Unlike the seasons and the cycles of human life, God the Lord does not change. The biblical narrative shows God to be graciously flexible in his work, and so no change in God does not mean rigidity.  I like to think of God unchanging in his love toward us, and this is certainly part of the gospel. Having read the immediate context of Malachi 3:6, I discover that God does not change concerning his infinite justice according to his law.  And so, I must conclude that God does not change in any of his character or eternal  purpose. He is “the same, yesterday, today and forever.”

My life changes like the seasons. God, who never changes, is powerfully present with me in every stage and circumstance of my life.  

Back to the unpopular prophet, Malachi, whose name means “messenger,” I hear God speak, “For, I the Lord do not change,” as the reason for his executing judgment upon his sinful people. In Malachi 3:5, God promises, “I will draw near to you for judgment.” God promises to be “a swift witness against” sorcerers, adulterers, liars, economic oppressors, and oppressors of widows and orphans, and foreign aliens.  

God sending his Son, our Savior Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sins as God’s people is not God changing, going soft on his law and stopping short of executing his infinite justice. The death of Jesus has satisfied God’s wrath for our sins as he poured out the full extent of his justice upon Jesus, who knew no sin, but became sin for us. God’s grace and justice meet at the cross so that his infinite justice and his infinite love might be applied to those of us who are united to Jesus by faith.  

God says in Malachi 3:6, “For I the Lord do not change.” He continues to address his people, promising that they will not be consumed, even though they have robbed God of tithes and contributions against his holy law. He says to them in Malachi 3:7: “Return to me, and I will return to you.” He tells them how they can return to him: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse.” He asks them to test his goodness in pouring out blessing upon them.  

God doesn’t change like the seasons. He is both infinitely just and infinitely merciful. He is infinitely generous in graciously pouring out upon his people second chances to do the right and giving to them what they do not deserve.  

God rehearses two human responses to his unchanging nature and ways:  1) some will say, “It is vain to serve God...evil doers not only prosper but they put God to the test and they escape,” or 2) some fear the Lord and of these God says, “They are mine.” (Malachi 3:13-18)

As the seasons change, I am reminded that God has been gracious to allow me to change. He is patient with me as I learn to fear him instead of questioning his mercy toward those who do not deserve his blessings.

Pastor Nathan E. Lewis

 


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