“For I am the LORD, I change not…” (Malachi 3:6a – King James Version).
Grandma Lessie kept me the majority of the time as a small child when my parents worked. In her front yard was a beautiful elm tree. It gave me shade, a place to climb, and a place to be alone. That elm tree and I grew strong and broad together. When fall came each year, that elm shed thousands of very small leaves, which we had to rake and burn. Switches for whippings (which I had much need of) were produced in abundance. Well into my manhood, the tree was cut down. A split down the trunk caused fear that the tree would fall onto Grandma’s house. I know I won’t miss those tiny leaves, and I definitely won’t miss the switches! However, the yard just doesn’t look the same anymore.
The fact that God is unchanging is a source of never ending comfort for me. I know that no matter how much technology passes me by; no matter how fads come and go; no matter what man may do, God remains the same. There is a saying that I have always wanted to put on a t-shirt; “God is…whether I like it or not.” When I am in need, God is God. When I am happy, God is God. When I hurt, God is God. It is no wonder to me that the Psalmist calls God a “refuge” (Psalm 46:1). He is! Whatever our situation may be, God IS God!
The tough part of that is that God is God, even when we are disobedient. We can rely on His unchanging mercy, but there is the reality of His unchanging justice.
In Malachi chapter 3, God is angry with His people. They sound very surprised. They ask God, “…But you say, 'What do you mean? How have we spoken against you?'” (Malachi 3:13 – NLT). God’s answer is clear; "But who will be able to endure it when He comes? Who will be able to stand and face Him when He appears? For He will be like a blazing fire that refines metal or like a strong soap that whitens clothes” (Malachi 3:2 – NLT). BUT, that is good news too! He tells His people, “…Now return to me, and I will return to you” (Malachi 3:7b – NLT). Even when men disobey, God does not change. We can return to Him!
That tree can never return. Its change is permanent. It’s gone. We, however, may change. We may alter our relationship with God through apathy and sin, but that never changes God. When we are split down the middle, God does not chop us down and throw us out, but waits like the father of a prodigal son. His mercy endures forever. He does not change. He is waiting, even now.
We can return home, and there is the possibility that much will have changed. We can return to God, and find He is still the same loving God that we left. Now that is comforting. Have you changed? Has your situation in life changed? HE HAS NOT! Will you let Him remind you of His unchanging love today? Return to Him, and He will return to you.