Appendix V: AGENT OF CHANGE
God is defined in Scripture as: eternal (always, before and after), omnipresent (in attendance everywhere), omnipotent (almighty, all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and invisible (unseen to natural eye).
God does not change; He is as He is (see Malachi 3:6-7). Despite our perceptions, God does not even vary enough to produce a shifting shadow (see James 1:17).
When God speaks, He expresses desire as a spoken word. God’s spoken word is the articulated expression that goes forth from His being, to reveal the intention of His mind and the desire of His heart (see Isaiah 55:10-11).
While God does not change, His spoken word is actually an agent of change. When God speaks, change happens. Scripture says the spoken word of God is not static or motionless—it is living and active (see Hebrews 4:12). God’s spoken word is described as spirit and life (see John 6:63), to those that receive them (see Luke 8:10-15 and James 1:21-25).
The spoken words of God are alive, active, and motion-filled expressions that reveal light and love (see John 1:1-4). When God expresses desire, an energetic motion proceeds from His being as a word and change happens.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:10-11).
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away [without accomplishing its intent] (Matthew 24:35).
When God decided to become a parent, He spoke and His word went forth and created a vast material universe of changing activity. Eventually the earth formed and took shape to become the place where God would birth and initially train His offspring to reflect and resemble Him.
You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands (Hebrews 1:10).
God created the heavens and the earth…Then God said… and God made (Genesis 1:1-3). (Verses 1-26 show the progress.)
The heavens are the work of Thy hands…thou wilt change them…but Thou art the same (Psalm 102:25-27 and Hebrews 1:10-11).
In the beginning of the time and space material realm, the word of God was with God as the spoken expression of God. In this capacity, the word of God is as God because God’s expression carries the authority of God Himself.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (John 1:1-3).
As the Eternal One’s agent, the creative word of God goes forth to bring into reality His expressed will. The spoken word makes known God’s desire by creating, revealing, making, and forming through processes of change.
The spoken word of God has come to mankind throughout human history in a variety of forms. God’s word reveals and manifests His will in time and space by appearing in whatever form is needed for a particular situation.
There have been times when God’s spoken word appeared as an angel, as a man, as a written message on a wall, as thunder and lightning, even as a series of events foretold by Daniel, Ezekiel, and John. The spoken word of God has been heard by men as a still small voice and as a thunderous sound (see 1 Kings 19:12-13 and Exodus 20:18-19).
Even the angelic hosts are sent as messengers to deliver God’s word (see Psalms 104:4 and Hebrews 1:7).
When Sarah was past childbearing age, God spoke and told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son. While this promised son was growing up, God spoke and instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son as an offering to God. Abraham proceeded to be obedient and do as instructed. When Abraham was ready to slay him, God in essence said, “Do not do what I told you to do” (see Genesis 22).
If Abraham did not believe that God’s word of instruction could change, he would have just obeyed yesterday’s word and slain his son. The word of God promised a son, instructed the son to be slain, and then spared the son from the death sentence. God’s word to us can and does change. We want to be obedient to what we hear today.
Centuries later, Abraham’s faith offspring was known as the nation of Israel (see Galatians 3:1-7, 14, 26-29 and Romans 4:1-16). God miraculously delivered them from Egyptian slavery and then led them through a wilderness desert.
For two years Israel supernaturally received daily supplies of water out of a rock, manna from the ground, quail from the sky, and even victory in war. They received the Ten Commandments, a system of worship, and guidelines for corporate life. It was an amazing journey!
When Israel arrived at the borders of the Promise, God instructed them to go in and take it for victory was assured. Israel, however, had not learned to believe that God would help them do as He instructed. Instead, they wanted to return to slavery rather than participate in warfare and establish the freedom God was offering.
As a result, God’s word to them changed. They were told to stay in the desert and die, for His promise would be fulfilled in the next generation. Realizing their error, they dressed for battle, went into the land, and were slaughtered (see Numbers 14 and Deuteronomy 9). Victory was no longer assured for that generation.
As with Abraham and Israel, the spoken word to us may change, depending on our response to His instruction. God’s word to Abraham changed because of his obedience, while the word to Israel changed because of disbelief.
We can hear and receive God’s word from any of the three forms that are available to us. We can read what God has said in the written word of Scripture (see John 5:39). We can observe the human example in the incarnate word of Jesus Christ (see John 1:14 and 1 John 1:1). We can also sense what the word of God is saying in the still small voice of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Kings 19:12-13 and John 15:26).
Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience [old Israel], He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time, just has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden you hearts…” Let us therefore be diligent [attentive, hardworking, and industrious] to enter that rest, less anyone fall through, following the same example of disobedience (Hebrews 4:6-7, 11).
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman…accurately handling [rightly dividing] the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
We want to be attentive to what God is saying today and become obedient to what we understand today, for tomorrow, His word to us may very well change. If we are not following what we hear today, we may not like what we hear tomorrow.
God sends His word to us as an agent of change. God’s word to us can bring change into our current situation and His word to us can change depending on our acceptance of what He said to our heart yesterday.
We want to stay sensitive to God’s words and attentive to what he is saying and doing today. Our unchanging God is an agent of change.
5. Way of Change Adjusts Us
(All Scripture quotes are from the NASB version)
There was once a man who had four sons. He wanted his sons to learn not to judge things too quickly. So he sent them each on a quest, in turn, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.
The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all returned, he called them together to describe what they had seen.
The first son said, “The tree was ugly, bent, and twisted.”
The second son said, “No, it was covered with green buds and full of promise.”
The third son disagreed; he said, “It was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing I have ever seen.”
The last son disagreed with all of them; he said, “It was ripe and drooping with fruit, full of life and fulfillment.”
The man then explained to his sons that they were all right because they had each seen only one season in the tree’s life. He told them that you cannot judge a tree or a person, by only one season. He said the essence of who we are and the pleasure, joy, and love of life can only be measured by looking at all the seasons.
If we give up when it’s winter, we will miss the promise of our spring, the beauty of our summer, and the fulfillment of our fall. We don’t want to settle for the season we are in because each change of season helps us to grow.
The Ways of God experienced in the culture of Christ are more than good ideas or values. They are processes that help us grow and mature as children of God. The ways of God are processes that mold and shape us into people who reflect and resemble the character, attitude, and personality of God’s heart.
The next four chapters (5-8) will continue to focus on our response to the guidance God provides for His children in the culture of Christ. Each of the Ways of God progressively leads us into greater levels of maturity as children of God.
Create and Make
God is the Eternal One who existed before the created natural universe of time and space. Since He created the natural progressions, He is not limited or contained by them. He does not grow or adjust by any progression.
- Because I have spoken, I have purposed, and I will not change My mind, nor will I turn from it (Jeremiah 4:24).
- For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed (Malachi 3:6).
While God does not change, His spoken expression enters into time and space to bring about change.
- So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it (Isaiah 55:11).
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