Isn’t it amazing how quickly things all around us change all the time? There is hardly an aspect of life that you can consider that isn’t different today from what it was like a year ago. I’m sure much of the change in our own time has been pushed forward by the Covid virus. But the reality is that things are constantly changing whether we have a pandemic or not. I noticed this morning as I passed a gas station that the price of a gallon of regular gas had jumped twenty cents since yesterday afternoon. Go to just about any store of just about any kind and you will be amazed at how different it is today from what it was a year ago. Go to church on Sunday and you will likely notice the amazing amount of change that has taken place since the last time you were there. I sometimes try to imagine what it would be like if our grandparents could come back from the grave long enough to just spend one day in our home, going to a store and going to church with us today how they would react. Can you even begin to imagine what it would be like for those disciples of Christ that lived in the first century and went to church in a place like Corinth or Ephesus, if they returned today and went with us to church one Sunday. Can you imagine the confusion that would fill their minds? Can you imagine how we would react if we went back 2,000 years and went to church one Sunday in Rome with the first century believers in Jesus? Can you imagine what it might be like if we could drop back in one Sunday fifty years from now to visit a church we had worshiped with in 2021? I suspect we would be as shocked as the Jews from Jerusalem 2,000 years ago would be if they dropped in on us this Sunday.
As you think of that whole scene, let me remind you of some verses from the Bible that should be important to all of us. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” “I the Lord do not change.” “Wherefore we are receiving a kingdom that cannon be shaken so let us serve acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” “The word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any double edged sword, penetrating as far as to divide soul, spirit, joins and marrow; it is a judge of the ideas and thoughts of the heart.” When judgment Day comes, the standard of that judgment will be the word of God. Jesus told the people who heard him in John 12 that the very words he had spoken would judge them in the last day.
So, while there are worlds of things around us that change every day and many of them change more than once a day. We, personally, and as a group of people change all the time. If you don’t think so, get a picture from ten years ago and put it down beside one made this morning. Whether you want to admit it or not, it is obvious you and I change all the time. Even how we see things in life changes based on what is going on in our lives at any given time. I wonder how many times I have said something to the effect, “I will always believe that.” Or, “That is the way I will always see things.”
In a world of swift transition, it is vital that we keep clearly before us what is changing all the time and what doesn’t change and must not be changed if we are to be the people God calls us to be. There are tons of things that can change all the time and there be no harm or no foul. But there are also things that must not be changed if we are to be who God calls us to be. One of the reasons God told us the stories of the Old Testament was to try to get us to understand that while many things in life change with the circumstances that there are many others that must not be changed if we are to be God’s people.
I try to imagine what it must have been like for Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron when they came to burn their incense before the altar of God. They didn’t make a huge change. I am sure that if you had asked them they would have said it was a minor adjustment in how they burned the incense that God had commanded them to burn. Yet, God reacted to their disobedience with strong judgment that destroyed them with fire immediately. I imagine on that day when the Israelites were bringing the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and David was so excited that he was dancing around in joy at the scene, when the oxen stubbled and Uzzah reached out to steady the ark, he would have said, he was just reacting naturally to save the ark of God. But God had given a strong command that no one but the Levite could carry that ark or touch it. Even though Uzzah’s motives were pure, his action was one of disobedience to God and it cost him his life. David was frustrated. But the next time they moved the ark, they made certain to carry it the way God commanded and everything went great. But those were Old Testament events. Surely God doesn’t act the same way in the New Testament times. He has changed hasn’t he? Well, consider Acts 5 and the story of Ananias and his wife lying about their gift to the church. When Peter confronted him about his lying to the Holy Spirit he fell dead immediately. Later when she came in and lied all over again she likewise fell dead on the spot. God took the whole matter of lying to the Holy Spirit of God very seriously then and I assure you, he still does.
It is vital to make a clear distinction between the things that are changeable and be willing and ready to change in those areas all the time. But be clear that God doesn’t change. Jesus doesn’t change. The Holy Spirit doesn’t change. the Bible or Word of God doesn’t change. Change what is alright to change and don’t fuss about it. But if it is one of God’s unchangeables leave it as it is. Don’t try to play God! You nor I are built for it.