About God's High and Lofty Ways
By Fred O. Blakely
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isa. 57:15).
"Blessed is he," declared the Lord Jesus, "whosoever shall not be offended in Me" (Mt. 11:6). The same, of course, may also be said of the Father, of whom the Son is "the express Image" (Heb. 1:3). Contemplating those who by grace are given to whole-heartedly embrace the Godhead by faith and, in meek submission, to consent to all Its demands and ways, the beatitude by the Savior is actually equivalent to an assertion of divine intervention in the case. That is to say, it amounts to Him saying, Whosoever is not offended in Me has been blessed from Above, and his compatibility with Me is evidence of that blessing.
Man's Incompatibility with God. We have but to consider the reaction to Christ of those whom He designated as "not of My sheep" to perceive this nature of the case (Jn. 10:25-26). The Pharisees were offended at His teaching, we read (Mt. 15:12-14), and "when He was come into His own country," they of Nazareth, His hometown in the flesh, "were offended in Him" (Mt. 13:54-58; cf. Lk. 4:16-30). Indeed, the Jews as a whole "stumbled at that Stumblingstone" which the Father laid in Zion, regarding It as a "rock of offence" (Rom 9:30-33; cf. Jn. 5:39-40). Prior to Messiah's coming, it was the same with their attitude toward the Father--they "would none" of Him, and would not hearken to His voice (Ps. 81:10-12). And not only the Jews; all men every where by nature find that God grates their spirits, which results in their stumbling "at the Word," being unreceptive and disobedient thereto (I Pet. 2:6-8).
God's Exaltation Above Man. Why this inveterate antagonism of man to God? The answer is found in His declaration by Isaiah. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith 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" (Isa. 55:8-9). "God is not a man," as He proclaimed through Balaam (Num. 23:19), neither is He like man in His thoughts and ways. In Nature and conduct, He is, in fact, precisely contrary to the natural man. This is because man in Adam is in a state of alienation from, and rebellion against, God. Thus, the human aversion and opposition to the holy God and His "right ways" (Acts 13:10). Besides being intrinsically counter to his own, the thoughts and ways of God are "far above," out of the sight of sinful man (Ps. 10:5). Even if so disposed, he cannot "by searching find out God" (Job 11:7). As the Apostle exclaims, "How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" (Rom. 11:33).
The Necessity for Divine Intervention. This situation respecting God and man posits the necessity of a twofold work by God. If man is to know and walk with God, he must be reconciled to Him in his nature and, being reconciled, he must be illuminated as to the divine thoughts and ways. God will walk in no ways but His own; hence, the indispensability of human consent to those ways, if the creature is to have fellowship with the Creator. And, since God's thoughts and ways are transcendent to those of man, it is essential that He reveal Himself, if man is to know Him.
In the propitiation for man's sin wrought by the death of Christ and ministered to the individual by the Holy Spirit, the believer receives his reconciliation to God. Then as he turns to the Word of God, inscribed in the holy Scriptures and ministered to him by the Spirit, he perceives the divine Nature, and comes to be transformed into it, "from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Cor. 3:18). So are estranged and defiant people brought into a state of communion and "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1-2; cf. Eph. 2:11-18), being given to know and have fellowship with Him, with whom to be so acquainted and related is "life and peace" in the Holy Ghost (Jn. 17:3; Rom. 8:6; 14:17).