Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Does God Change his Mind?

There are people in church, people in bible studies who say flatly “God never changes his mind.” It makes me wonder if they read their bible. Throughout the Old Testament, God relents many times. Moses negotiates with God. Job negotiates with God. And here, Saul begs God to let him remain King of Israel and Samuel says in verse 29 that God does not change his mind like some mortal – and then, God relents and allows Saul to be King if he submits, exhibits obedience.

Saul goes on to be a pretty terrible king. God is exceedingly patient and merciful with Saul, and then replaces him with the fallible David. God is unchanging in one way – he is exceedingly merciful and patient with our imperfections, so long as we submit to him.

This is from today’s reading in The Lectionary:

1 Samuel 15:24-35

24 Saul said to Samuel, ‘I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25Now therefore, I pray, pardon my sin, and return with me, so that I may worship the Lord.’ 26Samuel said to Saul, ‘I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.’ 27As Samuel turned to go away, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28And Samuel said to him, ‘The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this very day, and has given it to a neighbour of yours, who is better than you. 29Moreover, the Glory of Israel will not recant* or change his mind; for he is not a mortal, that he should change his mind.’ 30Then Saul* said, ‘I have sinned; yet honour me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.’ 31So Samuel turned back after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord.

32 Then Samuel said, ‘Bring Agag king of the Amalekites here to me.’ And Agag came to him haltingly.* Agag said, ‘Surely this is the bitterness of death.’* 33But Samuel said,
‘As your sword has made women childless,
so your mother shall be childless among women.’
And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord was sorry that he had made Saul king over Israel.

OOps. This is one case where God does NOT change his mind. Today’s lesson says immediately after this scene, God tells Saul to go anoint a son of Jesse king of Israel; for a short while, there are two kings of Israel. . .

1 Samuel 16:1-13

16The Lord said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’

July 7, 2009 - Posted by | Spiritual

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