Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9 ESV
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:32-36 ESV
A few hundred years ago, when grain was ripe in the field and ready to harvest, there was only one way to do it. Farmers had to find and hire a threshing crew if men were available and they could afford to pay the workers, and then the workers would go out into the field and cut down the grain by hand. If a farmer couldn’t hire a threshing crew, then the farmer and his family and maybe some friends had to do as much of the work as they could by themselves. But in the 1830s a man named Cyrus McCormick invented a mechanical reaper. This was a machine that did the work of a threshing crew, and cut down the grain much more quickly. The mechanical reaper changed farming forever. It made it possible to cut down a lot more grain during the short harvest season, which meant that more food could be produced. It also meant that farms could become much larger.
Cyrus McCormick changed the way farmers reaped their grain. His way was much better than the old way. The prophet Isaiah talked about how God’s ways are higher and better than our ways, and also how his thoughts are not the same as our thoughts. The Lord spoke through Isaiah to urge wicked people to leave behind their own way of doing things, and to go God’s way instead. The Lord’s ways are good and holy, while the ways of people are wrong and sinful. But there is good news. The Lord didn’t just call to people to do things his way instead of their own way. He also promised that he would show them compassion and forgive them their sins. People often hold grudges and refuse to forgive, but God’s way is the way of compassion and forgiveness.
When Jesus came to be our Savior, he knew that he would suffer terribly for our sins. He would die a painful death on the cross and feel the weight of all the sins of the world. The cross was God’s way, and it wasn’t an easy way. Jesus prayed to his Heavenly Father and asked that the terrible things that were about to happen to him might be taken away. But then Jesus said that he would do things the way his Heavenly Father wanted him to. He would do things God’s way, and not his own way. Because Jesus followed the will of his Heavenly Father, we have forgiveness for all our sins every day. Jesus sends us his Holy Spirit to help us to follow the way of the Lord instead of our own.
Dear Jesus, thank you for following the way of your Heavenly Father and making us your people now and forever. Amen.