May 18 | Daily Devotion

May 18 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

Does God change His mind? Theologians wrangle over this question. On the one hand, hard-core Determinists believe that events and decisions are predetermined all the way down to the color of socks a person chooses to slip on for work. On the other hand, the Open Theists holds that the future is completely “open.” In their view, even God doesn’t know what will happen today because He is waiting for us to decide! Both views are based on a selective reading of Scripture.

In today’s reading is a classic example of the Lord changing His mind. God tells King Hezekiah to review his will, make his funeral arrangements, and say his last goodbyes. Upon hearing the ominous news from the prophet, Hezekiah pleads with God to remember that he has done what is right in His eyes. He asks God to change His mind. Before the prophet leaves the palace, God sends him back to Hezekiah with the message that his prayer has been heard and 15 years added to his life. Wow. As one of my friends often says about asking for hotel upgrades, “You won’t know if you don’t ask.” Hezekiah asked, and he asked with passion and persuasion. He begged. And God heard him. He got his upgrade, God allowed him to stay a little longer, to enjoy his family and his kingdom, because he asked.

It is clear that God was moved by Hezekiah’s prayer request and that He changed His mind. I think we must conclude that there are times when God, upon hearing the prayers of His people, decides to do something differently. (See Exodus 32 and Jonah 3 for other classic examples.) This assertion is a far cry from the notion that the entire future is up for grabs, that God is watching and learning the future as His creatures live it out. Never once in this story did God give up His sovereignty. In fact, He exercised it! He decided to respond to His child’s request![1] What encouragement! God hears and responds to the prayers of His people. If you feel like God has left you in a situation you do not like, don’t be afraid to ask for an upgrade. He doesn’t always say yes, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.

[1] God’s “knowledge” of the future is a complex theological and philosophical proposition. The assertion that God “knows” the future is not inconsistent with the command to pray passionately or to act responsibly. God can know future “good choices” (the choice to pray, for example) as well as “wrong choices.” He can know His own choices, including His decision to change His mind! Indeed, He knows all things, and, in fact, His mind is impossible for us to fully comprehend. Wow! “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” (Rom. 11:34).

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the Senior Pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.