The world’s gone crazy, hasn’t it?
Culture has changed. Government has changed. Politics has changed. Society has changed. Church has changed.
Some would observe that this is nothing new, that these things change constantly. And indeed they do.
But it does seem as though the pace of change is accelerating, doesn’t it?
- As my father aged, it occurred to me that when he was born on his father’s homestead ranch in Idaho in 1918, everyday life was pretty much the same as it was in Abraham’s day: you got water from the well or the river; you grew your food in the dirt just outside the house; you plowed your fields with oxen; you did your excretory business in a hole in the ground. But before he died, he and I sat down at my computer, pulled up Google Earth, and revisited the homestead virtually. He showed me which side of Sandy Creek the ranch was on, and we “stood” there and looked up at the Continental Divide, just a couple of miles east.
- An internet meme observes that it was only 66 years—shorter than my lifespan—from the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk to the moon landing. And the SR-71 Blackbird was introduced 3 years before that.
- And the sociosexual changes in the last 20 years in the US would have been unimaginable even when I embarked on my working life after graduate school.
Closer to home, there’s change in our individual lives as well: you change jobs; you change bosses; you change residences; you face a financial setback; a family member dies; your marriage breaks up.
I see a lot of angst over this.
A lot of people are bewildered, scared, frustrated about all this change.
And they should be. The change is real and often devastating, and we’re not designed to live in constant chaos.
The Scripture doesn’t ignore this problem, and it doesn’t try to “pep talk” us out of our distress with platitudes. But it does offer two truths that can stabilize us despite the instability of our world.
The first is the simple fact that instability is temporary. Most of us find that we can endure all kinds of things if there’s light at the end of the tunnel. (And yes, we all know the joke about the oncoming train.) The brokenness of our world, which is the cause of its instability and pain, has already been reckoned with, and Scripture promises an eventual onset of permanent peace, shalom (Re 21.1-7)—regardless of your eschatological system. 🙂
That’s not pie in the sky, meant to keep the proletariat in bondage; it’s the promise of God.
Which brings me to the second truth, and the focus of this series.
God doesn’t change.
I change; you change; our loved ones change, as do our friends, our suppliers, our lawyers, our pastors, and every one of our circumstances.
But not God.
His very nature is to be stable, to be steady, to be faithful, to be reliable.
Theologians call this divine attribute “immutability”—God doesn’t mutate. It’s closely associated with his attribute of faithfulness. The Hebrew word for the latter is ‘emunah, the source of our word “Amen”—“may it ever be so.”
Interestingly, this idea is part of the personal name that God chose for himself; as he told Moses at the burning bush, “I AM THAT I AM” (Ex 3.14). He says, “This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations” (Ex 3.15). In context, God’s point is that centuries earlier he had made promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and now he was going to see that those promises were kept—the descendants of those patriarchs were now going to enter the land that God had promised them.
Faithful. That’s essentially his name.
More to come.
Part 2: Jesus Included | Part 3: No Need to Grow | Part 4: No Need to Aspire | Part 5: No Greater Force | Part 6: No Decay | Part 7: Trustworthiness | Part 8: Mercy | Part 9: Confidence | Part 10: Victory