Page 7 - April 2019 - Truth & Tidings
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of turning” (Jas 1:17  KJV). The Lord’s   with God’s regret. To avoid confusion, he
        brother uses the example of the sun which,   makes the definite statement “for he is not
        from our perspective, moves, changes, and   a man, that he should repent” (v29), i.e.,
        even disappears for a time. James seems to   though it is the same Hebrew word, God
        be “declaring the ‘sovereignty of God over   does not repent in the same way that man
        the stars’... while they are always in motion   does. “The repentance of God does not
        he never changes whether in himself ... or   presuppose any variableness in His nature
        in his dealings with his people.” 2   or His purposes. In this sense God never
                                                                4
                                             repents of anything.” Repentance (Heb.
        Is there any sense in which          nicham), in this sense, expresses pain and
        God does change?                     anguish at man’s failures, for He has none

          Before concluding with a practical note,   of His own of which to repent.
        it is important to address the topic of the    How does it affect me?
        repentance of God. This concept is found
        in  1  Samuel  15:10,11:  “Then  came  the    The immutability of God not only con-
        word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,   firms His constant care but also the con-
        It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to   sistent outworking of His eternal purpose.
        be king” (KJV). What are we to make of   One thing learned quickly when you have
        the supposed discrepancy between this   a young family is your children’s need for
        statement and what the prophet says later   consistency in every aspect of their lives.
        in the chapter? “And also the Strength of   There is no difference when it comes to
        Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not   God’s  children,  and  perhaps  the  most
        a man, that he should repent” (v29 KJV).   comforting aspect of God’s immutability
        First, it is important to allow the chapter   is that it shows us He is a consistent God.
        to speak as a whole before we investigate   Consider this as you read Romans 9-11.
        individual words. The prophet is not   Complexities aside, the thrust of the sec-
        speaking haphazardly, making bold, con-  tion is the consistency of God’s word and
        tradictory statements without regard for   character.  Concerning  the  question  “Is
        theological congruity. At the beginning of   there a future for Israel?” Paul answers this
        the chapter (v11) he wants to emphasize   way: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as
        “the sorrow of the divine love at the rebel-  it is written, There shall come out of Sion
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        lion of sinners,” not the pain of a domestic   the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungod-
        policy failure. How do we know this? A   liness from Jacob: For this is my covenant
        definition of terms will help. The Hebrew   unto them, when I shall take away their
        word used for regret in verses 11, 29, 35   sins” (11:26-27 KJV). The covenant was
        is the same (it is also used in Genesis 6:6).   made. His word was given. His purpose
        This poses a problem for the nonchalant,   for Israel is consistent – the same today as
        casual readers our information-saturated   when it was spoken by Jeremiah over 2600
        era has created. It appears that Nathan   years ago. In the same manner, His word
        could see the reader conflating our regret   regarding your future will always be the
                                             same: “I have purposed it, I will also do it”
        ² Blomberg, C. L., & Kamell, M. J. (2008). James   (Isa 46:11 KJV).
        (Vol. 16). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
        ³ Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. The Keil   ⁴ Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. The Keil
        & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament,   & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament,
        1 Samuel.                            Genesis.

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