Deuteronomy 16 – 29
After Israel’s exodus from
God promises to be faithful towards His people and destroy their enemies so long as the Israelites are faithful to Him. This is a constant theme throughout Israel’s journey to the promised land, God because jealous of Israel’s infidelity and is filled with rage until Moses pleads with Him on behalf of the Israelites. God “changes” His mind and decides not to carry out justice on the Israelites, but rather show grace. Is it possible for God’s mind to be changed, so much so, that a plea from Moses is enough?
Sometimes our language doesn’t do enough justice to the actions that transpire when God is involved, even the mere idea God is God seems simple to understand but impossible to imagine, what does ‘God’ even mean. Moses consistently pleads on behalf of Israel, and it appears he consistently “changes” God’s mind. However, God’s mind cannot be changed because He is omniscient, so then what exactly is at play when Moses prays to God?
Before Moses speaks God knows what he is going to say (free will discussion pinned for a later post) and threatens to bring judgment upon Israel all the same. He allows Moses to pray and listens to him, but perhaps He knew Moses would pray and that He would show grace once He threatened judgment and wanted these actions to take place and be recorded for the world to read. Why? Hell if I know, the last sentence was so meta that I’m still thinking about it as I continue writing.
Perhaps this message is to encourage prayer, God’s mind can’t be changed, but ours can which is what is required to repent. Wikipedia defines repentance as “the activity of reviewing one’s actions and feeling contrition or regret for past wrongs, which is accompanied by a commitment to change for the better.” Whenever we read about God’s mind changing this is preceded by Moses or man making a commitment or a prayer to repent which then causes God to “change” His mind from judgment to grace.