“For I am the Lord, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. (Malachi 3:6)
It’s not a word we use a lot today, and many may not be familiar with its meaning, but one of the aspects of God’s divine character is immutability. God never changes. Because of the passage of time, many things change in our world and in our lives. Things and people grow old and deteriorate or die. Seasons change and the styles of today will give way to the new fashions of tomorrow. The names that grace our entertainment magazines today will be the forgotten stars of tomorrow, and eventually even your iPhone will become obsolete, as technology will improve with time.
God, however, will forever be the same. He is timeless and will never grow old. He cannot improve because He is already perfect. He cannot learn since He is omniscient, and because He is holy His judgment of what is right and what is wrong is eternally established by His very nature. God does not go out of style, and He cannot be irrelevant or behind the times. Because His position never changes, He does not leave us, but since the dawn of time civilizations and nations that once prospered by His grace have walked away from His precepts, distancing themselves from Him to their own detriment.
Our societal values in North America are in a wild state of flux. Like the dollar leaving the gold standard, our values have left the rule of God and have degraded, plummeting like a stone. Today people seem to want the right to live as they see fit, redefining right and wrong for themselves, without suffering the consequences of being wrong. In fact, in today’s relativistic culture, “wrong” is a wrong word! After all, to say one is wrong is to presuppose that there is a right, an absolute value by which right and wrong can be determined, which does not fit into the mores of a society that wants to be able to do whatever it chooses with impunity.
However, there are always consequences to decisions. If life should have taught us anything, it is that choices can cost us. America is making a choice. Make no mistake, nearly every indicator is telling us that our society is becoming more secular, leaving behind the eternal values God established in His Word to seek a new morality, predicated on nothing more solid than whatever might seem right to the individual at any given moment. The more I follow social media, popular culture, and hear people express their ideas of what is acceptable, it has become apparent, to me at least, that our culture has lost all sense of direction. There is no up or down, no consensus of right and wrong, and there is a great deal of intolerance toward anyone expressing a viewpoint that does not fit the politically correct agenda. In short, we’re in a moral and ethical mess of our own making.
Interestingly, sociologists and child psychologists tell us that children actually like boundaries (despite all apparent evidence to the contrary). While they may cry and fuss when they do not get their way, it is somehow inherently understood, even in the mind of a child, that boundaries are placed in life to protect us. They create security and demonstrate love. We wouldn’t think of tolerating a parenting style that removed all protective boundaries from our children, and yet it would seem that when it comes to God we see his boundaries and prohibitions as archaic, restrictive conventions, no longer suitable to our progressive times. Lifestyles choices of all kinds are deemed a healthy form of self-expression, and what one does is their “own business” so long as they not “hurting” anyone. Yet, we should know better. Our actions have consequences, and regardless of whether we like it or not, our actions affect others.
If there is no truth, no absolute, no right or wrong, then there should be no consequence for our trading God’s law for one of our own making, and yet anyone with both eyes open can see that our society is more violent, more divided, and more morally destitute than ever before. Things that used to be universally understood as wrong and evil are championed from the highest levels of society and deemed by the masses to be laudable and praiseworthy. We think nothing of profaning the sacred and hallowing the unholy. In fact, Isaiah could have been talking about this generation when He said, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
The thing about truth, however, is that it is like God. It never changes. It is immutable because it comes from God. Thus, what works and what does not work, is not negotiable. What is right and true does not and cannot change to conform to the whim of any man. It is either the rock upon which a solid life can be built or the stone that will fall in judgment upon the willful and impenitent.
There will come a time when many will see that abandoning God for one’s own way exacts a heavy toll. Such was the case with the prodigal who came to himself in swine filth, and yet returned home to find the welcoming father right where He had left Him. Such was the case with the communist bloc nations of the last century that embraced secular socialism, shut their doors to God, and were plunged into seventy years of darkness. When at last they had had enough of poverty and oppression, many returned and opened their hearts to God and found He had not abandoned them, but stood ready to save, heal, and restore all who called upon His name. Such was the case with Old Testament Israel that repeatedly traded their Glory for idolatry, only to suffer greatly at the hands of their own choices. Still, God was ever merciful to the penitent, ready to send salvation to His people when they cried to Him for His saving mercies. And He is still the same today.
Because He does not change, we can know where to turn for forgiveness. Because He does not change, we can know that His love is inexhaustible. Because He does not change, we can know that His mercies are renewed every morning. Because He does not change, we need never fear that His grace has moved beyond the reach of the one whose desperate hand is extended heavenward for help in the time of need.