“Your Word Is Truth”
‘Jehovah’s Thoughts Are Higher than Those of Men’
IT IS not uncommon for humans to view and judge others in the light of their own thoughts and actions. Based on a standard that personally suits them, many have attempted to pass judgment even on the rightness of God’s actions. This very thing is what unfaithful Israelites did in times gone by.
But the supreme Sovereign of the universe, Jehovah God, did not permit those Israelites to go on imagining that ‘he would positively come to be like them’ and come to view things in their way. He ‘reproved them and set things in order before their eyes.’ (Ps. 50:21) How? Back in the eighth century B.C.E., Jehovah God, by means of his prophet Isaiah, declared: “The thoughts of you people are not my thoughts, nor are my ways your ways. . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”—Isa. 55:8, 9.
Those words called attention to the fact that the viewpoint of apostate Israel concerning Jehovah’s dealings with mankind was wrong. In what way? Well, among other things, they did not appreciate that the condition in which a person found himself at the execution of Jehovah’s adverse judgment determined whether he would be spared or destroyed. A person’s past record of wrongdoing would not stand against him if he had truly repented and was conforming his life to God’s ways. On the other hand, a person’s righteous acts would not be applied to his credit if the time for the execution of God’s adverse judgment found him to be walking contrary to God’s ways.
That is why Jehovah appealed to the unfaithful Israelites to abandon their own selfish ways and live in harmony with his ways, saying: “Search for Jehovah, you people, while he may be found. Call to him while he proves to be near. Let the wicked man leave his way, and the harmful man his thoughts; and let him return to Jehovah, who will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will forgive in a large way.”—Isa. 55:6, 7.
When the Christian congregation was established in the first century C.E., Jehovah God, by means of his servants, began encouraging people of all nations to abandon their wrong ways. To those assembled at the Areopagus in ancient Athens, Greece, the apostle Paul said: “Seeing, therefore, that we are the progeny of God, we ought not to imagine that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone, like something sculptured by the art and contrivance of man. True, God has overlooked the times of such ignorance, yet now he is telling mankind that they should all everywhere repent.” (Acts 17:29, 30) Repentance involves heartfelt sorrow for having followed one’s own ways instead of God’s ways.
Of course, just as in ancient Israel and back in the first century C.E., many people today do not want to acknowledge that God’s ways are higher than their own. They prefer doing things according to their own standards.
There are people who consider it their right to resort to dishonesty in order to make a “decent” living. They may do work of inferior quality, use poor materials yet charge for good materials, steal from their employers or in other ways try to get things to which they are not entitled. Their attitude is: ‘We have to care for ourselves as best we can. God is not going to make a living for us.’ Hence they have no desire to obey the Bible’s command: “Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him do hard work, doing with his hands what is good work.”—Eph. 4:28.
But is the dishonest way of most humans better than God’s way? Definitely not. Dishonesty does not build confidence and trust in fellow humans. Rather, people become extremely cautious, fearing that others will take advantage of them. Those who have been cheated are disappointed and often become bitter and angry. Poor workmanship and inferior materials have also caused injuries and even deaths.
Nothing good comes from dishonesty. The person who thinks he is gaining through his dishonesty is at the same time losing through the dishonesty of others. He, too, pays higher prices for goods and services because employees steal. Dishonesty thus brings about a vicious cycle. As more people take advantage of others, frustrations, disappointments, violence, injuries and deaths increase.
Sexual morality is another area in which many believe they should be able to follow their own ways. They feel that the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality, adultery, fornication and loose conduct is an invasion of their right to get pleasure out of life.—1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Gal. 5:19-21.
But is it not true that loose morals have only produced bad fruitage? What person has ever improved his marriage relationship and family life through loose morals? Separation, divorce and broken homes are often the product of sexual immorality. Today loathsome venereal disease is spreading like a plague. Sexual assaults are on the increase. Jealous lovers have resorted to physical violence to the point of committing murder. Then there are unwanted pregnancies, illegitimate children and abortions, both “legal” and illegal. Besides physical injury, many who engage in sexual immorality experience mental and emotional harm. Children born of fornication or adultery commonly grow up without true love and affection.
Time and again engaged couples who fail to maintain self-control in their relationship prior to marriage find that their fleeting moments of pleasure give rise to later trouble. Fornication or loose conduct just short of fornication does not start their marriage off on a solid footing. They undermine mutual respect, and thus erode the foundation for a happy home.
Thus it can be seen that the person who follows God’s ways, not his own, is protected from injury. This is because the laws laid down by the Creator are designed to ensure man’s happiness and welfare. The commands found in the Bible are not there for God’s benefit. His position as universal Sovereign is not strengthened in any way just because certain humans choose to be guided by his ways. On the other hand, his position does not change either when people ignore his ways, to their own harm. Such human failure only makes God’s righteousness more prominent and proves that God’s ways are higher than those of imperfect sinners.
All persons who are following their own selfish ways but who desire to have good come to them should repentantly abandon their course and strive to govern their lives by God’s ways. If we live in harmony with God’s ways now, we will enjoy improved relations with fellow humans as well as wholesome and happy family life. We will also preserve a clean conscience in the sight of God and of men. And before us is the glorious prospect of everlasting life in a righteous new order where all intelligent creatures will live in harmony with God’s lofty ways.2