The Immutability of God (Numbers 23:19)

“God is not man that he should lie, or a son of man that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”
– Numbers 23:19

Oh, these verses are a clear picture of the immutability of God, which means the unchangeable nature of God, and specifically his word. That which God says, God does. When God speaks, we can count on his word.

We are fallible, but God is not. He is perfect in all of His ways, and what He says is always true.

This Verse Encourages Us to Count on God’s Word

You know, I hope that’s true in my life, and my word is good. At the same time, I know, so assume the best of motives in me, or you for that matter, and we say, “Okay, I’m going to do this. I’m committed to doing this,” or, “I promise to do this.” It’s still possible, even when we mean that, like totally, for something to come up a month later, a year later, that totally changes the circumstance in a way you never saw coming, and you’re not able to do that.

Or maybe something happens to you and you’re not able to do that, something that was totally out of your control. So you were saying, “I’m going to do this,” but then something happens to you, and you are just physically not able to do that anymore, like you don’t keep your word. And it’s not even because you were trying to lie or sin. It’s just because, well, we are fallible. We’re not always true to our word. Even if we want to be, sometimes things totally out of our control keep us from doing what we intend to do, what we say we’re going to do. Never does this happen with God. Never. His word is always true. What God says, he does.

Numbers 23:19 Reminds Us that God Knows All

God never says, “Okay, I want to do this,” and then he finds out some more information later that changes things. He never finds out more information. God has all information. He has all knowledge. God never says, “I’m going to do this,” and then something happens to him and he’s no longer able to do … Like, nothing happens to him. He’s never unable to do that which he plans to do, which he promises and purposes to do, so see the unique, unchangeable-ness and immutability of God and his word, and praise him for it, and rest in it.

Just think about this as we pray. Oh God, what you have said you will do, we praise you for that reality. We praise you. Our hope is totally in you. Our hope is in how you are working out all things together for the good of those who love you and have been called according to your purpose. We are trusting in that, that everything we’re going through in our life right now, you’re working together for good.

Numbers 23:19 Praises God for the Truth of His Word

And we know that. We know that because you are always true to your word. You don’t change your mind. You don’t speak and then not fulfill, and not do what you said, so God, we trust you to do that. We trust that you’re working everything in all of history to culminate in your people experiencing your grace, forever and ever and ever. You’re wiping away every tear from our eyes, sin and sorrow no more, total victory, consummation of your kingdom, eternity with you.

God, we know. You’ve said that and you will do it. Your word is true, so our hope is sure. Our hope is steadfast in you. God, we trust in you. We trust in your word far more than we trust in our own word, far more than we trust in ourselves. We praise you for your unchanging nature and for your reliable words. Your words are totally reliable. We bank our lives on them today. We bank our lives on them for tomorrow, and the next day, and for 10 billion years from now, we’re banking on your promises still ringing true. All glory be to your name. In Jesus’s name we pray, Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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