Summary: In a world kept chaotic by change, you will eventually discover that this is one of the most precious qualities of God. He doesn’t change.
TEXT: Malachi 3:6a
TITLE: THE IMMUTABILITY OF GOD
(A God Who Does Not Change)
In a world kept chaotic by change, you will eventually discover that this is one of the most precious qualities of God. He doesn’t change.
Do you ever feel like just holding up your hands and screaming, “Time out!” and make everything stop?
How many times has a spouse pointed a finger at his or her life partner and shouted, “You’ve changed! You’re not the person I married!”
How many times have you heard about employees who loved working for their company – maybe they’ve even worked there for several decades - and the company gets bought out and the people change and the mission changes and the atmosphere changes and all of a sudden the employees mournfully reminisce about the “good old days”?
Countries are reconfigured and entire governments are ousted in a carefully executed coup. NFL quarterbacks grow “old” age 36 and retire; statesmen die; matriarchs pass on. We are lost in a sea of change. As soon as we think we’ve learned how to parent babies, we have to learn how to discipline toddlers. When we get really good with toddlers, we’ve suddenly got preadolescents; when we get really good with preadolescents, we’ve got these strange creatures called teenagers. We never quite catch up.
Just because your team won the World Series last year doesn’t mean they’ll win it this year. Even worse, just because a friend was true or a spouse pledged her love doesn’t guarantee that that loyalty and pledge will be honored 10 years from now.
Things change. We change. Experts tell us the most successful people are the ones who learn to cope with change. But I’m convinced the best way to cope with change, ironically enough, is to get to know a God who doesn’t change, One who provides an anchor in the swirling seas of change.
GOD IS ABSOLUTELY CONSITENT
In His Character
Sometimes consistency can be bad. I know plenty of dishonest, slothful, deceitful people. In their situations, consistency is a huge problem.
But when we’re talking about God – His power, His presence, His knowledge, His commitments, His graciousness, His generosity, and the rest – it becomes very clear that any change would have to be for the worse. If God changed, that would mean He would have to be less gracious. He would have to be less faithful. He would have to speak to me less and guide me less, and I don’t want that, do you?
I may want my spouse to change, I may want my children to change, and I may want my friends and my church to change – I certainly want myself to change – but I don’t want God to change.
Think about it. Any product can be improved. You can create a laundry detergent that makes clothes whiter and is better for the environment. You can improve your favorite breakfast cereal by adding more vitamins, more fiber, or more crunch, but how can you improve on omniscience? How can you improve on omnipotence? How can you improve on perfect righteousness? The only way God can change is to be less than He is, and the Bible is firm that that will never happen: “With whom [God] there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:7).
Notice, not only is there no turning, there isn’t even a shadow of turning. God doesn’t even begin to lean away from righteousness, much less move His feet. He’s consistent. In a world where everything changes God stands firm in every aspect of His character.
This is right where immutability, unchageingness, begins to touch our lives in a powerful way. In spite of Scripture’s teaching, in spite of centuries of Christian experience faithfully passed on through the ages, I still have my moments when I begin to doubt things about God. Sometimes when the pressures in my life are building, I whisper to myself, “I don’t think God knows about this.” He may be omniscient, but somehow, this has escaped His attention.
Or we get ourselves in a tricky situation – disaster seems certain and God seems distant - and we say in fear, “I don’t think He is present with me right now. This may be the first time He’s taken a 15 minute break, but finally, it’s happened.”
Or we get ourselves buried in an addiction or entangled in a destructive relationship, or we see a loved one trapped by seemingly insurmountable adverse circumstances and quietly we groan, “God may be all-powerful, but I don’t think even he has the power to solve this one.”
Maybe we say to ourselves, “The God of Moses who parted the waters; the God of David who slew Goliath –that was a God in His prime. But somehow, over the years, the centuries have taken a toll on God.”