Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Malachi
“I the Lord do not change.” Malachi 3:6
The Book of Malachi is usually dated around the time of Ezra and Nehemiah as the Jews were returning to the homeland, so this would make Malachi a ‘post-exilic’ prophet. When you get right down to it, the Book of Malachi is all about the covenant relationship that the Lord God had with His people Israel. They were dispersed and taken into captivity because of their consistent breaking of their covenant relationship with the Lord, and now that the Lord has been merciful to them by bringing them back to their home, they are still abusing the covenant by allowing themselves to continue to be influenced by the pagan world around them.
They were inter-marrying; not tithing as the law had required them to do; the priesthood was defiled; the people defiled their offerings by bringing imperfect animals; and their worship was insincere and sporadic. The Lord was using Malachi to stir up the people by bringing God’s holy conviction of sin, which would lead them to repentance. Malachi is also filled with a number of messianic prophecies concerning the coming Christ, and even John the Baptist.
Obviously, if the people weren’t worshiping the Lord as they were called to do, then it would only be logical that they would wonder why the Lord was not blessing them! So, in their disillusionment with the Lord they fell deeper and deeper into their rebellion. This is where our verse for today finds itself – “I the Lord do not change”. It was the covenant promise made by the Lord from the very beginning to bless His elect people. So, despite their rebellion, the Lord would not destroy them.
This verse is speaking of the comforting attribute of the Lord God referred to as ‘the immutability of the Lord’, which refers to the Lord’s unchangeable character. This is a foreign concept to most of us because we don’t know of anyone who “doesn’t change”. And this ‘not changing’ does NOT refer to stubborn and inflexible people who need to make change, but refuse to do so. That kind of “unchangeability” is not a sign of strength and consistency, but rather of weakness, capriciousness, and inadequacy within the person. When the scripture speaks of the Lord’s unchanging character, this should bring great relief and comfort, because we know how changeable people are in general, which leaves us nothing or no one to count on; depend on; or trust completely.
We read in James 1:17 concerning the immutability of the Lord God: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” This ‘good and perfect gift’ is our salvation, so it is comforting to know that since the Lord has always worked through the principle of grace when it comes to our salvation, He isn’t going to change His mind by coming up with a new plan that we can’t fulfill.
There are a number of important theological reasons why the Lord God must be immutable in regards to His character. The first, has to do with change always occurring in chronological order. There must be a point in time before a change and a point in time after the change, so for change to take place, it must happen within the constraints of time, yet the Lord God is outside of time.
Secondly, immutability is necessary for God’s perfection. If he changes – then that means He either becomes better or worse, which contradicts perfection!
Thirdly, since the Lord God is omniscient, then He knows all things, so when someone changes his/her mind it is because they have acquired new or better information that was not previously known, which obviously, cancels out omniscience!
We talked about this concept or attribute of God in the key verse from Numbers. Numbers 23:19 reminds us, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind. Does He speak and then not act? Does He promise and not fulfill?” Our God is consistent; He can be counted on, thus He is dependable; which means that we can trust every promise the Lord God has made to us through His Word. We can truly rest in a God who said it, which settles it!