Summary: The child of God can rejoice when considering the ways in which God cannot change...and further rejoice when considering the ways in which He does change!
DOES GOD EVER CHANGE?
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
God, Himself, never changes but there are times when He changes His mind or alters His decrees. Let us consider:
I. THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD!
“Immutable” is defined as “not capable of, or susceptible to, change”. We see this truth declared in Malachi 3:6a: “For I am the Lord, I do not change.” Let us consider these blessed truths:
The Holiness of God Never Changes.
“Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the LORD our God is holy”. Psalms 99:9 (NKJV)
The Righteousness of God Never Changes.
“Splendid and majestic is His work; And His righteousness endures forever.” Psalms 111:3 (NASB)
The Mercy, Grace and Compassion Of God Never Changes.
“But Thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.” Psalms 86:15 (NASB)
The Goodness of God Never Changes.
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalms 34:8 (NKJV)
“For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:5.
“They shall eagerly utter the memory of Thine abundant goodness, And shall shout joyfully of Thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” Psalms 145:7-9 (NASB)
The Truth of His Word and His Faithfulness Never Changes.
“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8 (NKJV)
“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed. Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.
II. WAYS IN WHICH GOD DOES CHANGE!
Although His nature never changes (and because of that) He does change His mind and alters His own decrees. The Bible often uses the term “God repented (became sorry) in referring to His changing His mind or altering His announced and intended course of action. Let us note some such instances.
Notice God’s Great Regret Due to the Wickedness of Man:
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So God said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them. Genesis 6:5-7.
Having declared His intent to "destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth", God’s marvelous gace and wonderful compassion over-ruled His own decree! And so we read: "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8
Notice that God Changed His Mind Regarding Ninevah:
“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.
So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent.
And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!
So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.
Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.
And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water.
But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.
Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?
Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the LORD, and said, "Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Jonah 3:2-4:2 (NKJV)