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.
This is a form of Hebraic poetry. It takes the form:
B – B
Ellis Scolfield writes, “Hebrew poetry is parallel in nature. A Hebrew poet would say something one way and then repeat the same idea later on in different words. These repeats could be a sentence, a paragraph, or even several chapters long. So how can we identify repetitive prophecies when we see them? By recognizing the Hebrew poetic style in which it was written. [Textual scholars call this type of repetition the bifidic form.]1“2 (Brackets added for quote reference clarification)
Isaiah reveals to us something that we should already know – God’s thoughts and ways are beyond ours. We are so bound by time, that we generally don’t have an eternal perspective. But there are other instances where this is apparent. Isaiah shows us something unusual in Isaiah 57:1-2:
1 The righteous perish,
and no one takes it to heart;
the devout are taken away,
and no one understands
that the righteous are taken away
to be spared from evil.
2 Those who walk uprightly
enter into peace;
they find rest as they lie in death.
We generally think that it is a great tragedy when someone is taken home to be with the Lord, especially if they are young. But communicating with us through Isaiah the prophet, God says this is a blessing; that the righteous and devout are taken away to be spared from evil. Oh, how we long for the influence of evil to finally end! The pain and suffering it causes; its ripple effects sweeping people into chaos like a tsunami rushing inland. It leaves destruction and loss everywhere it touches. Rather than having to resist that force, and pick up the broken pieces, they are taken away, where they are with the Lord now and for eternity.
Our perspective is focused on the loss of their companionship, wisdom, fellowship, giftedness, relationship, and other factors in which we are immediately affected. From God’s perspective, it is for their benefit that they are now with God, and no longer subject to the trials and temptations that afflict us until the glorious second coming of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. In this, we can see our selfishness at our perceived loss rather than their great gain. And in our grief, sorrow, and mourning, we can all too soon forget that God’s sovereignty and perfect plan are in action, and that we will, in the lens of Eternity, see them again soon enough.
If you are mourning and grieving, your pain is real; Let God comfort you through it. And when you emerge on the other side, rejoice! For He has done a wonderful thing and has blessed your loved one with the privilege of being in His presence and in final rest and peace from the evils of this world, soon to be reunited with you in glory!
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, my heart grieves the temporary loss of my friend and loved one. Help me to work through the pain of loss. Although I know that I will see them again when Your Beloved Son comes triumphantly in the sky, or possibly even sooner should You bless me with the opportunity to be in Your Presence before that great and terrible day, I am still in shock. I am numb as I try to process this. Please comfort me in my pain. Uphold me, and restore normalcy to my daily routine. Surround me with Your love as a mother hen gathers her chicks close to her under her wings. Oh God, how it hurts! Remember me this day, Lord, and give me the ability to just breathe. This I ask and pray in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
1 Packer-Tenny-White, The Bible Almanac, 1980, p349.
2 Ellis Scolfield, Bifids and Chiasms, [Unknown], p1.