Monday, March 16, 2015

Our promise-keeping God

Balaam blesses Israel - Artist unknown
Balaam blesses Israel - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Numbers 23:13-30

TO CHEW ON: "God is not a man that He should lie,
Nor a son of man that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?" Numbers 23:19

Straight from God's mouth (via Balaam) comes this clear pronouncement of His unchangeableness (immutability). Wayne Grudem defines God's unchangeableness:

"God is unchaining in his being, perfections, purposes and promises. Yet God does act and feel emotions, and he acts and feels differently in response to different situations" - Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, p. 163.

Grudem identifies ways in which God doesn't change (while noting "… God is unchanging—not in every way that we might imagine, but only in ways the Scripture itself affirms" - p. 163).

God is unchanging:
  • In His perfections—all the aspects of His character - James 1:17.
  • In His purposes - Psalm 33:11.
"Since God has determined that he will assuredly bring something about, his purpose is unchanging and will be achieved - Isaiah 49:9-11" - Grudem, Op. Cit, p. 164.
  • In His promises - Numbers 23:19 (today's focus verse).
God promised to bless Abraham and his descendants - Genesis 12:2-3. Those descendants were this mass of Israelites that Balak wanted Balaam to curse. God had promised them land they were now on the border of - Genesis 15:18-21. Balaam was to utter no curse on this nation God was determined to bless.

We still worship this unchanging God who keeps His promises. In a world where it sometimes seems like goodness and righteousness and holiness and justice are weak and defeated, what a reassurance God's unchangeableness is! There will be an ultimate victory over evil and the curse in all their manifestations—in nature, our personal lives, and in the life of the communities and nations of the world.

He has promised to establish His kingdom (where evil will have no part): Exodus 15:18 || Daniel 7:14 || Psalm 145:13 || Lamentations 5:19. His unchangeableness guarantees that nothing can keep that from happening.

Let's pray, with John, thanking God for this and so express our faith in this inevitability.

"We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned" - Revelation 11:17

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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