The Psalmist wrote, “The plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Ps. 33:11). But the question is: Can you really know the thoughts of the Almighty? Only a fool would deny that man and God think differently. We just don’t track on the same wavelength. Isaiah had that in mind when he penned the words of God, saying, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts‘” (Isa. 55:8,9). Yet that same passage declares that you can seek the Lord and find Him; you can turn to Him and He will show mercy towards you.
Understanding the thoughts of God—is it really possible? To understand His thoughts demands that you saturate yourself with an understanding of God; and how is this accomplished? By reading books about God? By listening to audio recordings? Following a guru or religious leader who claims to have an inside track with God?
If I want to understand the thinking of a great author – say, for example, William Shakespeare – I wouldn’t want to read what people have written about Shakespeare. I would saturate myself with Shakespeare himself, striving to think his thoughts, to see life through his eyes, to try to understand the world in terms of his world.
In doing this with God, there are several things you will discover very quickly. First, you will discover that His view of life is much different from ours. Like what? His perspective is different. We take the short view; He takes the long view. We look at life in terms of the immediate, whereas God views life as a whole. He sees the end from the beginning, and what we attach much importance to, He understands is not all that important.
Want to understand the thoughts of God? Then look at life from the long-term perspective and see beyond the crisis of the immediate.
Second, to understand the thoughts of God you quickly discover that God looks beyond the surface, whereas we look at life from the outside. Long ago God told Samuel, the prophet, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:6).
We tend to be impressed with beauty, money, lovely hair, soft eyes, and accomplishment. God wants to know if there is integrity within. Does beauty come from a beautiful life? Is a person as good as his word? Want to understand the thinking of God? Then learn to look beneath the surface.
Third, to understand the thoughts of God demands that your value system undergo a drastic regeneration. Paul put it so pointedly when he wrote, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). Focus on the importance of relationships, values, and character, and avoid the trap of the tyranny of the urgent.
A final thought: To understand the thoughts of God you must understand that right is greater than might; that the battle is not to the strong nor the race to the swift; but God is sovereign and He sets one aside and raises another. To understand the thoughts of God you must realize that God is God and He is from everlasting to everlasting–a long, long time. Only then can we begin to understand the thoughts of the Almighty.
Resource reading: Revelation 4:1-11