“For I am the Lord, I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6, N.K.J.V.)
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17, N.K.J.V.)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8, N.K.J.V.)
These three verses all convey the same basic truth: God doesn’t change. However, we shouldn’t take this basic truth to mean that God never changes the ways in which He accomplishes His purposes. To the contrary, He is wildly creative and adaptive when it comes to bringing His will to pass.
We see evidence of this throughout the pages of scripture, particularly in the major thematic differences between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Here are a few of those differences:
- In the Old Testament, the hard times that come upon God’s people are typically the result of God chastising/judging His people because of sin. In the New Testament, the hard times are typically the result of God’s people suffering persecution simply because they are serving Him well.
- In the Old Testament, human warfare occurs frequently as God’s people get attacked and oppressed by enemy nations (the Egyptians, the Moabites, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, etc.). In the New Testament, the warfare turns much more spiritual in nature as God’s people get attacked and oppressed by Satan and the other fallen angels (demons).
- In the Old Testament, God grants earthly blessings as the result of obedience to Him. We see this in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, David, Solomon, etc. In the New Testament, treasure in heaven becomes the promised reward for obedience.
In his colloquial, Texas-country-boy way, football coach Bum Phillips once famously said of fellow coach Don Shula, “Don Shula can take his’n and beat your’n. Or he can take your’n and beat his’n.” That was Bum’s way of saying that Shula could make a winner out of any team regardless of who the players were. Well, the same thing can be said with even more accuracy about God. Even though He never changes in terms of His character and nature, He is a master at adapting His ways to fit any given situation in order to bring about His desired result.
Keep this mind the next time you ask God to grant a prayer request. Assuming that granting the request is His will at all, don’t try to put Him in a box as to how He does it. For example, if you have a legitimate financial need, feel free to ask Him to meet that need, but don’t attempt to name a specific way (e.g. “Lord, let me win the lottery”) by which He must meet it. Just make your request, have faith, and let God handle things His way. It’s been my experience that you’ll be surprised — dare I say amazed — at not only what he does but how He does it.