For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
I. HE IS UNCHANGEABLE IN HIS BEING. Change is impossible. Created and dependent beings have the law of development and decay in them; imperfect beings may become more 'or less perfect, but God, being separate from all these contingencies of existence, cannot change.
2. He is unchangeable in His attributes. All the excellences that He possesses He has possessed, and will possess, for ever. His creatures may understand them more or less perfectly, but there is no change in them. There can be no increase or diminution of His power, wisdom, holiness, love, etc.
3. He is unchangeable in His purposes. All His designs are from eternity. His knowledge and power being perfect, and His will having no variableness in it, there is no reason to suppose that any of His purposes have altered, or that any of them can fail. Nothing can be a surprise to Him, nothing can thwart Him, and nothing can suggest an improvement in His plans. When He is said to repent or turn aside from His purpose, it is to show us that He is not an impassive spectator in human affairs, and that men may expect to be truly blessed as they co-operate with Him in working out His holy will in the earth. History testifies to God's unchangeableness. His purpose to bless all men in Christ, like a thread of gold, runs through the ages.
4. He is unchangeable in the principles of His government. He reigns over the whole universe with calm and equitable sway. Intellectual beings, myriads of ages before this race peopled the earth, found His reign the same as we do now. He has ever been just and merciful, and ever will be. There can be no fickleness, no uncertainty, with Him. Those who maintain their original righteousness, or having sinned, accept of His mercy, are blessed, while those who obstinately rebel perish.
5. His unchangeableness does not involve fatalism, impassiveness, or necessity. His designs are the outcome of His wisdom and love; He feels deeply the condition of His creatures, making them conscious of His favour according to their obedience to His laws, and all His actions are free.
II. THE DIVINE INFERENCE DRAWN FROM THIS DECLARATION. "Therefore," etc. At first sight this inference is a strange one. He was threatening judgment; and the legitimate inference that might have been drawn from His unchangeableness was that they should be consumed. But instead of this He draws the opposite, reminding them that it was because of His eternal purpose to keep the seed of Jacob alive upon the earth, as a witness for Him for the world's sake, and not because of their faithfulness, that they had been spared. They had often merited destruction, but in His unchanging mercy He had remembered His covenant with their fathers, and His purpose to bless the whole race through them, and so they were not consumed. This is true of the Church now. Its sure resting-place is the immutability of God. It will abide, however evils may abound, scepticism darken, or superstition deprave. Consider, then —
1. That the continued existence of the Church does not arise from its faithfulness, but from God's unchanging mercy and purpose.
2. That as the continued existence of the Church arises from God's immutability, there should be in the minds of the members deep humility, fervent adoration, and ardent gratitude.
3. That as the permanence of the Church rests upon the immutability of God, there should be, in the members, full confidence in its stability and ultimate triumph.
4. That this should lead any who have wandered from the Church to return to its privileges again.
5. That it should make the enemies of the Church consider the futility of their attacks upon it, and repent of their folly.
(W. Osborne Lilley.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.