In Deuteronony 10:10, Moses intimates that he interceded on Israel’s behalf and changed God’s mind. I struggle that in God’s ultimate wisdom, he made a decision and changed his mind. Or was he manipulating the situation to get a response and testing Moses? Either way it seems beneath God and manipulative. How can an all knowing and sovereign God change his mind? As I dig in ever deeper, I want to understand God’s purpose clearly in all of this.
@Sully Good question What never changes is God’s character. However, God’s course of action might change, at least from our limited human perspective, in response to the actions of individuals or nations.
All relationships are dynamic in nature. We respond to the other person’s actions. That is part of what makes relationships exciting and wonderful. God even became human in response to our need for salvation. Again, God clearly had a plan for salvation before time began (Colossians 1:26), but from our human perspective He was responding to our fallen state with love and grace.
In my opinion, the fact that God responds to the prayers and actions of us mere humans is one of the most amazing and beautiful things about the God of Scripture. God can be both sovereign and responsive to the needs / cries / requests of His people.
Here are some key points:
- no one can compel or force God to change His mind
- God does respond to intercession from His people and does relent from sending judgment when people repent. He also responds to wicked nations and behaviors with judgment.
- even if God knew what He would do before time began, He could still interact with us time bound creatures in a way that appeared to be ‘changing His mind’ in that instant (see C. S. Lewis quote)
“The event [in question] has already been decided—in a sense it was decided “before all worlds.” But one of the things taken into account in deciding it, and therefore one of the things that really cause it to happen, may be this very prayer that we are now offering. . . . My free act [of prayer] contributes to the cosmic shape. That contribution is made in eternity or “before all worlds”; but my consciousness of contributing reaches me at a particular point in the time-series.” C. S. Lewis
God’s character does not change and He is faithful to His covenant promises, but He also responds to the decisions that people make.
Wonderfully answered brother! I couldn’t agree more.
Thank you SeanO. I understand God transcends time, and this answer makes sense to me. My feeble understanding of his ways will never be satisfied, but I agree with you that his character never changes and for that I am grateful that we serve a loving, merciful, and gracious God!
@Sully Amen - He is the same yesterday, today and forever!