I love the books of the prophets in the Old Testament, especially Isaiah and Jeremiah. It is not that they are so prophetic in giving a road map for what is going to happen in life. Rather, they are clear in describing who man, fallen rebellious man, really is, and what God, in his grace, will do about it. They can be very harsh in places where words of judgment are necessary, but they also reach out with great hope in God’s redeeming strength. They are books to be taken seriously to deflate our pride, and bring us to humility before the Lord. They clearly show our inability to improve our own lot in life, and God’s supreme ability to bring us to the right place for our best good and His great purpose. These books give us the assurance that God will complete the plan He set in place at creation. It will be glorious, and it will include all who look to Him in hope.
A grandfather was trying to teach a little boy something new. The boy, being a bit stubborn as little boys can, was resisting his efforts, and trying to do it another way. The boy finally looked at his grandfather and said, “I know best you do!” Isn’t that the crux of the problem parents, grandparents, and God as our parent, often face? That self-will, once having been released in the Garden, has never been silenced. The grandfather wanted the very best for his grandson, as does God, our Father, but it takes a willingness to yield, and listen. This is something we don’t do very well. We all have that tendency to say, “I know best you do!” The Lord said through Isaiah, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength” (30:15). The more we are willing to yield our will to the Lord, the more we grow, learn, and know the best He has for us.
There are a couple of sayings that are fairly common and generally believed: “All’s well that ends well.” and “The end justifies the means.” But are these really true? They view life strictly in a pragmatic way, and assume that, if the end result seems good, it really doesn’t matter how we got there. I think it does matter a great deal. The means have to do with the internal values of a person. While the results are only a temporal solution to a problem. God is always more interested in what is going on in the heart of a person than just the results that are achieved. And conversely, God can take any results, even those seemingly quite bad, and use them for the eternal good of a person. This is what God meant when He said to Isaiah, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (55:9). God is looking for hearts, not results.