Summary: Do you think God ever changes His mind?
Note: This is the sermon manuscript that Ben carried into the pulpit. Feel free to use it in any way to advance the kingdom of God.
Questions For God:
Do You Ever Change Your Mind?
Englewood Baptist Church
Sunday Morning, July 27, 2008
I am beginning a new series of messages today and the title of the series is Questions For God. Over the next weeks, I will deal with questions that come to pastors from time to time. These questions are of the sort that we all want to ask them, but we don’t want to look foolish. Let’s begin with the first question.
A young girl writes her pastor an email. This is what it says:
Dear Pastor Jeff,
Hello. I hope you are having a good week. Your message Sunday was really good. My daddy stayed awake the whole time! But that’s not why I’m writing. I have a question. My best friend Alexis is a real nice person, but one thing drives me crazy about her. She can’t ever make up her mind about anything. What clothes she is going to wear, what food she is going to eat, what friends she will spend time with, what sports she is going to play…she changes her mind almost every day and it’s really starting to get on my nerves. It made me stop and think….does God do that? Does God change his mind? If so, I don’t know if He and I are going to get along for thousands of years in heaven. Please let me know what you think. I am worried.
This little girl asks a very important question. Does God change his mind? You might think by the email that this is a trivial matter and that any sane pastor would overlook it completely, and move one to more important things like budgeting and counseling. But I am here to tell you today that this little girl raises a monstrous theological concept. It comes under the doctrine of “The Immutability of God.” Let me put that big word on the screen for you:
Immutable: not capable of or susceptible to change
There is a song on Christian radio right now. Brandon Heath sings the song and the title is “I’m not who I was.” It’s one of my favorite songs. With music as his microphone, Brandon confesses that he has grown over the years. He is now more forgiving, more gracious, more godly than he once was. Hence, the title, “I’m Not Who I Was.” Now, is that not true of all of us? How many of us wanted to be firefighters or pageant queens or NFL quarterbacks as children? Today, we reflect on those childhood ambitions and we laugh. Why? Because we have matured and grown up. We have changed. Our desires, our hopes, our dreams—they have all changed. We have changed.
And the question that Jessica B. asks is extremely important to us. Is God growing up? Is He maturing? Is he becoming a better, more qualified God? Is he a little bit more forgiving today than he was in 1805, or 1581, 251 B.C.? Is he changing over time? And if he is changing, then He must be a God that changes His mind about certain things. Does the Bible teach this? Does the Bible support a God that is in process? Let’s find out.
Look in your Bibles at Exodus 32. You know that story. Moses has been chosen to climb to the top of Mt.Sinai and receive the 10 commandments. It is truly a mountaintop experience for him, but what he doesn’t know is that his trusty assistant, Aaron, has caved into peer pressure at the foot of the mountain. The people have grown weary of waiting for Moses to return, and they have fashioned a golden cow as their new and improved god. And the Lord is angry…so angry that he wants to destroy them all and start fresh with Moses, his faithful servant. Read with me, Exodus 32:7-14.
Well, there it is. Problem solved. All the pastor has to do is open his laptop, and type out the simple email. Dear Jessica, read Exodus 32. God does change his mind. Sincerely, your pastor. It’s that simple right. Not so fast.
God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?
Well, that’s confusing. Exodus 32 shows God repenting, or changing his mind. Two books later, the Bible says that God is not a man, that he should change his mind. He does not speak and not act. He does not promise and not fulfill.