God Isn’t Tired: Thoughts on Psalm 121

If you were a “fly on the wall” in heaven, you would never hear God ask for a break. God’s workplace has no break room. OHSA’s standards of safety and work regulations do not extend to God’s home. Further, God owns no bed. He doesn’t pay attention to the TV ads about the “Sleep Number” bed. Nor does He wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

God never sweats. Though He upholds the universe at all times (Hebrews 1:3) and continually watches over sparrows (Matthew 10:29), He never perspires and His energy level never fails nor falters. You will never find Him grabbing a cup of coffee to caffeinate Himself. God doesn’t need anything to keep going. He doesn’t drink energy drinks like Red Bull or Rock Star. Why? Because God is a continual, never-ending source of energy. The Bible tells us that He has life in Himself (John 5:26). Everyone and everything receive their energy from Him.

I remind you of God’s work ethic because of what God does for His children. Listen to how the Bible describes God’s work on behalf of His followers:

I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 121:1-8).

obama-mccain.jpeg-1280x960During the 2008 United States presidential election debates between President Obama and Senator McCain, there was a great deal of talk about relying on foreign oil. That is, America has too long relied on power sources from foreign entities that do not like us. There was a major push to seek new energy sources and rely on natural resources inside the United States. But God is telling us to rely on foreign sources to supply us energy. Our power source is outside of us and it doesn’t come from “eating our Wheaties” in the morning. Christians serve by relying on a foreign power source, by relying on a wealthy energy philanthropist … God. When we rely on Him, there is no burnout. When we take energy from His wallet, there is infinite power. More importantly, when we lean on Him, we are humble and He receives the glory. The Bible continually reminds us how God loves to give His strength and energy to His followers (2 Chronicles 16:9; Mark 10:45). Indeed, He asks that we cast our every care upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).

Sleep is daily reminder from God that we are not God. Once a day, God sends us to bed and while we sleep, God handles the world quite nicely. Sleep reminds us that we are not in control. God is. God is the Great Worker. Not you.

Is God Really in Control?

Can you really feel that God governs even the smallest areas of our lives? Here is a selection of Scripture that displays God’s providence in the world’s affairs.

“…I will send swarms of flies on you and your servants and your people, and into your houses…” (Exodus 8:21).

“…I have commanded the ravens to feed you there” (1Kings 17:4).

“Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah…” (Jonah 4:6).

“…God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered” (Jonah 4:7)

“When He summoned a famine on the land and broke all supply of bread…” (Psalms 105:16).

“He gave them hail for rain

and fiery lightning bolts through their land.” (Psalms 105:32).

“He spoke, and the locusts came,

young locusts without number…” (Psalms 105:34).

“The lot is cast into the lap,

but its every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33).

“In that day the Lord will whistle for the fly that is at end of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria” (Isaiah 7:18).

“He changes times and season;

he removes kings and sets up kings…” (Daniel 2:21).

“…He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him” (Mark 1:27).

“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41).

“… and he upholds the universe by the word of his power…” (Hebrews 1:3).

 

Does God Change His Mind?

In reading through the book of Jonah recently, I encountered a problematic passage: “Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish” (Jonah 3:9). For my friends who are still using the King James Version, the text reads, “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” (emphasis added). The circumstances surrounding the Scripture is fairly straightforward. God has commanded Jonah to preach to the people of Nineveh, a town several hundred miles northwest of Jonah’s homeland. Jonah’s message is only five words in the original language but eight words in our English translations: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4b)! Remarkably, the citizens of Nineveh leave aside their violent ways for the time being and turn from their sin. Jonah’s message transformed the people of this city in ways that few could have predicted.

Yet, many people wonder if God changed His mind? The answer is simply no. God has never changed His mind and He never will. God is perfect in every aspect. If He were to change, He would have to change for either the better or for the worse. Neither are possible for God for it is impossible for God to improve on perfection. God doesn’t change as He is consistently constant for all of time (1 Samuel 15:29; Isaiah 46:9-11).

Yet, many serious students of the Bible would disagree. They would point to the instance where God added fifteen years to the Old Testament king of Israel, Hezekiah. Here the prophet Isaiah tells Hezekiah a message from none other than God Himself: “Set your house in order, for you shall die…” (Isaiah 38:1). After the king prays, God instructs Isaiah to tell Hezekiah that the king has additional fifteen years to live. Others would also to point to God’s conversation with Moses in Exodus 32:9-14. Here God informs Moses that He is fed up with His people, Israel. God was planning on venting His wrath on His people and starting over with a new nation. Yet, Moses prays and successfully “persuades” God to alter His plan. In both of these instances, modern day people conclude that God has changed His mind.

God makes promises and keeps promises. He delayed in judging Nineveh because His threat to judge proved successful for a period of time (Nineveh was conquered in 612 BC). In fact, had God desired to reign fire and brimstone on the city, He would have done so without warning. Instead, God sent Jonah into the city because He is a merciful God who is slow to anger (Exodus 34:6-7; Jonah 4:2-4). Had the citizens of Nineveh not stopped their violent ways, God would have indeed sent judgment.

God works out every detail of life according to His intricate plan. At times, His plan includes the prayer of Hezekiah to achieve God’s larger purpose where Hezekiah’s life is extended another fifteen years. Or, God’s plan includes the “reminder” of Moses of the situation at hand. In both cases, prayer was a part of God’s plan that changed the events of history. The prayers of believers today are an essential part of God’s ordering of the universe.

God plans the details of history just as He plans the very prayers from His people that change history. No, God has never changed His mind and He never will.