Knowledge of the Holy: part 7

“In this world where men forget us, change their attitude toward us as their private interests dictate, and revise their opinion of us for the slightest cause, is it not a sources of wondrous strength to know that the God with whom we have to do changes not?  That His attitude toward us now is the same as it was in eternity past and will be in eternity to come?” (53)

A friend of mine often speaks about the “toxic atmosphere” of Washington, DC.  He, of course, is not referencing our smog and impure water.  Rather he is speaking of the inordinate ambition, the break-neck pace, the language of deceit that has become the deadly ocean in which we who live here now swim–or maybe have always swum.

Washington is undeniably the city of power.  In her book on Washington, Meg Greenfield wrote that DC is much like high school where popularity and power drives everything we do.  Indeed, she notes with irony, you probably can’t find a higher concentration of high school and class presidents anywhere else in the world.  For some of us, high school represented one of the most insecure times in our lives.  Not only were we changing physically, but everything around us–our environment, our culture, our norms–were changing as well.  In short, life was a roller coaster.  Yet the inherent excitement of such rapid change was more often than not overshadowed by the fear that maybe life wasn’t a roller coaster so much as a ship lost at sea, no moorings, no bearings, no captain.  Life in Washington often resurfaces and does little to quell this fear.

Enter the Immutable, Self-sufficient, Self-sustaining God.  Tozer says that immutability is one of the easier attributes of God for us to grasp.  It is certainly one that God plainly proclaims from Genesis to Revelation.  Still, I think while we may grasp the concept of immutability in theory, in reality we rarely live as if it were true of God.  Like Job, we wonder where God has gone.  When a prayer isn’t answered or life seems out of control, we begin to wonder if perhaps God is not as interested in us as He used to be, or maybe we’ve angered Him and so He loves us less.  After all, how often do we treat others that way–withholding grace or forgiveness because we’re a bit ticked off at the moment.  Again, we confuse the Creator with His creature.

Yet God cannot change.  In fact, the concept of change is absolutely antithetical to the attributes, the essence of God.  If we cannot find God, it is not He who has moved. It is ironic that, even within the Christian church, people often contrast the “God of the Old Testament” with the “God of the New Testament.”  Think about it.  The way we often discuss God is completely absurd.  The God who loves us enough to die for us is the same God who allowed entire peoples to be wiped from the planet, or allowed nations to conquer and enslave His own chosen ones.  These aren’t two different gods.  This is not a god who, over time, somehow grew in love and diminished in wrath and vengeance.  He is the immutable, self-sufficient, eternal, infinite, Creator God.  He loved perfectly then, as He loves now.  He hated sin thoroughly then, as He does now.

In the toxic atmosphere in which we live, it is the immutable God who constantly provides us the rarified air we need to survive.  He is our pole star, our true north.  Like the waves of the sea on which Peter walked, the vicissitudes of this life will always be around to throw us off-balance.  But when we grab the hand of God, which is always extended, the changes become less like overwhelming waves and more like ripples that make the surface of life a little more interesting, a little more beautiful.

Thought: how does knowing God’s immutability affect the way you think about and react to the craziness in your own life?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Elizabeth Janeczko
    Mar 01, 2010 @ 09:22:39

    So it is this idea of a never-changing God I find both comforting and terrifying. The same God who gave Job up to Satan could also give me and the things and people I love up to the same kind of tragedy for the sake of my character. It is, of course, satisfying to know that this same God also brings comfort, in the form of character, amidst such trials.
    It is also the never-changing God I find hard to explain to my friends who insist that the two Testaments of the Bible simply do not add up to one God of love. I understand their criticism to be rooted in lack of understanding. But I also realize whatever understanding I claim to have is little more than a simple act of faith, rarely wrapped in reasoning.
    I am torn; I can at times clearly see God, in love, mercy, and hope in Job, 1 and 2 Samuel, Jeremiah, etc. And I can see him in John, Phillippians, and Hebrews. And sometimes, I cannot. Sometimes my limited vision just can’t reconcile the God who abandoned Jesus to a cross, who allowed His followers to die horrific deaths, who took away lives of Job’s innocent children to the God of my Salvation.
    Ultimately, this is faith, the only act to really please God. And to know that I am fully known, and then will someday fully know, is what I cling to.

    Reply

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