Advertisements

Tag Archives: Devotionals

Does God Change His Mind?

"And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." (Genesis 6:6)

“And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Genesis 6:6)

We come across a very unusual statement in Genesis 6:6. We are told that God “repented” that He had made man. This brings us to ask the question: Does God change His mind? Why would a God Who is omniscient and knows the end from the beginning need to change His mind about anything? Are we really being told here that God regretted His decision to make mankind or is something else going on?

“God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19)

We have a dynamic that is repeated again and again throughout the Old Testament wherein God “repents” or “changes His mind” about something. Normally, this change of mind has to do with a judgment that God has pronounced and then withholds (e.g., Exodus 32:10, 14). Invariably, there is a change of mind or repenting on the part of man that is followed by a change of mind or repenting on God’s part. In the example from Exodus 32, God had declared to Moses that He intended to wipe out the entire nation of Israel for their plummet into idolatry and rebellion and begin again with the line of Moses (like He did here in Genesis with Noah). Moses interceded on behalf of the people, causing God to change His mind.

The key thing to see when God “repents” is that it is always the result of the actions of man. God, in His infinite wisdom, does not regret the decisions that He has made, but in His infinite holiness is compelled to change the way that He deals with man based on man’s actions. It was not God’s intention when He created man that it would one day become necessary for Him to blot out all but eight people, but the severity and totality of man’s sinfulness required that He do so. Mankind had become incorrigible to the uttermost, wholly beyond repentance himself. Man would not change his mind about sin, so God was compelled to change His mind about man.

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Without a doubt, God knows the choices that man will make and how He will respond accordingly. God is not surprised by anything that man does, but He is obliged by His own holy nature to adjust how He deals with man based upon man’s obedience (or disobedience) to Him. God does not truly “change His mind”, but He does change His interactions with man in response to the changes in man’s behavior.

God repented and changed His dealings with mankind in the days of Noah because of the extreme depravity that had completely filled the entire world. It is simply not possible for a righteous and holy God to allow sin to remain unrequited indefinitely. God will judge sin. God strove with man that man would repent and change the way that he dealt with God (Genesis 6:3). Since man did not, God changed the way that He dealt with man.

We have today the indescribable privilege of choosing how our own sin shall be judged(and it certainly will be judged). If we repent of it and come to Christ that the sin within us is “judged” and ultimately destroyed, we will live. If we remain unrepentant, if we refuse to change our mind about our sin, God will still judge the sin within us – but we will perish with it.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published October 10, 2009]

**All Scripture quotations in this post are taken from the King James Version (KJV) Bible

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Advertisements

Sons Of God, Daughters Of Men

"That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." (Genesis 6:2)

“That the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.” (Genesis 6:2)

When interpreting this particular enigmatic passage of Genesis, at least three popular theories have been suggested regarding exactly who the “sons of God” are. First, there are those who hold that the “sons of God” are angels who procreated with human women, producing a race of giants. Second, there are those who believe that the “sons of God” are those who descended from the line of Seth, while the “daughters of men” are of the line of Cain. Third, a few have proposed that the “sons of God” were powerful rulers who engaged in polygamy, “taking wives of whomever they chose”, and building up vast harems in the process.

To be completely honest, each point of view has its own problems; and yet each is compelling in its own right –  being supported by its own Scriptural evidence. This is one of those rare Bible verses that has aroused controversy among believers and has also piqued the interest of many non-believers as well. Not long ago, I read an account of a well-meaning preacher who felt so strongly about sharing his own conclusions about this mysterious topic that he devoted an entire sermon, addressed to a huge Bible conference, to systematically presenting his case concerning it.* Additionally, the subject of forbidden love between angels and humans (and the intriguing sounding, “Nephilim” or giants, mentioned in Genesis 6:4) has given rise to romance novels and Hollywood feature films.

As servants of God and students of His Word, the question we must ask is, Is such attention to such controversial passages really merited? We can carefully present the case for the interpretation that we feel is right, and devote a great deal of time in doing so, but what is the end result? Will persuading another believer to subscribe to our particular viewpoint bring them any closer to the Lord? Will educating a non-believer about our own particular ideas in relation to it bring them any closer to accepting Jesus Christ? So, what purpose is served in doing so?

There are controversial areas of Biblical interpretation that are very important to address –  entire doctrines hinge on their correct analysis. But there are many, such as this question over who exactly the “sons of God” were, that are really relatively trivial.  We should give pause before we engage in lengthy, passionate discourses on such verses and ask ourselves if our purpose is to bring glory to God or to satisfy someone’s intellectual curiosity. Our study and sharing of God’s Word should be for the purpose of changing hearts, not entertaining minds.

*Taken From, “Preach It!” – Briscoe, Stuart – (c) 2004, Group Publishing, Inc.

To Jesus Christ goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

[This post was originally published October 6, 2009]

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Were Not Our Hearts Burning Within Us?

Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Pilgrims_of_Emmaus_on_the_Road_(Les_pèlerins_d'Emmaüs_en_chemin)_-_James_Tissot

They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32)

The two travelers to Emmaus were astonished by their own unbelief after the Lord Jesus revealed His identity to them. How could they have walked so many miles beside the Savior, hearing His own exposition of Scripture and not have even recognized Him?

The Lord Jesus speaks into the ears of many, both those who are His own and those who are not. Some recognize Him, others don’t. Yet the day will come when we shall see Him for Who He truly is and wonder, like the two travelers, did not my heart burn within me as I heard His Words? How could I have failed to recognize, in so many instances, the voice of the Son Of God speaking into my life?

“And they approached the village where they were going, and He acted as though He were going farther.” (Luke 24:28)

Jesus had appeared to these two men for the specific purpose of showing them that what had happened to Him in Jerusalem was not the end, it was only the beginning. All that had transpired was according to the plan of God. The Crucifixion, the Resurrection, all of it had been spoken of by the Holy Spirit, through the prophets, and recorded in the Scriptures.

And it was the response of the two disciples to what He had said that caused Him to tarry long enough to show Himself to them. Though He did not intend to go farther, Jesus acted as though He would. They asked Him to stay with them. Their prayer, as it were, was that the Lord might remain with them.

God is speaking to us daily; through His Word, through the preaching of His ministers, through the circumstances of our lives. He would that we would all pray Him, “Abide with me.” But for some His voice makes no impression at all and the heart remains hard and the ear closed. So He goes father, just as He has before. And with each passing the hardened heart grows colder and His voice seems all the fainter. It is never His intention to pass us by, He only acted as if He would go farther along the Road to Emmaus. No, His business and purpose was within the place where Clops and his companion were staying.

May we all stay sensitive to the voice of our Shepherd. May we recognize Him when He speaks. And may we, too, bid Him to stay with us.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

Reaping And Sowing

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)

Jacob in the Book of Genesis is one of the first examples we have in the Bible of the law of reaping and sowing in action. He took advantage of his brother Esau’s carnality and  pressed him to sell him his birthright for a bowl of soup (Gen. 25). He deceived his father, Isaac, and fooled him into giving him the blessing of the first-born son (Gen. 27:). It seems in his early life that Jacob sought to acquire those things which God intended for him through deception and guile.

Jacob sowed deception and only a few chapters later we see him reaping the same. Laban, his uncle, deals with Jacob deceptively throughout Genesis 29-31 and, no sooner does he escape than he finds himself having to pass right through Edom, the home of his brother Esau whom he deceived so many years before.

Jacob will eventually fall victim to the very same type of deception from his own sons culminating in the selling of his favorite son, Joseph, into Egyptian slavery (Gen. 37). Rather than dealing honestly with their father, the sons, of course, lie and deceive him about Joseph’s fate.

The tale of Jacob is one wrought with pain, sorrow, and regret. At the end of his life, he tells Egypt’s Pharaoh:

“The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.” (Genesis 47:9)

And what of King David, the man after God’s own heart? His adultery with Bathsheba and subsequent murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite, in order to cover up his indiscretion brought horrific consequences upon his household and would forever stain his life. The blood on David’s hands would severely limit the potential God had blessed him with and would alter the course which God had intended for him to walk.

Saul of Tarsus, the great persecutor of the early Church, would himself suffer greatly at the hands of those who would beat and cast stones at the body of the apostle, much as he had done to others. the Lord said of him when he was converted and became the Apostle Paul:

“For I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”(Acts 9:16)

Paul’s own testimony in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 attests to the validity of the Lord’s warning.

The Biblical law of Reaping and Sowing is seldom talked about in the Body of Christ anymore. Because the Lord forgives our sins, we tend to forget that there are often temporal consequences for the sins we commit. We relegate verses like Galatians 6:7 to the unsaved and unrepentant. It is the lost sinner who will ultimately reap what he sows in the fires of Hell, we conclude. Yet all of the examples we have considered were, in fact, the Lord’s people! Jacob, David, Paul, and many others mentioned in the Bible who suffered likewise were servants of God who would reap the harvest of their actions. And the Book of Galatians was not addressed to lost sinners, but to a body of believers in Christ.

God does forgive our sins and, for those trusting in Jesus Christ, an eternity in Hell is not a consequence of those sins. But there are other consequences that we may suffer here on earth for our actions. Just because we have passed from death to life and are saved by the blood of Jesus in no way means that we can expect to get away with behaving however we please.

As we begin a new year, may all of God’s people be mindful of the words we say and the deeds we do. Let us begin afresh to sow things pertaining to godliness and holiness into our own lives and the lives of those around us. It does matter how we treat others and may we never be guilty of supposing that our access to the forgiveness of Christ enables us to fulfill the lusts of the flesh with impunity.

To God goes all glory. In service to Him,

Loren

loren@answersfromthebook.org

**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.

[If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ or you are not certain where you are headed when this life ends, I invite you to read the article “Am I Going To Heaven?“]

These Men Had Been With Jesus (Acts 4:13)

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 NIV)

Lord,

This verse of your Holy Word convicts me because I confess that there are not many “astonished” by my courage for You. We, the people of Your Body, are all ordinary men yet You have called us to do extraordinary things by the power of Your Spirit. For it was not the courage and confidence of Peter that gave him the strength to preach the Gospel before the very men who called for Your blood to be shed, but Your Word tells us that he was filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:8). It is not many of the wise, or the noble of this world whom You have called to share the Message of Salvation with a lost and dying world but ordinary, weak and earthen vessels into whom You have poured Your power.

Nor is our courage and confidence to be found in the education and knowledge of this age, even if such things have their benefits. Though we might possess great acumen for scholarship, or a prodigious aptitude for philosophical and intellectual pursuits, these can do nothing to change a hardened heart except Your Spirit moves upon it. Neither must a lack of education or learning be cause for fear and anxiety because, after all, it was Your power present in those two fishermen that day that made the lame man walk — something which all the combined mental abilities of some of the greatest thinkers in Israel could not accomplish. Day after day that crippled man was set right before the door of the great temple as the most prominent religious leaders in the nation walked right by him and his legs remained as lifeless as they had been the day before; until Your Spirit raised him up at the word of two of the most unlikely men in the entire assembly. 

Perhaps, Lord God, it is the last words of this verse which bring the most conviction. Because after the miracle of the crippled man leaping up and walking and the untrained fishermen preaching boldly in the temple to the astonishment of the religious leaders of the Sanhedrin, it is said that those present took note that these men had been with Jesus. Their words and their actions did not reflect their own “glory” but pointed squarely to the One Who had sent them: You, Lord Jesus. Are those whom I encounter in my own day-to-day life taking note that I have spent time with Jesus? Are they hearing my words and seeing my actions and praising my Heavenly Father? Or do I even look and sound like I have spent much time with You at all? 

Lord, let my life be so lived that others may examine it and take note that I have been with Jesus. Let my own words and actions be saturated with a holy courage, causing others to be “astonished” that the power of God can work through even the feeblest of instruments. Let me sit and learn at the feet of the Master and enable me to proclaim with boldness those things which I shall hear there. 

In the name of Jesus I pray,

Amen

%d bloggers like this: