Sunday, March 1, 2015

God Changed His Mind

God Changed His Mind
March 2, 2015
Numbers 23:19  "God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind.  Does he speak and then not act?  Does he promise and not fulfill?"

The Children of Israel were living in sin, egregious sin, and the Lord determined to wipe them out.  He had just brought them out of the land of Egypt where they lived as slaves, demonstrating His magnificent power to save.  They saw the might of the Lord, yet decided to live according to their own evil and selfish desires.  The Lord was so frustrated with their behavior that He began killing them off.  The Lord started killing them in droves, akin to genocide; His hand was moving quickly and forcefully.  Soon there would be none left.  Moses, upon anticipating the immediate outcome, stepped in front of the Lord and begged for clemency on behalf of the sinful nation.  Thankfully, the Lord relented.

In one translation of the Bible, it suggests the Lord changed His mind when He stopped killing them off.  Remember the Bible is translated into our language and does not always portray the verbiage perfectly.  Most translations of the Bible say that the Lord relented, suggesting that He was applying mercy or clemency in the specific situation, rather than changing His mind about killing them.  The Lord didn't actually change His mind, He applied mercy when it was requested.  If you want to understand this story of the Lord relenting when Moses stepped in and begged for clemency, you must read the entire Bible from cover to cover.  The Lord's original intent was to bring the Children of Israel into His lasting inheritance, the chosen people of the Lord.  When He relented from killing them off that day, it wasn't changing His mind; His mind was originally set on building them up, not tearing them down.  Their sin warranted the just and due punishment.  It was so severe, it deserved death.  Moses pleaded on their behalf and the Lord allowed them to live, granting mercy.

Fast forward two thousand years, give or take, and you find Jesus walking on the earth, with the goal of providing a way to cover over our sins.  Our sins are so severe, deserving of death just like the nation of Moses' Israelites.  Jesus, stands before the Father, asking for clemency on our behalf, showing the Father the blood that was shed for our sins.  The Lord relents from our just and due punishment, granting Jesus' request for mercy on our behalf.  The story of Moses interceding for the nation of Israel was a foreshadowing of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  Moses told them he would approach the Lord and attempt to make atonement for their sins, something only Jesus could perform.

Moses couldn't make the atonement perfectly, hence a few verses later the Lord told Moses that the people who had sinned, their names would be erased from His book.  This book is referring to the Book of Life referenced in the end of the Bible, when the Lord will determine people's eligibility to enter into eternity.  Any name can get written in that book if the blood of Jesus has been applied, or atoned, for their sins.  Moses wasn't able to stop the Lord from erasing names from the book, but Jesus can and does!  This story of Moses is a perfect example, a foreshadowing of the perfect Jesus Christ.

Our sins warrant the same punishment the Lord was handing out to the Israelites that day.  Thankfully, the Lord grants mercy when Jesus steps in on our behalf.  The Lord never intended for you and me to receive death.  His original plan was and has always been to grant us life and a future inheritance as His Children.  If it appears He is changing His mind, He is really granting mercy because of the request!  By the way, if you never request mercy, you don't get it.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Ex 32, Ps 69:28, Malachi 3:6, Romans 8:34, Heb 7:25, Rev 3:5

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