Isaiah 56 : "9Come, all you beasts of the field, come and devour, all you beasts of the forest!"
Can you imagine a cow attacking a tiger? Well, then how about a sheep feasting on a bear? Or a pig about to eat a mountain lion? Of course not...however, in the Kingdom of God this is exactly how things are done. Metaphors and Opposites, and more.....all to give us clear pictures of God and how He does things!
Isaiah 55:8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."
When God says His thoughts and ways are as high as the heavens are from the earth, He means it! Therefore, they are so much higher than we can even imagine! Yes?
When we think of the heavens, we think of the night sky that are filled with twinkly stars...but no, the heavens are way past what we can see. Therefore, the contrast here is immeasurable.
God is light...and He has no dimmer switch! He lives in "unapproachable light"(1 Tim. 6:16). In the following section of Exodus, God allows Moses to see just the back of Him after He passes by...because He is just too bright to look at - to the point where Moses would die.
So, think about the sun, it is millions of miles away, yet if we look at it for too long we can go blind. This gives us a perfect picture of God's brilliance...a brightness that darkness can not even look at, let alone be anywhere near! So, if we think we can willingly partake of the things that reside in darkness (as in Gal. 5: 19-21) and it would be OK with God...then we don't understand Him, His word or how different His ways are!
Meaning, if we do willingly partake, then in due time we'll be lovingly disciplined unless we decide to judge ourselves and do an about face in the opposite direction ~ and give our attentions back to God. 1 Cor. 11:31"If we were
judging ourselves correctly, we would not be judged. 32But when the
Lord judges us, he disciplines us so that we won't be condemned along with the
rest of the world."
Exodus 33: 17 "The LORD answered
Moses, 'I will do what you have asked, because I am pleased with you, and I know
you by name.' 18Then Moses said,
'Please let me see your glory." 19The LORD said, 'I
will let all my goodness pass in front of you, and there I will call out my name
'the LORD.' I will be kind to anyone I want to. I will be merciful to anyone I
20But you can't see my
face, because no one may see me and live." 21Then the LORD said,
'Look, there's a place near me. Stand by this rocky cliff. 22When my glory passes
by, I will put you in a crevice in the cliff and cover you with my hand until I
have passed by. 23Then I will take my
hand away, and you'll see my back, but my face must not be seen."
Something I find so wonderful about God, and what I read in His written word...and see in His Son Jesus, is that when He says something, anything...it is heavy with meaning. His words are weighty. He is thrifty and therefore packs a lot of meaning into each word. Weighty to the point where He clearly wants us to understand the reasons He makes these contrasts about Himself!
OK, so, what are the reasons? For one, that He is nothing like the human-fallen nature, and thinks nothing like our human nature thinks. In fact He is the opposite. Therefore, if the world is going south, then He is going north, for no better way to put it.
Take any given set of verses...and you will most likely see some of these contrasts and words heavy with meaning that God has made about Himself and His ways. The following section of scripture in 1 Timothy verse 11, there are many such verses in scripture like this one instructing us to 'flee from', or 'lay aside', or 'make no provision for', or 'turn from', and 'die to'...the ways of sin and the flesh.
Victory comes when things are done God's way. Man's way (and the reason we could not successfully keep the law) of dealing with sin is to set our minds on working hard at trying not to sin...but because of the weak human nature we have to try very hard over and over and over again to get even a little success! But then the law said that even one sin is too many! So, it is a hamsters wheel going no where!!
But our human nature still wants to give a lot of our attention to the sin we are struggling with....urgh!...to think and talk about it, muse over it, then try to discipline ourselves not to do it, then memorize scriptures pertaining to it, then pray and agonize over it and remind ourselves that it is sinning against God to do it, and it grieves Him to do it...and then on and on and on it goes.
But, as usual, God's way is opposed to human nature's way...typically the direct opposite! God's way is to put it to death! Not talk about it over and over again! No, but giving the sin NO attention, and instead giving your full attention to the things of God whereby starving the sinful nature! Gal. 5: 16 "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the
desires of the sinful nature."
The following verse in Romans is a good example. Romans 13:14 "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires."
It says to make no provision for the flesh's survival...so, I turn from it and give the sin none of my attention...I starve it! OK! Good! But now what do I do?? "Put on' the Lord Jesus! Yes, put Him on! Think about His great love, Talk about Him, talk to Him, serve Him, imitate Him, rest in Him, think about Him, enjoy Him, learn from Him, think about the things that come from Him, talk to others about Him...and love others as unto Him! The following verse is telling us to give these things our full attention (instead of giving it to sin).
Phil. 4:8 "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is
honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is
commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things."
Can you name some other things of God to give your full attention to? How about what comes from the Holy Spirit?
Gal. 5: 22But the fruit of
the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong
to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh (given no attention to the flesh - starved it!) with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by
the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (given full attention to the fruits of the Spirit!).
1 Tim. 6: "11But you, man of
God, (give no attention to)flee from all, and (give all your attention to)pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love,
endurance and gentleness. 12*Fight the good
fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when
you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
When God tells you and I not to do something, He is telling us to not give those things ANY of our attention ~~ then to turn and give your full attention to those things He wants you to do! Yes!? THIS is the primary way we deal with sin now, by not dealing with it! Please consider keeping this in mind when reading scripture. :)
17Command those who
are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in
wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides
us with everything for our enjoyment.
18Command them to do
good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they
will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so
that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
I would encourage you to keep these things in mind when reading and deciphering scripture...so you will "take hold of the life that is truly life."
*Fighting the good fight is still not paying any attention to sin....but to God - because we are fighting a spiritual warfare, where all our attention is still on the things of God.