God of Change

It was only a few days before Jesus’ crucifixion, and the chief priests and elders of Israel were determined to create a way to kill Him. Although Jesus publicly exposed their hypocrisy, their false teaching, and even pronounced seven woes upon them, He did not bring instant judgement as they deserved. Jesus knew that many of his enemies were receiving grace which would soon change them into faithful believers in Him as Lord and Saviour (Acts 4:4; 6:7).

Sometimes we see change coming, but often, uninvited change just happens abruptly. Change will always be part of our lives by God’s design and administration. Although we often struggle with unpleasant changes, we need to remember that no change happens outside of God’s governance or His purposes.

In Matthew 21:32, Jesus confronted the chief priests and elders over their unwillingness to change saying, for John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him. Determined unwillingness to change for Jesus can have devastating consequences if allowed to play out to its ultimate goal. But in God’s grace, He perseveres with us to achieve His will, which always involves great change.

All of Scripture records that mankind is required to change their beliefs and behaviour for God, this is normal repentant faith-life, and it’s good. Personal change should be expected, it should be preached, it should be included in our gospel explanations and in all discipleship. Faith in Jesus Christ brings great changes, which we call sanctification. The Lord employs a variety of circumstances and events; medical, financial, employment, location, and relationship changes, to grow our faith and maturity in Christ.

Jeremiah 29:5-7 tells of Yahweh’s instruction to those under His discipline of exile in Babylon. Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their fruit. 6 Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7 Seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to Yahweh on its behalf; for in its peace you will have peace. Israel, like many of us, resented and resisted the changes God had forced upon them. Although they should have understood why, they had such a long and determined history of rejecting God’s instructions and warnings, that they were both blind and deaf to the preventative Word of God.

Again, grace prevailed, with God telling them to accept it and get on with living in a God honouring way. They were to proactively seek the blessing of their captors, the Babylonians, and in so doing God would benefit them, even returning them to Israel in the future. As if the trauma of being dragged off to a foreign land with every aspect of life forcefully changed was not bad enough. Now Yahweh says, seek the blessing of your enemy. This must have been like rubbing salt in the wound, the ultimate insult that would have gone against everything they felt.

But this is so typical of the Lord, and Jesus repeats the same lesson in Luke 6:27-28. May we accept change that is outside of our control as being used by God for His glory and our blessing. May we seek the benefit of others that can often only come through change (1 Peter 3:9).

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