Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 3, 1959
NUMBER 30, PAGE 2-3b

God's Ways And Thoughts; Our Ways And Thoughts

P. J. Casebolt, Weirton, West Virginia

"For 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.)

This one reminder from God should be sufficient to keep humanity from ever becoming presumptuous before God. We should ask God's forgiveness if we so much as think of substituting our ways and thoughts for his. God pity us when we the creatures, begin to reply against our creator. When we begin to substitute philosophy, vain deceit, the traditions of men, and the rudiments of the world for God's ways and thoughts, we pray God that someone will block our way with the Bible, as Balaam's presumptuous way was blocked by the Lord's angel, (Num. 22:31.)

Some of us forget how well God's ways and thoughts have served us in the past, as Balsam forgot the dependability of his beast. Our forefathers in the faith have ridden victoriously through many battles by standing on the promises of God. God's ways have served us well, and would do so again, but we often begin to beat and to fight against them, being displeased and dissatisfied with the apparent failure of God's ways.

An Example

The Bible teaches baptism (immersion) for the remission of sins, (Rom. 6:4; Acts 22:16.) In spite of this being God's way of salvation from sins that are past, many people begin to suppose and to substitute. What IF a candidate dies before baptism? What IF there isn't enough water to bury a person? See how many people refuse immersion, but think how many would accept "baptism" if we were to substitute sprinkling! Suppose this, suppose that, and suppose anything else that hasn't been supposed as yet, just in order to circumvent God's ways and thoughts in the matter. God would be pleased with less supposing and more obeying; less doubt, and more faith.

Luther And The Reformation

Luther became discontent with what he thought was the abuse of God's ways and thoughts, and decided to correct the situation. The apostate Catholic church was already contrary to God's thoughts about what the true church should be. But, instead of returning to God's wisdom, Luther substituted his own ways and thoughts about "reforming" a corrupt system. He caused more confusion by adding another religious system, and cured little of the errors of Catholicism. Subsequent efforts by others have produced more confusion, and led people farther than ever away from the oracles of God. (Mk. 3:25.)

Parental Responsibilities

Eph. 6:4 enjoins an obligation upon parents that is inescapable. God, in his wisdom, has provided the home that our obligation may be fulfilled. Too many have ignored their duties, and the results are deplorable. Children are not taught, they are not trained, they have no honour for their parents and prove it by even less obedience.

So, to correct the situation, we begin to substitute camps and kitchens, church-sponsored entertainment and recreation, in order to regain our young people. I don't doubt that some children learn more Bible in a summer, camp, and learn more discipline, than they do at home. But is this the cure? Has God's method failed, that we have to substitute other institutions, or have parents and the church failed in their respective duties to comply with God's ways and thoughts? We point to good that has been done as a means of justifying the method of attaining it. We begin to suppose, and claim that if the home falls down in its duty, we are justified in employing other institutions to do the work that the home has failed to do.

This is not the cure, and this is not the answer. A failure on the part of some to apply God's ways and thoughts is not authorization to try it our way by substituting something else. The answer is to begin using the institution God gave us, the home, and charge parents to meet their obligations, by preaching and teaching those subjects that pertain to parents and children. Then suppose they won't do it? Then someone will go to hell, and it won't help matters for us to begin substituting our ways and thoughts for those of God. It will take another generation to correct the problems pertaining to parents and children, if we employ GOD'S way. We'll only lose time if we resort to our ways and thoughts. If any way will work, it is God's way. Let's try it!

Orphans And Widows

The way some people talk and act, you would think every community and church is swamped with widows, and a half-dozen orphans hanging onto the widows' skirts. I have preached in many communities, and for many congregations, and I have yet to find more orphans and widows than can be cared for the way God says do it. Even the ones I have encountered were not afflicted, but were faring as well as I. I have encountered far more people who are willing to care for a widow or orphan, than I have widows and orphans to care for. How many do you know? Count them on one hand, then on the other hand count the number of those you know that are afflicted.

But, the cry comes, "Suppose there are more than we can care for?" If so, then God gave us an inferior way to cope with a situation that has grown to proportions that even he didn't anticipate! Shame on you. Let us try 1 Tim. 5:4-16 first. If some members won't, they are worse than infidels, and then we should try 2 Thess. 3:6. Then we can try Jno. 19:25-27 and also Jas. 1:27 as individuals. If these don't work, then let us wait for another revelation from God before we start substituting.

Yes, situations will vary, but we can meet our obligations in this field by letting each Christian do his duty as a Christian, the home doing its duty as the home, and the church doing its duty as the church. It is bad enough for the church to have to shoulder responsibility that belongs to individuals and the home, but it is even worse when she has to do it through some human institution. We may do some good by substituting our own ways and thoughts, but the good accomplished will not justify the substitution.

To what extent are we obligated to care for the needy? As much as in us is. To what extent are we obligated to preach the gospel? As much as in us is. But, suppose there is more than we are able to do in caring for the needy? Let us apply this question to the preaching of the gospel. Suppose there is some preaching that should be done, but isn't being done? Does this obligate the preacher any further that is already doing all he can? Is a congregation obligated to support more preaching than it is able to support? Is a woman obligated to start preaching publicly because the men aren't getting the job done? Should those start preaching who aren't even able and faithful? Is one obligated to obey the gospel, if they aren't mentally capable of doing so? Will God hold any of these responsible, for not doing something they can't do? Then apply these same questions to caring for the needy. If it isn't done God's way, it may as well not be done, substituters to the contrary.


There are many other subjects that we could apply the principle of Isa. 55:8,9 to, and reach conclusions that are profitable, and above all, acceptable to God. There are many points that could be considered, even on the subjects we have mentioned, but a faithful, trusting application of the text will guide us into all that God wants done, in the way that he said do it. If we would apply as much zeal, time, and money to the defense of God's ways and thoughts as we do to those of our own, the problems confronting the church would cease to confront it, because the problems would cease to be problems. You and I are the greatest problems God has. Let us not make things more difficult for him by trying to do his thinking for him, and expecting him to follow in our ways.