When God Changed His Mind
By: Rev Brandon Dirks
If my last blog alienated half of you, this one will cause you to run away from me – once and for all!
Read Jonah Chapter 3… it may blow your mind.
“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.” Jonah 3:10
God CHANGED his mind?
That’s not the God I know. God does not change. God is the same yesterday, today, and
tomorrow. God is omniscient. God can’t change his mind! Can He?
Jesus’ frustrating parable comes to mind about the persistent widow and the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8). “…because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice.” What?? Jesus compares the way God dispenses justice to a mind-changing judge? Seriously? Maybe one day I will get to preach about this again, because the first time really got me in trouble. Cards and letters and visits came for days to my supervising pastor’s office complaining that I was being blasphemous from the pulpit, “God CANNOT change His mind,” they insisted. “How can you let Brandon preach THAT message!” I’ll forever be thankful to that man for calmly replying to every one of them, “How then do YOU explain verse 10? It’s right there. Black and white.”
We don’t like the idea of a God who changes His mind. We want to believe in a
God whose decisions are consistent and fair, because life on earth is anything but consistent and fair. If God is all knowing, then every action God does is right and never needs to be questioned or changed. We fear that to perceive God as changing infers that God is somehow incomplete, imperfect, or worse, controlled by the creation and its inhabitants. I too want to believe in a God whose mind and decisions are consistent. It gives me great comfort to believe that God has everything figured out, and everything under control. I am happy with God taking the responsibility when things do not go the way I want them.
We don’t like the idea of a God who changes God’s mind because we know the
selfish, inconsistent reasons WE change OUR minds. We change our minds based
on emotion, fickleness, mistakes, and sometimes, even for spite. But God changes his mind in order to remain consistent to his purpose. God’s purpose is to save humankind from the destruction of sin. But humanity keeps choosing destruction by following the ways of the world. God wants to change his mind from punishment to forgiveness, from retribution to mercy, from wrathful judgment to amazing grace. That’s why he sent Jesus. We are no longer subject to the punishment of sin. But it is only when WE change and repent from our natural defiant choices of sin, that God is willing and able to change His mind in his dealings with us.
In short, God must be able to change His mind, because God’s nature and character does not. After all, God hasn’t changed – the God of the New Testament really is the same God of the Old Testament. God seeks to save and deliver the lost! Too bad there are many Christians who love the IDEA of Grace and mercy in the New Testament, especially when it comes to themselves. But when it comes to others, especially our enemies, we really like the wrathful God of the Old Testament. I guess that’s why Jonah threw such a hissy fit when God changed his mind and chose NOT to destroy Nineveh. I wonder if sometimes we are little more like Jonah than we care to admit.
Can God’s mind really be changed? Thank God the answer to that question is
yes. Because…what if I really got what I deserved?