God’s Thoughts vs Our Thoughts

June 19, 2024
God’s Thoughts vs Our Thoughts

Most people in this world trust their own judgement and thoughts. They say they believe God but they don’t follow God’s words. They usually respond to God’s commands with “But I think…” or “I don’t think it means that,…” and replace God’s thought with our own situation and opinion or interpretation.

Some people even state it is fine to not fully understand God’s thoughts. But that is just an excuse to not follow God’s words. God repeatedly showed us this throughout the Bible that his thoughts are different to our thoughts.

What’s the Big Deal?

The first example centers on those who insisted on their own opinions and disregarded God’s words.

Leviticus 10:1-2 ‘Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorised fire before the LORD, contrary to His command. So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD.’

The priests in the Old Testament times offered consecrated fire as part of worship according to God’s instruction. However, two priests brought unauthorised fire before Him and thought “it’s still fire, it’s fine.” Belittling God’s command, Nadab and Abihu worshipped God in their own way and were ultimately killed. This is similar to insisting on believing in God and following Him, but choosing our own method of worship. Though we will not be physically killed in this age, our spiritual state suffers and pays the price in the end.

In the New Testament times, two people belittled God’s commandment not to lie and believed it was of little consequence.

Acts 5:1-2, 4-5 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostle’s feet… What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died.”

Acts 5:7-8, 10 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?” “Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”… At that moment she fell down at his feet and died.”

It’s to be noted that these people were not non-believers but those who claimed to believe in God. God does not spare His people if they don’t regard His commandments as important.

With Good Intentions

As Christians, we strive to please God and follow Him. However, even if we do something with the intention to please God, it’s not necessarily seen as good in God’s eyes. For example, “Even though God has given us a specific day to keep weekly worship, I choose my own day to keep worship. I’m sure God would understand since I am still worshipping Him with good intentions.” Saul, Israel’s first king, falls into this category.

1 Samuel 15:2-6, 9 This is what the LORD Almighty says… Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” … But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs – everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.

Saul was given a command by God to kill and destroy everything that belonged to the enemy in a battle against the Amalekites. However, upon seeing the fattened livestock, Saul was convinced by his men to spare them, with the intention of using them to worship God. Despite him having God in mind, this act of Saul was seen as disobedience. Saul even went to lengths to explain his intentions and tried to justify his actions.

1 Samuel 15:15, 20 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest… “But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said…”The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.”

But God’s perspective on this situation was completely different from Saul’s.

1 Samuel 15:10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel: “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.”

1 Samuel 15:19, 22 Why did you not obey the LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the LORD? …“Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

Though Saul believed the spared livestock would please God, his actions were rejected and not seen as good. In the end, he even lost his position as King of Israel and was replaced by someone else who obeyed God fully.

Even a small action with good intentions such as steadying the ark of the covenant led to death as it was against God’s will.

2 Samuel 6:6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God.

Uzzah had good intentions to steady the ark so that it didn’t fall. However, God’s will was for them to not touch the ark. According to our own way of thinking, it may be a severe punishment. But God’s thoughts and our thoughts are different.

Against my Expectations

We may have certain fixed ideas on God and what God should do, especially when it concerns helping us. During our life of faith, we can face many hardships and trials. Sometimes, we have a preferred solution that we pray to God for, but God does not necessarily give us the solution we expect.

Even the disciples of Jesus had certain ideas of what He should do. For example, Judas expected Jesus to come in a majestic form and save them from being under Roman prejudice. He was confused by Jesus’ humble appearance and behaviour, objecting to his actions.

John 12:4-6 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot… objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”

In the end, Judas rejected Jesus and fell into sin. Even Apostle Peter had different thoughts to Jesus, believing that as a servant to his God, God cannot wash his feet.

John 13:8 “No,” said Peter, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with Me.”

But Jesus explained that if Peter had refused Him, he would have no part with God. Like this, our thoughts and expectations of God can be very different.

Naaman had leprosy and wanted God to treat him according to his own expectations. He was enraged when he was not greeted and given an unexpected instruction.

2 Kings 5:11-12 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy….So he turned and went off in a rage.

However, when Naaman did listen to the instruction of washing himself seven times in the Jordan River, he was healed as God wanted.

Like this, we will often find ourselves having different thoughts to God. But if we truly believe in God’s promise of salvation, we will realise that only God knows the true and best way to save us, even if it feels different and more difficult compared to our own preferences. Let us do our best to trust God and prove it through our obedience and actions.

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