Archive for April, 2012


. . . He is not a man that He should change His mind.

(1 Sam. 15:29)

Recently, I had a computer problem that took several days to fix. It was a reminder that my routine is really not as stable as I think. As long as things operate as we expect, we are able to move along rather smoothly. But even a simple glitch, like the one I experienced, has a rippling effect that creates additional complications.

This is just a minor example of the uncertain nature of our plans, but it reminds us that we are susceptible to influences that we do not control. By contrast, consider the words of the prophet quoted above. These words were spoken by Samuel as he informed Saul that God had rejected him as king. This is one of many verses that declare one of God’s marvelous attributes. In systematic theology, this characteristic of God is known as His immutability. Simply put, this term means that God does not and cannot change.

God’s nature does not change; His plans do not change. His decree, His promises, His commandments, and all other expressions of God’s will are eternally correct and dependable. For the believer, this is a greatly encouraging truth, particularly when you consider your relationship with God. Whatever God has said to you or about you, as one of His children, is firm. You have and always will have the standing God has given you in Christ. You are a child of God and always will be a child of God. In Christ, you have been redeemed and you will always be redeemed. In Christ, your sins have been forgiven and will always be forgiven. And you will assuredly receive whatever God has promised you. The unchanging nature of God guarantees it.

The next time something does not unfold as you expected or you are suddenly faced with an unforeseen and unpleasant change in circumstances, remember the constancy of God. By doing this, you will keep the disappointments, surprises, and interruptions of life in proper perspective.

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Recently, during a phone call to schedule an appointment, I happened to speak to a woman named Monica. From the beginning of our conversation, I was struck by her congeniality. There was something powerfully disarming about her demeanor and the tone of her voice. She sounded like one of the most joyful people I had ever encountered. There was more to my reaction than her quick helpfulness and excellent phone skills. She had an extraordinarily pleasant personality. Although I had not met Monica, I was immediately comfortable in her presence, even though we were only speaking by phone.

A few days later, when my wife and I had the opportunity to speak with Monica in person, we both discovered that she was even more engaging and likable in person. At the beginning of our visit, Monica created a most comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Her authenticity was undeniable. I cannot remember ever having such an experience upon meeting someone for the first time. I actually felt uplifted by our brief period of contact.

What does it say about our world when someone with a simple, unassuming, and polite personality makes such a lasting impression? I don’t think my reaction to Monica was due to a lack of contact with people. As a matter of fact, I think her charm stood out because of the contrasting episodes I routinely have with other people. It’s not that I encounter sour people most of the time; it’s that I rarely encounter genuinely pleasant people.

I relate this short story simply because this casual encounter was encouraging and caused me to reflect on my own disposition. I realized how easy it is to provide a moment or two of enjoyment for another person. I also concluded that what should be found in all of us—namely, a friendly and helpful demeanor—really stands out when you run into it.

We are constantly learning new facts. Our knowledge is gained sequentially; that is, we are always in the process of acquiring knowledge. We are never in a state of complete knowledge, but our knowledge is always being expanded. The sum of what we know today is greater than the sum of what we knew yesterday. In the past 24 hours, we have added facts, observations, and understanding to our reservoir of information. This is a pattern that operates throughout our lives.

Not only do we add items to our body of knowledge, but we also experience the correction of past knowledge as we learn more about our world. Therefore, based upon our perceptions alone, we can never claim to possess absolute truth because something we are certain of at this moment may be proven false in the future as we gather additional information. Our opinions and assertions are subject to modification so that, as just mentioned, we cannot speak with conclusive certainty on any matter as long as the source of our understanding is our accumulated knowledge.

By contrast, God’s knowledge does not increase and is never in need of correction. God does not learn chronologically, as described above. The knowledge of God is at once perfect and exhaustive. As time passes, unlike human beings, God’s knowledge remains what it has always been. The nature of God is such that He has always possessed all knowledge and always will possess all knowledge.

The plans and promises of God rest upon His sure and complete knowledge. Therefore, when God speaks, there is no possibility that His word will not come to pass or that what He declares may be in error. This is so because, once again, God knows all things real and all things possible and His knowledge is comprehensive and impeccable.

With that said, it is a mistake to view God according to our own experience. If we ascribe our manner of gaining information to God, then His word can never be received as sure. If God accumulates knowledge as we do, we cannot find comfort and encouragement in His promises since those promises would be subject to alteration. The knowledge of God, however, as already explained, allows us to embrace every word, promise, prediction, and commandment of God with supreme confidence. Thanks be to God, we are not dependent on our limited and frail comprehension, but we may rest in the perfect knowledge of God who loves us and does all things for our good and His glory.