James declares succinctly, “Ye know not what shall be on the morrow”. Yet one thing is certain in this life; there will be changes every day until the last great change comes. “For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away”. Surrounded by changes in the world, changes in the church and changes in our lives, it is most needful to be reminded of that which never changes.
Malachi was faced with wonderful, awesome, changes. “The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in:
behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” (3.1). The prophet was also faced with divine judgments against the wicked (v.5), and with apostasy amongst God’s people (v.7), but he was comforted by his God in words which are so precious and suitable in times of change. “For I am the LORD, I .change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” v.6).
Joshua faced new and great responsibilities upon the death of Moses, but his unchangeable God comforted him and exhorted him, “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage”.
Jeremiah, suffering and sad, was given strong reassurance and so was able to convey that message of certainty to an
oppressed and captive people, “The LORD hath appeared of Id unto me, saying. Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee”.
Our God is immutable, the new covenant of His grace unbreakable, the work of Jesus, our Saviour, most certain in its consequences, the church is redeemed and its future secure. No changes, however unexpected or devastating, can alter the certain purposes of our predestinating God. Even after the final judgment and condemnation of the wicked described in Revelation 20, the comfort of the new heaven and the new earth is expressed by this same theme of a divine unchangeable relationship between God and His redeemed church, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God” (21.3).
Changes often produce fears; the fear of the unknown, the fear of insecurity in new surroundings, the fear of new responsibilities or the fear of new relationships. Changes sometimes threaten to blot out from our minds the truth that our God changes not in His love, particularly when those changes appear to us to threaten His people or His church. It is then vital to realise the abiding truth of those oft repeated words, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”.
Many readers of Gospel Tidings will already know that the Editor is leaving Coventry after eighteen years as Pastor at Rehoboth Chapel, and is. God willing, to take up the pastorate at Forest Fold Chapel, Crowborough, from September 1st, 1983. This is a great change for all concerned. May God most graciously bless the church at Coventry with His peace and with the comfort of His unchangeable love. The great Head of the church on earth walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks and holds the seven stars in His right hand. His church is His beloved bride and His ministers are under His most wise direction. May the Holy Spirit help us to say with the Psalmist, “But I trusted in thee, O LORD, I said. Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand”.
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified… But the Lord is faithful who shall establish you, and keep you from evil”.
Since this editorial was sent to the printers, my dear fellow-helper, Mr. Kenneth Howard, has been taken ill with a heart attack. I am sure he will be affectionately remembered in the prayers of all our readers.