If you’ve ever been lost without a map or GPS, you understand the value of a higher perspective. Climbing above the terrain to gain a bird’s eye view lets you see which road to take. In the same way, life is often confusing when seen only from a human perspective, but Scripture provides a higher, divine viewpoint that adds clarity and direction.
To grasp how limited our vantage point is, try thinking about it this way. A children’s book called Look Book contains Tana Hoban’s photographs, each covered by a page with a circular cutout. In one, what shows through the round opening is unattractive, brown, and bumpy, but by turning the page, we discover it’s the center of a beautiful sunflower. From our narrow perspective, that’s exactly how life’s circumstances can appear—ugly, painful, or frustrating. From God’s point of view, however, they’re part of the beautiful picture of His eternal plan.
Perspective is important because it determines whether we live in discouragement or hope, turmoil or peace, dissatisfaction or joy. A divine viewpoint doesn’t come naturally; it requires faith in the truth of God’s Word. When we know and believe what the Lord says about His plans, ways, and desires, our spiritual eyes can be opened to perceive His eternal panorama.
READ Isaiah 55:6-11
Pointing out the vast difference between the Lord and mankind, Isaiah tells us to forsake our own thoughts and ways because no matter how wise we may seem, our reasoning and perception have been tainted by sin. In contrast, his writings repeatedly call God the “Holy One.” And in addition to the matter of sin, he wants us to consider the issue of superiority: Our Creator’s thoughts and ways are immeasurably beyond our ability to comprehend.
READ Isaiah 40:6-31
Other aspects of God’s supremacy over man are highlighted in these verses. Since the nature of human existence is transient, man has a limited time frame from which to evaluate and understand life. But our everlasting God, who was present at creation, has complete knowledge of all history and knows exactly what will happen in the future (46:8-10).
Because God is omniscient, His understanding far surpasses ours. He’s never needed a counselor or teacher, whereas everything we know, we’ve had to learn. Furthermore, nothing is beyond His control—not natural disasters, national events, world rulers, the universe, or ordinary human lives. He tirelessly watches over His creation, working everything according to His divine purposes and accomplishing every word of His mouth.
Taking all this into account, whose perspective is more trustworthy—ours or God’s? Who sees the entire picture from eternity past to eternity future? Who has the insight and wisdom to decide the best course of action? The answers should be obvious, but trusting in God’s perspective is at times difficult because it seems so foreign. Yet, if we wait on the Lord for guidance, He promises us a better view as we “mount up with wings like eagles” (40:31).
The Sermon on the Mount challenges us to look at life from the perspective of God’s kingdom.
• In Luke 6:20-26, how do the Lord’s definitions of blessings and woes differ from the world’s point of view?
• Consider the advice Jesus gave about loving others, defending our rights, and holding onto possessions (vv. 27-38). Which of His instructions seem like a reversal of what we would normally consider logical?
• The ways of God frequently conflict with our thinking.
• From your own experience, how would you define financial security, good leadership, and worthwhile ambition?
• Paul at one time had a worldly perspective, but he saw things differently after encountering the Lord (Phil. 3:4-8).
• How does the apostle’s perspective in 1 Corinthians 1:20- 1 Corinthians 2:5 differ from our culture’s view of strength, independence, and performance?
• What was his attitude toward weakness, difficulty, and suffering (2 Cor. 12:7-10)?
• Think back over the situations you faced this week. Which of your responses were determined by your perception? How would you have responded differently if you’d considered God’s viewpoint?
• Even when we realize God's omniscience and sovereignty far surpass human understanding, it can still be hard to trust His ways. What role does faith play in gaining a divine perspective?
• This world’s values are often in opposition to God’s. Which statement in each pair below aligns with your viewpoint?
• Keep what you get vs. Give generously of whatever you receive (Luke 12:33)
• Look out for yourself vs. Consider others more important than yourself (Phil. 2:4)
• Take charge of your life vs. Surrender your life to Christ (Luke 9:23-25)
• Promote yourself vs. Humble yourself; let God exalt you in His time (1 Peter 5:6)
• Complain in hard times vs. Rejoice in trials and suffering (James 1:2-4)
• Live for today and walk by sight vs. Live for eternity and walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7, Phil. 3:8-14)
• To know God’s thoughts and ways, you must become familiar with His Word. Record what you learn about His viewpoint to help solidify it in your mind.
• Memorize Isaiah 55:8-9. Then when you’re tempted to react naturally, ask God to help you remember His perspective. Also pray for the power to trust and obey, even if His way seems illogical.