Andy B explores Exodus 32 v 7-14 and digs into what God changing His mind is all about. Taken from Something 4 Sunday LITE, Series 3, Episode 1
So let's just turn to verse 14 of chapter 2, Exodus 32, verse 14.
"And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people."
And sometimes you think about this verse as being 'and the Lord changed his mind from the disaster'. And I was thinking, well, what does God changing his mind look like? And I thought about this as a little bit of a picture for you. 'Cos God is God. God is not someone who, who is indecisive or unsure. He's not a social media god. He's not determining what He thinks, or what He feels based on our feelings. He's not changing what's He stated through scripture, because of social media likes. If He gets 1,000 likes, it's not gonna make Him believe something more or less.
So why would God relent? Why would God change His mind, which is often the phrase that accompanies this verse? And I thought about this as an example, imagine you're driving in your car, and you're going from your house to a restaurant, and you're driving along here in the UK, a motorway. You're in lane 1, 'cos you're a good driver, and somebody cuts in front of you from your left hand side. We drive on the left hand side the right, so it forces you to the right to lane 2 of the motorway. Well, you've just relented your position in the lane. You're in the same car, you're the same person, you're still going to the restaurant, you're still on the same road. The only difference is you've changed your position. You haven't changed your mind. You're not indecisive. You've reacted to something and you've changed what you've been doing. And this is the example I thought about of God changing His mind, relenting. He isn't indecisive. He hasn't suddenly had a brainwave 'Ooh let's do it this way instead.' That's not God! What He has done is he's reacted to something that's coming along. He's relented His position. He's angry at His chosen people. They've done something utterly dreadful. They've turned their back on Him. And He gets angry and someone intercedes on their behalf, and God relents, changes His mind, responds to the situation in front of Him, acts within His own way, retains His mercy, His justice, His goodness, and He relents His anger, because the people have turned away from their anger.
Now if we go to 2 Chronicles, 7, no 2 Chronicles 7, 14. A well known piece of scripture was struck me quite well for this.
"If my people who are called by my name, humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
And there's relenting here too. 'If my people repent', say, sorry, turn away from the bad stuff, 'then I will relent, I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin.' And that's what God does when we say sorry to him.
Now we're looking at Unanswered Prayer. And one of the things we need to be clear on is we can't force God to do what we tell Him to do. Prayer is often spoken of as God says, Yes, God says, No, God says, Wait. Well, God isn't indecisive. Sometimes we pray, a bit like Daniel did, an angel appears straightaway. Sometimes we can pray for years, and maybe decades, and finally we'll see a response. Sometimes God uses our prayers to change our hearts so we turn more. I always talk about us reconciling to God.
Unanswered Prayer is a really tough one to talk about, or think about. But one of the simplest things we can do, in maintaining our faith, our belief in Christ, in God, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is to ensure that when we're praying, we are right with God. So that between us and God, there's nothing that we know of that's blocking us. So we repent, we say sorry, we turn around from the evil stuff so, when we're praying, God can hear our prayer. Now, that doesn't give you a guarantee. It's not like, well, I've said sorry to God, and He hasn't done it, so it's a complete failure. That's not how it works. It's still God.
He frustrates the intelligence of the intelligence. Why? Because He's God. On his worst day, He's better than we could ever dream of. So, when we're thinking about Unanswered Prayer, let's make sure that we put ourselves in the right place with God so that, when we're praying, He can hear what we are saying to Him in groans, or petitions or whatever it is, or however you're praying.
And the other part about Unanswered Prayer is it can be really frustrating when we're praying and saying but this is a really good thing to pray for. And the scripture's actually got some great principles on how we pray. They're not guarantees. They're not formulae. But when we agree as a, as a people about something, God answers those prayers. Where two or three are gathered, God is there. So there are things that we can do to put ourselves in a right place with God before we pray.
As a family we lost a job. As a family we stood and said, God, we want this to end, we want a different way, we've put our hands is in your hands and it's not gone the way we thought it would. Please, we agree in prayer, would you please change the situation?' and within days are changed. It's not always like that! Sometimes it can take months, and years. So, when you're praying to God, and you're frustrated with your answer to prayer, don't relent praying. Keep praying! But make sure you put yourselves right with God. Make sure we put ourselves right with God, so we're in the best place we can be. It's not a guarantee. It's not a formula. But let's make sure we're in a right place with God when we come to Him, Almighty Creator, in prayer.
Written by The BerryBunch