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God’s lovingkindness and mercy is infinitely greater than ours. Erik Lutz, AiG–U.S., explains.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says 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)

Today’s big question: how is God’s mercy higher than our ways?

In previous devotionals, we have considered Isaiah 55:8–9 and how the thoughts and ways of God are infinitely beyond our own. Now, we will examine the broader context in Isaiah 55 to discover more of why God made this profound statement about the greatness of His ways. The preceding verses reveal a clear theme that is evident throughout the chapter:

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6–7)

This call for repentance appears immediately before God’s declaration of His higher ways in verses 8 and 9, which is no accident. When we consider how vast the expanse is between the wickedness of man’s heart (Jeremiah 17:9) and the perfect holiness of God (Isaiah 6:3), how could we ever expect Him to forgive our sin? Amazingly, God does not arbitrarily grant forgiveness based on our works but because of His character—specifically, His mercy.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22–23, ESV)

Even though the Israelites continually rebelled against God and committed all kinds of abominations, He still held out His arms to welcome them back if they would only repent (Isaiah 65:2). The book of Lamentations was written in mourning for God’s people because of the severe judgment they were facing for their apostasy. But even in the midst of great despair, God’s love and mercy remain the same.

This is another area where God’s ways are so far above our ways—His love and mercy never end! No one is too evil for God to forgive, as we see in the context of Isaiah 55. God calls everyone to repent and turn to Him (Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9). Knowing this awesome truth, how will you live differently today?

Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. (Lamentations 3:40–41)

Today’s big idea: God’s mercy never ends!

What to pray: confess any sin in your life, and worship God for His everlasting mercy!


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