Tuesday, November 05, 2013

When God changes His mind.

The concept of God changing His mind is complicated and hard to understand.  In fact, many people have a hard time with even considering this reality because all you've been taught is that God "is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) - so He does not change any part of Him.

The truth is that though God's character is unchanging, for some reason He allows us to play a part in the unfolding of the human story.  Some people try to fight that understanding, but you really cannot deny the dozens and dozens of biblical passages that clearly describe God changing His mind, often based on human request.

As a father, I can understand this more and more. You have a desire (or will) for your kids, but you often will bend, change, or even give in based on their requests, needs, or desires.  I'm not talking about bending on morality or character issues, I'm talking mostly about non-moral issues.

One biblical example:

Exodus 4 - God tells Moses to go speak to Pharaoh and lead the people of Israel out of Egyptian slavery.  It's a very clear command.  But Moses pleaded with the Lord, "O Lord I'm not very good with words. I never have been..." (4:10).  God again reaffirms His desire for Moses to do this and even says, "Who makes a person's mouth... is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you..." (4:12). 

God's clear will and desire was for Moses to be the spokesman.  But Moses again pleaded, "Lord, please! Send someone else" (4:13).  Then the Lord became angry with Moses. "All right," he said. "What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well... I will instruct both of you in what to do. Aaron will be your spokesman to the people" (4:15-16).

This happened several times with Moses and many other men and women of God throughout the Scriptures.

What does this tell us about God?  Well, it speaks of who God is and what He is like.  He is a loving father, He hears our requests, He understands our weaknesses, He cares about our desires, He doesn't ignore our words, though they are nothing compared to His. He often allows us to learn from our own choices and mistakes, but sticks with us throughout the process.  He is gracious.

What does this show us? It shows us that we are valued before God. He listens when we talk. We can talk to God as one talks to a friend. We can be confident that our prayers count, they can actually alter the course of life.  We are not robots with no say in the human story.

We should also note that just because God sometimes allows us to make our own choices, it does not mean they are the best choices.  We should always pursue His will, His desire, His glory, not our own.  However, we can be confident in approaching God, knowing that He cares and listens.  In fact, the Scriptures say that often "you don't have what you want because you don't ask God for it" (James 4:2).

Seek Him. Talk to Him. Pursue Him.  He cares.
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