Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: God's unchangeable character. Num 23:18-24; Gen 6:6.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: God's unchangeable character. NUM 23:18-24; GEN 6:6.  


Announcements opening prayer:



The birth of heathenism may be dated from the moment when the presumptuous statement was uttered,


GEN 11:4

"Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name…"


Nimrod, son of Cush, son of Ham is the founder of heathenism.


It is very remarkable, that neither nation nor tribe has ever been discovered which did not acknowledge and worship some superior being; and yet from the most savage barbarians to the most refined philosopher, they have all been destitute of the knowledge of the one living and true God. The only exception in the world has been that of Israel, to whom God specially revealed Himself; and even Israel required constant teaching, guidance, and discipline from on high to keep them from falling back into idolatry.


Idolatry is the religion of sight in opposition to that of faith. Instead of the unseen Creator, man regarded that which was visible.


Yet in every generation, unto every person, God has borne witness of Himself in many different ways, by means of the Jew and the Gentile.


NUM 23:18 Then he took up his discourse and said,

"Arise, O Balak, and hear; Give ear to me, O son of Zippor!


NUM 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent [change His mind]; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?


Balaam meets Balak's expectation that he will take back the blessing that he has uttered, with the declaration, that God does not alter His purposes like changeable and fickle men, but keeps His word unalterably, and carries it into execution. In other words, if God blessed Israel on one mountain yesterday than He blesses Israel from another mountain today, and this will continue into the next day and the next, unto eternity. A different day and different circumstances have no bearing on God’s immutable character nor upon His unchangeable promises.


The unchangeableness of the divine purposes is a necessary consequence of the unchangeableness of the divine nature.


We have seen that several times God was going to destroy Israel and then Moses interceded and God changed His mind. With our finite understanding of omniscience we conclude that He was testing Moses, and although that is undoubtedly true, there are still some difficulties. This doesn't get any easier for our understanding when God saw that man had become so corrupt that He repented from making man, using the same Hebrew word as with Moses in Exo 32.


God's love grieved over the sinful failure of man and repented:


GEN 6:6

And the Lord was sorry [repented] that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.


This verse has grieved many a theologian. Yet the grief of a perfect God who alone possesses eternal, perfect love cannot be understood by finite fallen creatures, even the regenerate, any more than repentance by an infinite, omniscient God, and so this repentance and grief are rightly termed as anthropopathisms.


Anthropopathism - attribution of human emotions and feelings to God. The attribute is correct but it is not of the human kind and so somewhat inscrutable.


Anthropopathism give us a glimpse behind the curtain into the person of God but not a clear view. We accept the attribute but realize it is not of the human kind.


We have to conclude that God has changed His mind and the way in which this works in the mind of an infinite, omniscient God is part of His way that is higher than our way, as the heavens are higher than the earth.


On a side note, could it also be said that as the humanity of Christ intercedes at the right hand of God, Himself being in time, and so controls history and who is constantly receiving prayers from His bride, who pray in His name for whom He mediates, that the events of time are changing according to His control and that the deity of Christ as well as the Father and Spirit, who are outside of time (without past or future) has seen these changes and has approved them, so that the prayers of the humanity of Christ and His human bride are actually making a real time impact on others and on human history?



When a person becomes born again and saved their lives jump to the eternity line though their existence is still in the bottom circle. They are given eternal life by God. God the Holy Spirit and the word of God give the believer the ability to grab hold of that life and walk in it while they exist in the bottom circle - time.


1TI 6:12

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called,


Jesus Christ at the right hand of God, in His humanity, controls the bottom circle through His intercessory ministry. Part of that intercessory ministry is the prayers of the saints that the Mediator, Christ, approves. So then, events in the history of the bottom circle do in fact change through the function of prayer, just as God's decision to destroy Israel in the desert changed through the intercession of Moses, but those changes are always allowed by the Father who is outside of time. So then we actually would not say that God already knew the prayer since in eternity there is no past or future, for there is no time, only perfect existence [mind melting idea]. Approving a prayer now is the same as approving the same prayer a billion years ago or a billion years in the future. Yet since time is our only reference to existence it is far easier for us to think of an eternity past and eternity future with time in the middle, but that cannot be the reality since God is not in time but transcends it. My point? Prayer matters. The idea of, “Why bother praying since history has already been decreed,” is a flawed logic. Why does Christ and the Holy Spirit pray for us if that is in fact true? With maturity we come to understand what things may be changed and what things cannot, like volition, and so we can pray intelligently and specifically through faith and we can know that God may say no or yes, trusting Him to understand the full impact, and waiting patiently on His timing. Take full advantage of your prayer life.


Though God may change His policies towards His people and the human race, God's character and His purposes do not change.


But we can say, because the word of God says, and not by any human deduction, that God's character and His purposes do not change.


ISA 43:13

"Even from eternity I am He;

And there is none who can deliver out of My hand;

I act and who can reverse it?"


Samuel used these very words to Saul when the kingdom was ripped from his hands.


1SA 15:28-29

"The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind."


These very words are put in Balaam's mouth.


NUM 23:20 "Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it.


When God has blessed, no creature can revoke it. Remember that when you are under persecution and again when you begin to doubt because of circumstances.


This message to Balaam, Balak, the Moabite and Midianite princes and to Israel below is that Jehovah is the one true living God and no one can undo or alter His will.


NUM 23:21 "He has not observed misfortune in Jacob; Nor has He seen trouble in Israel; The Lord his God is with him, And the shout of a king is among them.


God has observed periods of great sin among the people and has disciplined accordingly. Yet they are a called people and so God has not observed misfortune, which would refer to His abandoning them.


There are those Jews, who individually, will fail to believe in His promises and they will be judged, yet even these will enjoy the natural blessings to Israel so long as they live, whether they recognize those blessings or not, but they will not enjoy all the blessings of God's unconditional covenants.


Of all believing Israel, they will all return to the land under the rule of Christ during His thousand year Millennial reign.


To these people, though they are obstinate, God will not curse but bless. While there are curses to the individual who breaks the Mosaic Law, God does not curse the nation. He disciplines but always restores and His final restoration will come at the second coming of Christ. God is perfectly faithful to His own.


God does not look at the iniquity nor its result, but sees the fullness of His promise coming to fruition.


All of Israel, before they cross the Jordan to take the land, are going to hear this. Mixed with faith, this will sanctify God in their hearts.


The statement, "He does not look upon iniquity," does not mean that He doesn't see iniquity, but that He will judge it all on His Son in the future and He will continually teach this to His people.


They will lose their independence, the northern kingdom in 721 BC and the southern kingdom in 586 BC, yet this more shows the patience of God as well as His perfect justice. After the death of Joshua there will be much apostasy in the form of idol worship, yet God patiently warns them for almost 700 years, until the northern kingdom loses their independence, and 850 years until the southern kingdom follows suit. Yet, all Israel who believes the promise will return there under the reign of their King, Jesus Christ at His second coming. All who come to Him will not be disappointed.


NUM 23:21 "He has not observed misfortune in Jacob; Nor has He seen trouble in Israel; The Lord his God is with him, And the shout of a king is among them.


The "shout of a king" in Israel is the rejoicing of Israel at the fact that Jehovah dwells and rules as King in the midst of it.


Jehovah had manifested Himself as King, by leading them out of Egypt. He will always be with them and never desert them.


NUM 23:22 "God brings them out of Egypt, He is for them like the horns of the wild ox. [wild bull or buffalo or some extinct animal]


There is no word for "horns" in the original. "Horns of the wild ox" is a translation of one Hebrew word, re'em, which the KJV translates "unicorn".


God leads them with the strength of a wild ox or buffalo.


JOB 39:10

"Can you bind the wild ox in a furrow with ropes?


DEU 33:17

"As the first-born of his ox, majesty is his,

And his horns are the horns of the wild ox;

With them he shall push the peoples,

All at once, to the ends of the earth.


The wild ox not only leads but protects. All the powers of Satan and the KOD have been against them but to no avail because God is their wild ox. To Job God also uses the great sea monster Leviathan as an example, which monster represents Satan.


Leviathan by Gustav Dore

JOB 41:1

"Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook?

Or press down his tongue with a cord?


NUM 23:23 "For there is no omen against Jacob, Nor is there any divination against Israel; At the proper time it shall be said to Jacob And to Israel, what God has done.


The fact that Israel was not directed, like other nations, to the uncertain and deceitful instrumentality of omen and divination, but enjoyed in all its concerns the immediate revelation of its God, furnished the proof that it had its God in the midst of it, and was guided and endowed with power by God Himself.


Divination and witchcraft were the means employed by the heathens to interpret times and determines futures. God sends direct revelation to the prophet.