March 14

Numbers 23:19 (NIV) 19God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

Balaam tells the heathen king that is trying to curse Israel, "Look, I told you before, and God doesn't change His mind. Israel is blessed! If God blesses them, I can't curse them!" Sometimes we wish God would change His mind. If we knew all His reasons, we would probably change our mind. Too often we think of God as we do man, and that is where we run into trouble. As Jacob said of Rueben, man is "unstable as water". Like a liquid we fit the container of our circumstances. But God never changes!

He has no need to lie. Since He is all knowing, He was never misinformed about any given situation. Being all-powerful, He never lacked the power to carry through on His purposes. Being everywhere present, nothing has ever escaped His attention or sneaked up on Him. He will not change His mind. The wonderful thing about that is we know He will forever accept what Christ has done in our place. He will never one day decide it wasn't enough. He will never demand more than what Jesus already did for you. He has spoken and He will act. Satan can never succeed with a surprise attack on Him. God has promised, and He will fulfill.

Balaam forgot his own words and later tried to get financial gain by tempting Israel into compromise. He may have reasoned that if they compromised they would then lose God's favor. Our minds can "reason" our way around what we know is true. God never changes! What He has said is the way it is. Don't try and figure a way around it.

Meditation: Why would I want God to change what He has said?

March 14

Matthew 18:33-35 (NIV) 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

After Jesus' exhortation on how to approach one who has sinned against you, He followed with a parable of forgiveness. The parable tells of a master forgiving an insurmountable debt. The master called his servant back and rebuked him for not giving mercy after being shown mercy.

Every one of us is a testimony to the mercy and grace of God. The parable shows that we should in turn be merciful to those indebted to us. Then Jesus gave a severe warning in the text for today. The heavenly Father will have us "thrown in jail and tortured" until we pay our debt. This is the same as Jesus' warning after His teaching the disciples to pray. "For if you forgive not men their sins, neither will your Father in heaven forgive you!" Forgiveness is expected of those who have experienced the forgiveness of God.

We find forgiveness in Christ's own grace within us. He was able to even forgive those who had betrayed and crucified Him. He realized they did not know what they were doing. Those who have offended us often do not realize what they are doing. Even when people intentionally harm us, we need to forgive for our own sake. The torture we experience often is the mental repeating of the offending party's words. Forgive for your own peace of mind.

Remember: Forgive because Christ forgave you when you did not deserve forgiveness. Forgive because it is Christ like.