Monday, January 20, 2014

changed His mind

Do you think that God changes His mind?
Plenty of places in the Bible tell us that God had planned to do something but then decided not to.

In the book of Amos, it tells us a few times that God changed His mind.
Weird to think about, right? 
I think we or I, have grown accustomed to the idea that God has everything planned out and doesn't change His plans. 
So what do we do when we come across verses like...
 "So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people." Exodus 32:14 (He was going to destroy the Israelites, but Moses interceded and God granted them mercy.)
"The Lord changed His mind about this. “It shall not be,” said the Lord." Amos 7:3
"The Lord changed His mind about this. “This too shall not be,” said the Lord God.Amos 7:6

On the contrary, there are other verses say that He will not change His mind. Perhaps in the context He didn't, but that doesn't mean He won't ever change His mind like in Amos.

In the book of Amos, the Israelites were living recklessly. Their arrogance took over and therefore, caused them to live selfishly. All that mattered to them were their desires. It was a time of war. A time of power. A time of violence. A time of greed. 
So of course, God was upset. He was disappointed that His people weren't living the way He wanted them to. They weren't living in peace. They weren't taking care of the poor. 
They were craving power.

Therefore, Amos was trying to warn them of God's judgment. He was saying, "Hey, you've been warned...don't you want to change your ways! God is not happy."

Side note: Do you ever think of God as happy? Sad? Joyous? Mad?
Often, I think we picture God is a blank slate with no emotions, but I argue that.
Throughout the Bible, emotions are portrayed.

Anyway, Amos becomes so desperate for the people. He yearns for redemption and salvation from the locusts God would send. So guess what he does?
He prays. He asks for forgiveness. He cries out to God (chapter 7, verse 2).

You know what happens?
Because of Amos' petition and God's grace, God changed His mind.
"This will not happen," the Lord said (verse 3). 

Side note #2: Clearly, God hears our prayers. Our petitions can make a difference. Good thing, we aren't puppets on a string for God or our prayers would mean nothing to Him, but clearly they do. There is power in prayer.

Just like Jonah 3:10, "When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would [a]bring upon them. And He did not do it." God has planned to act upon His anger, but decided not to.

Continuing on in verse 5, Amos again tells God to stop and not send the fire that would destroy everything. God follows with, "This too will not happen." He had changed His mind once again (verse 6).  I don't think God would ever plan something good, and then decide to do something bad instead, because He isn't bad! 

The book of Amos ends with hope. It foreshadows Christ's coming and proves God's lovingkindness and grace can overpower our mistakes.
Chapter 9: v13 ‘There is a time coming’, says the *Lord.
‘A person will be ploughing a field.
He will catch up with a person who is harvesting the crops.
A person will walk on *grapes.
He will catch up with the person who was planting the *grapes.
New wine will run down from the mountains.
It will flow from all the hills.
v14 I will bring back my people, Israel, from *exile.
They will build again the cities that people have ruined.
And they will live in those cities.
They will plant fields of *grapes.
And they will drink the wine that comes from them.
They will make gardens and eat the fruit.
v15 I will plant my people on their own land.
I will not pull them out again.
This is the land that I gave them.’ This is what the *Lord your God says.

It reminds me of times when I get upset or disappointed and I may say things that are not in my character. Later on, I realize that I was emotional and my real character would not act that way.

God was disappointed in His people. He wanted so much more for them. If only they would listen, things would work out. He was upset and rightfully so, but thank God, His grace is unstoppable. All throughout the Bible, we read about God's judgment, but it seems to me that His grace always win, because He is good. He is loving. He is gracious. He is redemptive.

Like I've said many times before, His grace shouldn't be an excuse for us to live the way we want to live, but His grace should move us toward the love He wants us to live out. 
Jesus is the prime and BEST example, that although we were still sinners, He still died for us. 
Gosh, how amazing?! Redemption is a beautiful thing. We see it played out through the pages of the Bible. 

In the stories where God changed His mind, it shows us that prayer is meaningful and that He is good.
 His grace wins.
It definitely doesn't mean that He is not faithful or loyal because He changed His mind.
He is faithful all the time and He could have changed His mind about sending Jesus, but He didn't. 
Praise God for that!

This week we finish our reading plan by  reading through Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

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I'm so glad you stopped by! I can't wait to hear your thoughts. Be blessed :)