Can God change his mind?

(Mary Mang) #1

In regards to Number 23:19, this states that God does not change his mind yet God changed his mind after Moses interceeded on the Israelites behalf in Exodus 32. Also, in Jonah 3 , the Ninevites talk about turning from their evil ways and stopping violence so that God might change his mind. Is it only in cases of God wishing no person die before coming to know him?
I recently had a friend tell me that God might not send our family overseas for missions work like we are planning and have heard from the Lord because he can change his mind. I distinctly remember the Numbers 23 verse and am confused by this as I know God would never contradict His nature and character in His word. Maybe the context of Numbers is different? Please expound if you can. Thanks!

(SeanO) #2

@mem76 The context of Numbers 23 is Balaak trying to get Balaam to curse Israel, but guess what - God already promised to bless Israel! God was not going to go back on His covenant with Abraham (remember Genesis 15 - very intense covenant where God passed through Himself, guaranteeing that He would never, ever break His promise). So the point here is that God will not go back on His promises to His people to be faithful to the covenant.

Numbers 23:19 - God is not human, that he should lie,
not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?

More generally, we must remember that it is God’s character that does not change. God is both faithful to His promises and He is merciful. If God says through a prophet (Jonah) He will destroy Nineveh, but then Nineveh repents. God, in His mercy, may not destroy them. God’s character is not changing. God is responding to a repentant people who have humbled themselves.

God’s character does not change and He is faithful to His covenant promises, but He also responds to the decisions that people make. The point of Numbers 23 is not that God never changes His mind in response to people’s actions, but that He is faithful to His covenant promises.

Regarding your friend’s statement, I think that we can trust God as our Shepherd to guide us and that it requires wisdom to plan for the future. I personally have never heard direct voices from God and I think that it can be risky to rely on our own impressions or internal sense. I think we need affirmation from Christian community and life wisdom. May Jesus keep you safe in His love and guide you always :slight_smile:

(Timothy Loraditch) #3

@mem76 I think it helps a little to remember He knows the end from the beginning. God not only created the universe He also created time. He is eternal and knows each of the actions we will take, and each day is unfolding exactly as He knew it would. It is not that we don’t choose, it’s just that He knows what our choices will be before we make them.

Therefore, when He said in Exodus 32 verse 10, "Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” He knew Moses was going to intercede for the people. Moses is a type and shadow of Jesus. Moses stood in the gap for the nation of Isreal just as Jesus stood in the gap for us. So did God change His mind? I don’t think so because He was following His plan every step of the way. It was His plan to bring Moses to this place where he could be the person God created him to be.

I think it was Ravi that said, “did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God?” He doesn’t change His mind as humans do. He leads us in the paths of righteousness for His namesake. That means He creates opportunities for us to glorify Him. When we make good choices it defeats the enemy, and I think that’s really cool!:smile:

(Mary Mang) #4

Thank you for your quick replies. They definitely confirm to keep my eyes on Jesus. I so appreciate the wisdom.