The fact that God doesn’t change makes a difference to his people, and to everyone else. Let’s talk about that.
God keeps his promises. Sometimes we make promises with the best of intentions, but changing circumstances prevent our keeping them. I’ve done that multiple times, once with a big promise, to my daughter.
That doesn’t happen to God. As I noted at the beginning of this series, God told Moses at the burning bush that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—and the point of that observation is that now, in Moses’ day, he’s going to keep the promises he made to those patriarchs centuries earlier.
As he states in the Law of Moses,
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? (Nu 23.19).
And again in the Prophets,
The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand (Is 14.24).
That means that he’s not like anybody else you know. He’s not like an unfaithful spouse or a deserting parent. Horrific experiences like those can change the way we think about every aspect of life; but we cannot conclude that God will act similarly.
One consequence of keeping promises is mercy. When my wife and I got married, we made promises to one another. And because we intend to keep those promises, she has repeatedly shown me mercy, forgiving my transgressions.
God does the same thing. If you are his child, he shows you mercy.
Many of us, knowing our ongoing sinfulness, feel as though we can’t run to our heavenly Father. That’s exactly the wrong feeling. Because he keeps his promises—even when we don’t—he will show us mercy. He is exactly the person to whom we should run.
After all of Israel’s failings, God told them,
I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed (Mal 3.6).
And that means that we can expect him to keep his promises. That is not presumption; it’s faith. It’s exactly what he wants us to do. The Psalmist writes,
The counsel of the LORD standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations (Ps 33.11).
Governments and economies fail. Relationships sour. Joys disappear. But God does not change.
This one is obviously a shift in tone, but it needs to be said.
God cannot fail, and thus he cannot be overthrown. Those who defy his will, who reject his character, who denounce his ways, will not prevail—and that places them in an infinitely precarious situation, like that of Jonathan Edwards’s famous spider. Apart from repentance, they will be crushed. And yes, they should be afraid. The wisest man who ever lived wrote,
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him (Ec 3.14).
But for his people, God’s certain victory is a source of great joy and anticipation. God will never be defeated; his plans will be accomplished; and his people will be delivered.
The Scripture ends with a dazzling presentation of the glory of God the Son, who says to his closest friend on earth,
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, … which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (Re 1.8).
That friend, John the Apostle, writes,
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead (Re 1.17).
And then John says,
And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Re 1.17-18).
We can rest in this almighty, unchangeable God.