Day 13 – Amos 7-9 and Obadiah – Does God change his mind?

Obadiah only has one chapter so I’m knocking it out today along with the rest of Amos.  We are at Day 13 and I’ve read James, Hosea, Joel, Amos and Obadiah.  Not bad at all.  Going to take a break from these prophets after today.  I need some New Testament hope.

Getting back to Amos and Obadiah….Chapter 7 really stood out to me.  I can’t help but focus on verses 3 and 6, “So the Lord  changed his mind about this….”  Here Amos is seeing visions of the future where God will destroy Israel. The first is destruction by locusts while the second is destruction by fire.  In both cases, Amos pleaded with God not to destroy the people like that.  God agreed he would not.

There’s something unsettling to me about the idea of God changing his mind.  I think of God as being constant.  I know the Lord transcends time so I think of God as never changing.  Perhaps that simply means the nature of God — the fact that he is love — never changes.  Maybe.  Or perhaps it means that God decides on plan A — in this case, destroying Israel because he cannot tolerate their sinful ways any longer — but he does not really want to do this.  He has to, but it doesn’t mean he wants to.  He is just waiting for one person to intervene and demonstrate selfless love for another by pleading for a change.

Although God must enact judgment on Israel, he doesn’t delight in death and destruction.  It pains him to know this is the consequence of their actions.  However, Amos steps up and prays for mercy.  God delights in mercy.  And so God moves to plan B.  Therefore, God was just waiting on someone — anyone — to intervene so he could move on to plan B.

Perhaps this is the way it is now, also.  Perhaps something terrible is happening in our lives — a medical diagnosis, a betrayal, a divorce, a death, financial ruin, whatever.  God does not delight in this.  He is just waiting, hoping, anticipating for someone’s prayer of intervention.  He is waiting for us to make the request so he can heal, mend, restore.

I know.  It doesn’t always work that way.  Sometimes God does not change the path of life for us.  But I cannot believe he actually changes his mind.  I would much prefer to think he is simply waiting for us to make our requests to him so that he can then change course.

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