Theme: His Immutability and Eternity
In this week’s lessons we see what it means for God to reign over all.
Scripture: Psalm 93:1-5
As we saw in yesterday’s study, the first two verses of the psalm speak of the nature of God’s reign. We began our look at four characteristics of God’s kingly rule with the majesty of God and the power of God. In today’s study we look at two more characteristics of God.
3. The immutability of God. The third characteristic of God’s rule, which is also an attribute of God, is immutability. That is the proper term for what the writer means by “established” in verses 1 and 2. The second part of verse 1 says, “The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” Despite appearances, nothing is able to move or, even less, destroy God’s creation, but God himself. However, the only reason why the world is established is because God himself is established or immutable, which is what verse 2 is about: “Your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity.”
This quality is one that separates God from even the highest of his creatures. God is unchangeable, but no other part of creation is. If we think of the material universe, it is clear that it is in a state of constant change. And not merely in the cyclical sense envisioned by the Greeks, that is, that all things eventually return to what they were. The universe changes in the sense that it is constantly decaying or running down. Its decay may be spread over so long a span of time that it is almost unnoticeable by us, but it is nevertheless running down. The sun is cooling and will eventually die out. The abundant resources of the earth are exhaustible and will run out. Species have become extinct. Each of us matures, grows old and dies.
Nor is human nature immutable. On the contrary, it is restless and constantly changing. Jude speaks of the wicked as “clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted…wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever” (Jude 12, 13). No better illustration of the variableness of human nature exists than the inhabitants of Jerusalem who one week were hailing Jesus as their king (“Hosanna!…Blessed is the King of Israel!”) and the next week were calling out for his crucifixion (John 12:13; 19:15).
Ah, but God is unchangeable. And the characteristics of his kingdom do not change either. He rules as well today as he ever did, and he will rule forever.
4. The eternity of God. That leads to the fourth of the attributes of God mentioned in the opening stanza of Psalm 93, and that is God’s eternity. This is a difficult idea to put into a single English word, but it means that God is, that he has always been and that he will always be, and that he is everywhere the same in his eternal being. We find this idea throughout the Bible, from the book of Genesis to the very end. Abraham called God “the Eternal God” (Gen. 21:33). Just three psalms before this Moses wrote: “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Ps. 90:1, 2).
Revelation describes God as “the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6; see 1:8; 22:13). The angels that are before his throne cry out continually, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8).
What does this mean for us? It means two things. First, God can be trusted to remain as he reveals himself to be. He will be at the end of our days what he was at the beginning. He will not change his character or break his word. Second, God is inescapable. We may try to ignore him, but ignoring him will not work. One day we will have to give an accounting to him before whom all hearts are open and all desires known.
Why is God described as immutable? How is his creation described?
Contrast God’s unchangeableness with our changeability.
What two things does the eternity of God mean to us?
Reflection: Give examples you’ve seen of the variableness of human nature. How has others’ changeability affected you? In what ways have you not been consistent toward others? How does the truth of God’s immutability and eternity give you comfort and strength when times are hard and uncertain?