Changing God's Mind

Lee DeYoung

READ : Exodus 11:4-10
Jonah 3:3-10

God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them . . . (Jonah 3:10)

During our study of the plagues in Exodus, a Sudanese evangelist in the class asked, “Did God not love his Egyptian children as much as the Israelites?”

God’s love is not rooted in ethnic favoritism. While some divine actions reflect promises God made to servants like Abraham and David, the key to his favor is obedience, not ancestry. Contrast Pharaoh’s response to Moses with the king of Nineveh’s reaction to Jonah. The Egyptian king stubbornly defied God’s commands. Moses was a strong leader whose words were powerfully persuasive. Pharaoh was an eyewitness to nine awesome plagues which should have prompted him to fear God. Yet hard-hearted Pharaoh rejected the Lord’s repeated command to “Let my people go.”

By contrast, Jonah was a reluctant prophet who grudgingly spoke a stark message, unaccompanied by plagues or winsome pleading. Jonah simply relayed a divine threat against sinful Nineveh—the fulfillment of which Jonah himself eagerly relished. Yet the king and people of Nineveh repented wholeheartedly in the hope that God might graciously change his mind and relent from punishing them.

Salvation is God’s work more than man’s. But anyone who sincerely repents can “change the mind” of God.

PRAYER

We praise you, Lord, for your sovereign work and willingness to forgive. Amen.