“God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” – Numbers 23:19.
Sometimes we unintentionally mix up God and people. It’s important to make sure that our view of God matches what the Bible says about Him so that we don’t falsely assume He reacts and acts like a person would. This verse in Numbers 23 tells us some crucial things about God: He does not lie. He does not change His mind. He keeps His word. He keeps His promises.
Those things alone would rule out God having any human qualities since there has never been a human who can do those things perfectly. If your view of God is that He might change His mind about you or He might not come through for you, you might be mixing God and people. People will inevitably let us down, even if they’re not trying to, but God the maker of all things who holds all power and might, now and forever, indeed does not waver and will never let us down. He is holy, perfect, and true.
That’s the main point of a story in the Old Testament Book of Numbers, which tells about how even a non-Israelite prophet was able to testify to the trustworthy and unwavering nature of God. We find the story in Numbers 22-24. In this passage Balak attempted to get Balaam (a “prophet-for-hire”) to prophesy what he wanted to hear. But for the first time in his life Balak (and Balaam) confronted the real God. Balaam tells Balak, “God is not like people, who lie; He is not a human who changes his mind. Whatever he promises, he does; He speaks, and it is done” (Numbers 23:19 GNT).
The point of the verse is that God’s truthfulness and unchangeableness guarantee the blessings of God’s people. God never says, “Okay, I want to do this,” and then he finds out some more information later that changes things. He never finds out more information. God has all information. He has all knowledge. God never says, “I’m going to do this,” and then something happens to Him and He’s no longer able to do what He promised to do. He’s never unable to do that which He plans to do, which he promises and purposes to do, That is the unique, unchangeable-ness and immutability of God and His word. We should praise Him for it and rest in it.
We are fallible, but God is not. He is perfect in all of His ways, and what He says is always true.
- Do you ever give God human like characteristics? When and how?
- How can the story of Balak and Balaam change how we view God?