For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH —Romans 1:17
God never changes. That’s as comforting as it is sobering.
When we read 2 Chronicles 28, we discover the tragic life of one of Judah’s kings, King Ahaz. Ahaz should have known God doesn’t change. God proved it to two significant people in his life — his father and grandfather. Read 2 Chronicles 26. Ahaz ruled jointly with his father Jotham for a while. And earlier, Jotham ruled jointly for a while during the time of his father, Uzziah. So the lives of son, father, and grandfather were connected close enough for there to be a remarkable influence.
According to 26:5, Uzziah continued to “seek God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding through the vision of God; and as long as he sought the Lord, God prospered him.” Ahaz had opportunity to learn this precept. He should have recalled that God prospered Grandpa because Grandpa sought Him.
A generation later according to 2 Chronicles 27:5, Ahaz’s father Jotham fought with the king of the Ammonites and prevailed. In verse 6 we see that Jotham became mighty because he ordered his ways according to God’s ways. This was Ahaz’s second opportunity to learn about God’s immutable character.
With these repeated blessings on his father’s and grandfather’s obedience, you’d think Ahaz would walk obediently before God himself. But he didn’t.
Ahaz learned about God’s unchanging attitude toward sin the hard way, just like his grandfather. Although Uzziah started out well, once he became strong, he too forgot that God does not change. In his pride, Uzziah thought he could offer incense in the holy place. Uzziah forgot the day Nadad and Abihu were killed by God for offering strange incense to the Lord. What made Uzziah think a holy God would not judge him for going where only a Levite could go?
Uzziah forgot God doesn’t change. That prideful lapse of memory brought leprosy from God. (2 Chronicles 26:18,19). He died in this condition, unable to return to the palace for the rest of his life. Ahaz also had this example to remind him that God does not change! If God judged Uzziah who started out great but ended presumptuously in sin, shouldn’t Ahaz have known he couldn’t get away with it? Shouldn’t he have believed it?
Before the two armies invaded, God gave Ahaz a fresh opportunity to repent and renew his faith. We learn this from the prophet Isaiah, so let’s review through his eyes. In Isaiah 7:1, we read: “Now it came about in the days of Ahaz, the son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, king of Judah, that Rezin the king of Aram and Pekah the son of Remaliah, king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not conquer it.”
Rezin decided to attack the holy city, the city of Mount Zion, where God had put His name and temple. But as hard as his armies fought, they couldn’t take it. When the report reached Ahaz that the Arameans were camping just to the north, his heart and the hearts of his people shook like trees under a strong wind.
Ephraim and Pekah are coming against Ahaz and he’s trembling; and so are his people. They know they’re done for, finished. But the God who keeps His promises, who is not willing that any should perish, tells Isaiah the prophet to take his son and deliver a message to Ahaz — a message he needs to hear quickly (Isaiah 7:3).
Isaiah says two things to Ahaz: I want you to meet my son Shear-jashub — which means “a remnant will return.” In the very introduction, God gives His Word. The introduction of Isaiah’s son comes with the promise — all is not going to be lost. There’s going to be a remnant: a remnant will return. “Take care and be calm, have no fear and do not be fainthearted because of these two stubs of smoldering firebrands” (Isaiah 7:4). It doesn’t matter that Ephraim and Pekah have planned evil against you — they won’t succeed!
Have you ever had somebody tell you they’re out to get you? They are going to level you? They’re going to get you fired? They are plotting against you? Maybe you’ve had children or your spouse turn against you. This is exactly what’s happening here. What does Ahaz do? What should he do? What should we do?
We should realize that because God doesn’t change, He is our hope — the anchor for our soul in the midst of crises.
Beloved, God calls us to live (and endure) by faith (Romans 1:17). Those who come to God are required to believe not only that He is but that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Without faith, we read in the same verse, it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). After we do His will, living by faith, we receive His promises (Hebrews 10:36).
Are there ways you’ve been turning to the wrong sources for answers and success instead of turning to God? I want to assure you that God will hear and respond to your cries to Him.
When Isaiah reminded Ahaz of God’s promise to David, he introduced him to his son. In fact, God had told Ahaz “a son” would be the sign of his enemies’ destruction (Isaiah 7:14-16) and of the coming of another Son, the Son of God — the Son that would be raised up to sit permanently on the throne of David. “A virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel.” In Matthew 1:23 we see that this Immanuel is Jesus — God with us!
Here’s your assurance: we now have that Son, Beloved, so we have a surer, more precious promise than Ahaz had. The Word of God says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
All things? Yes, Beloved, YES! So here is the answer. God never changes. He can be believed. He can be trusted because He has given the ultimate gift of His Son, and with Him comes all things. Because He’s given you His Son and His Son is in you, you have God’s promise — He’s with you and will never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)
I don’t know what’s going on in your life, Beloved — the trials you’re facing in your marriage, your job, your family. We all have our own. Stop and ask yourself: Does God change? Can He be believed?
Know this, Beloved, not because I say it, but because God’s Word proclaims it: the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, the Eternal Father is the One and only unchanging being in your life. You can always trust Him to act in character according to His holiness and His Word.
So live accordingly. Believe it. Look to Him and be saved…and be safe! For “if you will not believe, you surely will not last” (Isaiah 7:9b NASB).
Discover and spend time with our glorious King, beloved. Get into the Bible and discover Truth for yourself.
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The Romans Series begins March 17, 2014.Learn about the righteousness of God and understand the bondage of sin in Paul’s life-changing letter to the Romans. Study how God’s solution to man’s sinful dilemma through justification by faith in Jesus and the free gift of grace. Understanding these essential doctrines will strengthen your faith!
I’ll never forget his face—the gravity of words haltingly spoken from one so young. He was just a child, yet shouldering the blame of being unaccepted, unwanted, rejected by both his birth parents and numerous foster parents who kept sending him back. “It was my fault they didn’t want me. I guess I just didn’t know how to be good.”
I will never forget my first Christmas as a Christian. I was 29 years old. Before then I was hopelessly lost. Raised in the church, I had a religion but not a relationship. Raised to be moral, in my disillusionment and loneliness I became immoral. I actually raised my fist, cursed God and said, “I am going to find someone to love me.”
Where do you turn when you’re in distress? Where do you run when you’re troubled? Or seek counsel when you’re gripped with worry?
Last time, we read that beautiful, touching and oh so desirable commendation found in Matthew chapter 3 verse 17 where the Father said, “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” We talked about those precious words coming to Christ before He began His formal ministry. How could this be?