See also Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:9
Key Verse – “I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.”
God has promised us that He does not change. Although we were created in the image of God, we are subject to our emotions, our whims, and our sinful nature. Although God expresses emotion as well, He is not controlled by them. This was good for the Israelites as it is good for us. He will not become disgusted with man and destroy us in a fit of uncontrolled anger.
Instead, God is faithful to His promises. When He promised to never again flood the world, we know that He will never again flood the world. When God promises that He will judge sin and that the world will go through a time of tribulation, once again we know that He will not change His mind.
Does God lie?
Looking at Numbers and 1 Samuel we see it clearly stated that God does not lie. God cannot lie, because He cannot change. He cannot determine to do one thing and then do another. And He cannot say He will do one thing and then do another.
Does God change His mind then?
At face value, there are contradictions in God’s nature as we look at scripture – times when God does appear to change, or outright lie. Perhaps the most well known instance is the story of Jonah. God announced judgment on the Ninevites. The proclamation in Jonah 3:4 does not include any “escape clause” that God would relent if the people repented. Nevertheless, the people repented and God relented. Furthermore, Jonah knew God would do such a thing all along – which was his reason for fleeing to Tarshish in the first place. (see Jonah 4:2)
In every instance where God says one thing will happen and it doesn’t, we find that man’s response to God has changed – it is not God who has changed.
What other times can you think of when God appeared to have changed his mind?
If God were a God who changed, studying Him would be pointless. What we know about God today may be irrelevant tomorrow. What was written about Him in the Old Testament may have no value when looking at God in the New Testament.
We need to be particularly aware that God did not change His plan or the way he deals with man when Christ came to earth. Many see the God of the Old Testament as a God of wrath while the God of the New Testament is one of love. God did not change so we must evaluate whether man changed or if something else must be looked at. God’s love and wrath must be taken into account or else we get an incomplete and inaccurate picture of who He is. He was both in the Old Testament as He is both in the New Testament because we can be assured that He did not change.