Amost interesting title is ascribed to God by Samuel - “The strength of Israel” (2 Samuel 15:29). Commentators differ widely in their view of its significance in this passage. Some of the suggestions are “The Glory of Israel,” “He that gives victory to Israel” and the Changeless One of Israel.” The last is a rendering in keeping with the thought of duration, which is one of the meanings of the word. The context is the story of Saul’s disobedience in the divine command in sparing Agag, and the consequent rebuke by Samuel, and intimation that “the Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee...” Samuel proceeds to emphasize the irrevocability of this judgment for “Strength (or changless One) of Israel will not lie or repent...”He is the Eternal, the Changeless One. He knows the end from the beginning; but in the outworking of His eternal purpose He sometimes appears, according to our human judgment to repent or change His mind. It is not He who changes but men. He does not deal with any as with automations, but according to their response to His purposes and grace. Saul had his opportunity and failed, but He was not denied his opportunity because God foreknew that he would fail. Because of that failure, however, God “repented” that He had set Saul up to be king. He withdrew the high privilege He had conferred upon Saul, but did not “lie or repent” in doing so. Something of the sorrow of God in the defections of
His children is conveyed by the word-- a sorrow nonetheless real because the defections are foreseen and foreknown.
This is another of the several titles which express the severity and goodness of God qs complementary aspects of His Character. How comforting it is to know that the Eternal is the Changeless One! But to the wayward, like Saul, it is an awesome realization that He knows beforehand the outcome of all our decisions and doings and has determined our destiny accordingly. Yet in His severity there is goodness, for all- like Saul- have their opportunity. No one is predestined by God to rejection. But HE IS NEVER TAKEN BY SURPRISE; NEVER CAUSED TO “REPENT” AS MAN DOES. HIS TENDER GRACE IS REVEALED IN THAT HE SEEMS TO REPENT. He truly sorrows in our failings and failures. But even divine grace has its limits. There is no escape. It is a judgment in accord with His Character as the Changeless One. Stern qs that word may seem to the guilty, it is nevertheless the foundation of eternal security; for if His judgments were subject to a whim, or to any of the considerations which sway our human reactions to facts and situations, then we could never be sure of our standing before God. But James declared long afterwards, with Him is “no variableness, neither shadows of turning.” Despite its context of judgment, therefore, this title ha qs its deepest note the comfort and assurance of those who “trust and obey.”
The Lord our Strength.
I pray you have a good week. Until next time...