Remain At Rest In Your
Unchanging Lord And Savior!
By Pastor Ence Ragos
"I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
Change has become part of our lives. From the moment we were born to who we are now and what we have become at present. We also find this change in our environment, in places we have lived, with the people we’ve come in contact with for most of our lives – our family members who have lived and died, friends that we have held so dear in our hearts who may no longer be around us.
Sin and tragic incidents have also impacted us in so many ways. We have seen people’s decline into blatant and deplorable acts of unrighteousness and unbelief toward God. Some who used to be passionate about God and His church have abandoned the faith and are no longer walking with the Lord. We find churches and Christian movements that used to banner truthfulness and integrity in their doctrines, are now trying to adapt to the changing times adjust essential doctrines in the hope of becoming more relevant. And the list could go on and on…
But not all changes are bad…the Lord has wrought changes in our lives from the moment of our conversion. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul declares:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
And in the process of sanctification, change is evident in the fact that the Lord is transforming us:
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
With what we are experiencing now during this pandemic and how our lives are being affected, we know that our lives will never be the same! It is our hope and prayer then, that with the passing of time, we continue to live faithfully before the Lord, growing closer in our walk with Him, continually serving Him, fulfilling His great commission, glorifying Him in every way until He returns to take us to be with Him.
But with all the changes that are and need be in our lives, we have our anchors firmly secured in God’s unchanging reality. Let not the passing of time and the changes that we experience lead us away from Him, instead, must propel us to a stronger devotion and trust.
LET US BE REMINDED THAT HE IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL AND UNCHANGING!
God through the prophet Malachi despite all the people’s wrong understanding of His character and ways declared:
"I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
We see here three areas that God is to His people:
1. UNCHANGING IN HIS PERSON
"I the Lord do not change…” Malachi 3:6
It might be difficult for us to imagine how the Lord Himself was willing to put up with these people who have time and again failed and dishonored Him, and knows that they will continue to do so! Reading Malachi brings with it some form of frustration and disdain for these people’s reactions - questioning and accusing God of wrongdoing. But on the on the other side, God affirming His love, His holiness, His justice and His omniscience in their midst.
Throughout the book, the Lord kept on reminding them of who He is, what He has done for them and how they are supposed to treat Him.
When we say that He is unchanging, we understand that there is no unrighteousness in God, He is absolutely perfect and beyond reproach. He is utterly holy, He is unalterable in His essence, infinite and sufficient in Himself!
He for example reminded them of His unchanging holy love (Mal. 1:2), but they have stubbornly rejected that love because it did not really fit into their picture of a loving God. For them, if God loves them, then He should not have allowed the difficulties, the oppression and the poverty that had befallen on them!
In another instance, they know even from experience and from His laws that God had revealed Himself to be holy and righteous, but they were unwilling to live out His divine standards, thinking that maybe this God would accept and accommodate their blatant disregard of His Word (Mal.1:6ff).
These are just some glaring pictures of the people’s wrong understanding of God. Modern people think that this God of love should not have allowed evil in the world or brought suffering on the people he created. They could not imagine the God of love sending people to hell to suffer just condemnation for their sins as a consequence.
Such unbiblical perspective on the nature and character of God, led them to further unfaithfulness and rebellion. Though they claim not to have rejected God openly and are still continuing in their religious observances (sacrifices and temple worship), they were living in a complete lie. In other words, they were interested in having a “god” that they could fashion according to their own imagination.
Moses declared, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19).
When we affirm God’s unchangeable nature, we remind ourselves of our own human frailty and fickle tendencies. We are brought to a genuine acknowledgment of the way we approach God in worship or in the way that we treat Him.
The Psalmist expressed this truth when he said, “They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end” (Psalm 102:26-27).
This truth should humble us as we realize that because God is unchanging, we are in no position to question His sovereignty and His ways in our lives. We cannot usurp His authority nor try to thwart His plans and purposes. He is God, and He can do whatever He pleases!
2. UNCHANGING IN HIS JUDGMENTS
“…So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” Malachi 3:6
God’s unchanging reality – His omniscience, holiness and justice presents before them a strong rebuke and warning. They are all guilty of violating His commands. And because God is unchanging, they have no excuse for their sin and are to be condemned justly for their wickedness and ungodliness.
In Genesis 18:25, as Abraham was petitioning God to spare the righteous and not let them perish with the wicked, he said, “…far be it from You! Shall not the judge of all the earth deal justly?”
If He indeed is the unchanging God then He is perfect and righteous when He judges, and no one could stand before Him! The Psalmist asked, “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” And then immediately give the answer, “But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (Psalm 130:3-4).
Fear of God is an essential response to His unchanging character of holiness and righteousness. God delaying or postponing His judgment did not in any way mean that He had already changed his mind upon the rebellious and the wicked.
In Malachi 3:16, the writer is quick to record how this truth has affected their lives positively saying, “Then those who feared the Lord, spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name.”
3. UNCHANGING IN HIS PROMISES
“…Return to me, and I will return to you," says the Lord Almighty...” Malachi 3:6
As we ponder upon the unchanging nature and character of God, we are given the opportunity to realize that in all the circumstances of our lives, His will, certainly will be accomplished.
In His unchanging character, God has not and will never abandon His own righteous people. He will guide them on all that He has promised to do on their behalf. No wonder that this prophetic book, serves as the closing book of the Old Testament to remind us that God hasn’t changed and He will bring to completion all His plans especially in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ!
Earlier in this chapter, He already gave them a hint of His redemptive purposes through His Messenger. He will enable them and purify their lives. They will be drawn to Him and God Himself will draw near.
Christ has fulfilled this truth, and speaking of His unchanging character, the writer to the Hebrews declared, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). The truths in this passage will be discussed in the next part of this message.
Allow me then to share how these truths should affect our lives in a personal way as we go through various experiences in our lives:
First, amidst difficulties in our lives, God’s unchanging character and sovereignty does not in any way diminish, shown in His providential care for those who trust in Him.
James 1:17 declares, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” And without mistaking, all that He ordains in our lives including trials and testings (see context) to make us “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4b)
Second, God’s unchanging judgments, require that regard Him as holy and desires His children to conduct themselves in reverent fear.
The Psalmist understood this when he said, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him” (Psalm 103:14-17b).
Thirdly, God who is unchanging in fulfilling His promises, allows us to rest securely in Him, to delight in His character and trust in His heart for our future!
In 1 Samuel 7:12, we find the prophet in his desire to remind God’s people and the future generation, “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the Lord helped us!”
C.H. Spurgeon said, “Remember, then, that God is the same, whatever may be removed. There is one place where change cannot put its finger. There is one name on which mutability can never be written; there is one heart that can never alter. That heart is God’s – that Name is Love.”
May we fix our gaze on the Lord, no matter where He leads, and whatever we may go through, He is there. He is our unchanging God!