“‘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.’”
“How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out.”
The gap between God’s ways and thoughts and our ways and thoughts is quite obvious as we see in many biblical examples. It was God’s way that Abraham and Sarah would bring forth the promised son, Isaac, when Abraham was a hundred years old and Sarah was ninety. It was God’s way that Gideon would defeat the army of the Midianites even after God reduced his army from 32,000 men to 300. It was God’s way that Joshua and his men brought down the Walls of Jericho by marching around the city seven times and shouting. God’s ways are past finding out. These events took place not according to the ways of man, but according to the ways of God; which for the most part, are contrary to the ways of man.
In view of this, why would David cry out in the Psalms for the Lord to teach him, “teach me Thy ways O LORD” (Psalm 86:11); “show me Thy ways O LORD; teach me Thy paths” (Psalm 25:4). We read in Hosea 14:9 that the righteous will walk in the ways of God, and the Lord even required Israel to walk in His ways (Deuteronomy 10:12).
How do we reconcile these verses? Let’s look at one of the ways of God. David wrote:
“I said in my haste (alarm), I am cut off from before Your eyes; nevertheless you heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You.” Psalm 31:22
We see through the above verse one of God’s ways is to function in the realm of nevertheless. We read in Chapter 5 of Jeremiah the ungodly condition of Israel, but in the midst of that, God’s word was:
“Nevertheless, in these days I will not make a complete end of you.” Jeremiah 5:18
“For thus says the Lord God, ‘I will also do with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath by breaking the covenant. Nevertheless, I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you.’” Ezekiel 16:59-60
“Nevertheless, in Thy great compassion Thou did not make an end of them or forsake them for Thou art a gracious and compassionate God.” Nehemiah 9:31
The way of God, the nature of God, the nevertheless of God ruled in the above situations. Have we not all experienced the nevertheless of God in that we did not receive what we deserved. We need to keep in mind not to mistake the nevertheless of God as His acceptance of our behavior or sin. It is He kindness, forbearing, love and compassion that leads us to repentance.
We see once again the nevertheless nature of the Lord in Psalm 106:6-8, “We have sinned like our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly. Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; they did not remember the multitude of Your mercies, but rebelled by the Red Sea. Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, that He might make His mighty power known.” And again in Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, it will stand.”
It is obvious that nevertheless is a very significant aspect of God’s nature and way. How can we live in that way and that nature? We find the answer in 2Peter 1:1-4, “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
What powerful words! The Lord has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him. And, through His precious and magnificent promises we have been granted by them to become partakers of His divine nature. A significant part of His divine nature includes the realm of nevertheless. Have you been a participant in the nevertheless nature of God?
We have a demonstration of partaking of the divine nature in Apostle Paul. Let’s look at Philippians 1:21-24, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor; yet what I shall choose I know not for I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ which is far better: Nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” Nevertheless became a way of life for Paul. Self no longer ruled his life. Keep in mind what Paul wrote to the church in Galatia: “I am crucified with Christ,
nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). O may the Lord raise up Paul’s in this generation! Nevertheless is more than making a decision, it is a way of life, it recognizes the sovereignty and supremacy of our Lord.
In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 5, Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret teaching, and He saw two boats by the edge of the Lake. The fishermen had gotten out of their boats and were washing their nets. One of the boats belonged to Peter and Jesus asked him to thrust his boat out a little; and He then began teaching from it. When Jesus finished teaching, He said to Peter in verse 4, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” In verse 5 we read, “And Simon answered and said, ‘Master, we have toiled all night, and have taken nothing: Nevertheless at Thy word, I will let down the nets.”
Peter and the others were experienced fishermen, that is how they earned their living. They toiled all night and caught nothing. Are you willing to ‘launch out into the deep’ of the ways of God even when it contradicts your experience, your logic, and when it goes against your understanding? Lord, please help me to obey Your Word even when it goes against my own understanding.
“Those that go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters; they have seen the works of the LORD and His wonders in the deep.” Psalm 107:23-24
The life lived in the realm of Nevertheless will bring us into deep waters of the rivers of life with the Lord. The results of Simon Peter saying nevertheless brought forth a quantity of fish that was so great, their nets began to break, and two boats were filled so they began to sink. But, more importantly, Jesus said to Peter in verse 10, “from now on you will be catching men.” In verse 11 we read, “And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” A nevertheless mentality will change your life. We come now to the most significant Nevertheless ever spoken; a nevertheless that affected millions of lives, and will continue to affect millions more:
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ‘Sit here while I go and pray over there.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’ He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.’” Matthew 26:36-39
Where would we be today if Jesus did not say Nevertheless? Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). He made a pathway for us in the Garden teaching us, in His flesh, how difficult it was for Him to accept the Cup; let us remember to always pray in reality how we are feeling and then say, nevertheless not my will but Thy will be done. Nevertheless takes us out of the natural realm, the realm of self, and brings us into the divine nature of our Lord and aligns us in the way of God. Who among us does not desire to follow Jesus? Nevertheless what does it take to follow Him?
“Whoever wants to be My disciple, (if anyone desires to come after Me), let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
In the midst of a pandemic, turmoil, and chaos, help me to choose Your way, dear Lord, Your nature and teach me to live in the realm of nevertheless for Your Glory. Amen