Some people think God is a force somewhere in the cosmos, while others picture a benevolent grandfather type who overlooks “little” sins. But these characteristics do not fully capture who Jehovah is. The real God might surprise you.
As the Father reveals Himself in His Word, it’s clear He is a person. Throughout Scripture, He is named (Yahweh, Elohim, Lord) or spoken of using masculine pronouns (He, Him); “it” is never used to describe Him. He fits all of the attributes of personhood—intelligence to reason, emotions to feel, and the will to make decisions.
At the same time, Scripture also shows God’s immutability, which means His nature and character never shift—He is always Spirit, and His love remains constant. Believers can expect that God’s principles and laws will hold true and He’ll act exactly as He has promised. While He responds differently to various situations, those responses (like delight, anger, and mercy) are nuances of His being, not new traits.
God has no beginning or end, and He is always the same (Psalm 102:27). No one created Him; God simply is. That’s hard for humans to understand, but if the Lord were completely explainable, He would be unworthy of worship.
The coronavirus pandemic resulted in canceled schools around the world. In China, teachers responded with DingTalk, a digital app that enabled class to be held online. Then their students figured out that if DingTalk’s rating fell too low, it might be removed from the App Store. Overnight, thousands of one-star reviews dropped DingTalk’s score.
Jesus wouldn’t be impressed with the students shirking their responsibilities, but He might admire their ingenuity. He told an unusual story about a fired manager who on his final day slashed the bills of his master’s debtors. Jesus didn’t praise the manager’s dishonesty. Rather He commended his cleverness and wished His followers would be equally shrewd: “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9).
When it comes to money, most people look at how much they might lose. Wise people look for what they can use. Jesus said giving to others “gain[s] friends,” which provides safety and influence. Who is the leader in any group? The one who pays. Giving also gains “eternal dwellings,” for our willingness to part with our cash shows our trust is in Jesus.
Even if we don’t have money, we do have time, skills, or a listening ear. Let’s ask God to show us how to creatively serve others for Jesus.
“The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether” (Ps. 19:9).
God’s Word is true and produces righteousness in the believer’s life.
The inability of human wisdom to produce right living was reaffirmed in my thinking as I read a contemporary psychiatrist’s book on how to overcome depression. The doctor’s first suggestion was to shout “Cancel!” every time you have a negative thought. She also recommended playing a tape recording of positive messages while you sleep at night, and listening to positive music during the day.
Cultivating a meaningful spiritual philosophy was another of her suggestions. She said any will do—as long as it works for you—but cautioned against those that speak of sin and guilt. Her final point was to find the spiritual light within yourself.
That kind of advice is foolish because it has no basis in truth. The best it can do is mask a few symptoms. It cannot cure the illness.
Jesus illustrated the hopelessness of searching for truth through such means when He said to a group of unbelievers, “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You are of your father the devil . . . [who] does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. . . . He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (John 8:43-47).
Unbelievers don’t see the truth of God’s Word for what it is. But believers hear the truth and receive it. Like David, they acknowledge that “the judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether” (Ps. 19:9).
“Judgments” in that context speaks of ordinances or divine verdicts from the Supreme Judge. “Righteous altogether” implies that Scripture produces comprehensive righteousness in all who receive it. Together they emphasize that true righteousness originates from God’s Word and flows through His people.
Suggestions for Prayer
Praise God for giving you the truth that produces righteousness.
The Lord is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer; my God, my keen and firm Strength in Whom I will trust and take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my High Tower.
— Psalm 18:2 (AMPC)
Why do you think Jesus is referred to as “the Rock”? Because He is stable and never-changing, just like a rock. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever—and we’re supposed to imitate Him.
Waiting to see how you feel each day is never a good idea. Has anyone ever invited you to do something, and you responded, “Let me wait and see how I feel”? That just gives the devil room to make sure you don’t feel like doing what you need to do or what can benefit you. We will sometimes have unpleasant times, but we don’t have to live by our feelings; we can choose to stand firm and be stable when we find our strength in the One Who never changes.
Prayer Starter: Lord, thank You that in and through You, I can be strong and stable. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Many have forsaken Christ and have walked no more with Him; but what reason do you have to make a change? Has there been any reason for it in the past? Has Jesus not proved Himself all-sufficient? He asks you this morning, “Have I been a wilderness to you?” When your soul has simply trusted Jesus, have you ever been defeated? Have you not until now found your Lord to be a compassionate and generous friend to you, and has simple faith in Him not given you all the peace your spirit could desire? Can you even dream of a better friend than He has been to you? Then do not change the old and tried for the new and false.
As for the present, can that compel you to leave Christ? When we are hard-pressed with this world or with the severer trials within the church, we find it a most blessed thing to rest our head upon the shoulder of our Savior. This is the joy we have today—that we are saved in Him; and if this joy is satisfying, why would we think of changing? Who trades gold for dross? We will not renounce the sun until we find a better light, nor leave our Lord until a brighter lover shall appear; and since this can never be, we will hold Him with an immortal grasp and bind His name as a seal upon our arm.
As for the future, can you suggest anything that can arise that will render it necessary for you to mutiny or desert the old flag to serve under another captain? We think not. If life be long, He doesn’t change. If we are poor, what better than to have Christ who can make us rich? When we are sick, what more do we want than Jesus to comfort and to heal? When we die, is it not written that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”1 And so we say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”2
1) Romans 8:38-39 2) John 6:68
Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed…. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:5-6, 17)
With a heavy heart, Hillary stared out the window. Here it was already late October, and the leaves on the trees had not even changed color yet. But the grey sky outside matched her mood. She watched the swaying of the branches (still so full of green leaves) as a damp, cold wind blew through them. Hillary wished the leaves would just fall off. She also wished her tears would fall down, too. If only she could have a good cry, she thought maybe she would feel better.
But there wasn’t time for crying. Caroline – Hillary’s best friend and closest cousin – was all ready to move to China this week. Uncle Dave’s company was sending him and Aunt Britt and Caroline to Shanghai for two years, and Hillary was going to be left behind in plain, boring old Iowa – with only the teen-aged neighbors and the baby cousins to play with. Caroline had promised to write, but Hillary knew things would never be the same after they were gone.
“We know this is going to be especially tough for the two of you girls,” Uncle Dave had said to them. He gave Caroline and Hillary each a pretty jade ring that he and Aunt Britt had bought for them the last time they were visiting in China. “I want both of you to wear your rings every day,” he said. “When you look at them, I want you to remember that you have someone you love on the other side of the world thinking about you. Let your rings remind you to pray for each other every day.”
“These rings are made out of jade,” added Aunt Britt. “Right now you see this bright, greenish color. But when you wear jade up against your skin, it will change color a little bit, and you never know exactly how it will change for any one person. But the rings are always going to stay jade, no matter what colors they turn. I want these rings to remind you of more than each other. I want them to remind you that sometimes God brings change into our lives, partly so that He can change us, because we need to be changed. But God Himself never changes. He’s on both sides of the world. He is all-wise, and He is always there. God will never move away; He has never been afraid or lonely. Like these rings will always stay jade, God will always be the same good and great God He has always been. Even when you cannot see what changes are coming, God can, and you can put your trust in Him.”
Hillary turned away from the window and turned her jade ring around and around on her finger. She could not tell if it was starting to change colors yet or not, but she thought about what Aunt Britt had said: God will always be the same good and great God He always has been. He would be in Shanghai with Caroline, and He would stay here in Iowa with Hillary, too. She looked outside again at the still-green leaves and thanked God that even though seasons and circumstances change, she could always count on Him to be the good and great God that He has always been.
God will always be the same good and great God He always has been.
My Response: » Am I frustrated with the changes (or the lack of change) in my life right now? » Why does God bring change into my life? » How can I put into practice what I know from the Bible about God’s unchanging goodness and greatness?
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