“The High Way”
Text: Isaiah 55:6-9
Seek the Lord while he may be found,
call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord,
that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says 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.
Today we encounter “The High Way”…It is where we see God’s ways
and how different they are from ours. God’s grace – God’s unmerited favor – operates differently from what we expect. God sees things differently than we see them. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. We begin to realize that this journey is not all about us after all. Can we walk this high way and embody God’s grace to others?
God wants us to depend on him. Isaiah begins this chapter telling the people that they can trust in God alone to fulfill all their needs. Isaiah wants them – and us – to realize that all that we have and all that we are comes from God and belongs to God. Jesus came to reconcile humanity back into fellowship with God because it is this fellowship that offers us true fulfillment.
Unfortunately, this is not the theology of our culture. Ours is an age of individualism, consumerism, and self-sufficiency. While these influences may have a place in our culture,
God’s wisdom is not found in materialism. Humanity’s greatest needs are answered in the renewal and restoration of life found only with God. Isaiah offers the promise that God satisfies and then he challenges us with a mystery. While we may seek the immediate and obvious satisfaction of our material desires, God reminds us that his ways are not ours.
The chapter begins with an invitation to a glorious banquet presented in contrast to the cultural excesses that never satisfy…How do we hear these words today? Can we imagine living a life where we trust God completely for our greatest needs and our richest nourishment? Is it possible to shape a world where some may have more than others, but no one suffers because everyone shares their bounty? Too often we act like spoiled children with lots of toys, but forgetting their Giver. Yes, we must participate in the world; we work and we pay taxes…That is not all there is, however. When we shift from living in the world to becoming part of the world, we serve false gods and end up settling for scraps when we could be feasting on God’s grace and bounty.
Isaiah wants us to stop for a moment and really think about our priorities and the things we allow to influence us. If God’s thoughts and ways are different from ours, then we need to think and act differently than we have become accustomed. Ask yourself: Are you thirsty? Do you hunger? Are your finances dried up? Is your relationship starving? Where are you seeking nourishment and refreshment now? Are you reaching for the Living Water and the Bread of Life?
The High Way invites us to join God on a journey filled with grace, spiritual nourishment, and unimaginable love. We are then sent to share all that God provides with someone else. As we gather today, we join across our denominational lines and come together on this journey with God. We are united, regardless of our differences, into a single-minded purpose – To share what God has given us with those to whom God sends us. We are challenged, as believers, to recognize the difference between God’s commands and our culture’s demands. We must, as followers of Jesus, live as he taught us to live and do as he commanded us. Love God. Love Others. Change the World. Come! Feast! Go! In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.