The God whose hands laid the foundations of the earth and breathed life into man and beast, who brings out the stars one by one and calls each of them by name, who healed the sick and raised the dead when he walked among us… is the same today.
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
Every day, a preschool teacher I know has to remind children about washing their hands and putting their lunch bags away. Every day the rules are the same, yet she has to repeat them to the point where she states, “What I said yesterday still applies today!”
Teachers and parents often need to remind children. They forget things easily and need expectations to be repeated as they learn and grow. They also need daily reassurance that they are loved and cherished! Knowing that you are loved and that the boundaries will remain the same gives a sense of stability and comfort. Without this consistency, children can become anxious and uncertain. Both children and adults can become anxious when boundaries shift, and things change. Some people thrive on change while others do not like it at all!
The world is constantly changing. Technology, politics, currencies, relationships, educational goals and scientific theory change all the time.
One of the great things about God is that he is unchanging. Since the dawn of creation, he has remained the same. The God whose hands laid the foundations of the earth and breathed life into man and beast, who brings out the stars one by one and calls each of them by name, who healed the sick and raised the dead when he walked among us, is the same today. His love, his power, his reliability will never change. His plans and his promises remain the same as they were at the beginning of time. He is dependable. Nothing can thwart his power, and nothing can stop him from loving you. In part three of this series we were thinking about how important it is that we behave as our true selves, accepting God’s loving evaluation of us, but we can only accept God’s evaluation if we trust him.
The good news is that God has a history of trust! He wrote a book over several millennia to tell us who he is, how much he loves us and how he deals with us. The Bible is the story of thousands of years of faithfulness, showing how through generations, he has remained true and constant. His rules for living, (so that life might go well for us), remain the same. His word is unchanging. What he said yesterday, last year, or even a thousand years ago is unchanging. In Malachi 3: 6 he declared, “I the Lord do not change.”
Hebrews 13:8 says that he is the same “yesterday and today and forever”! The Greek word used here for “same” passionately affirms that he is unchanging. He is dependable, steadfast and reliable, meaning you don’t have to guess what he would say or how he feels about something, because he made it clear both when he was on the earth and through the writers of the Bible!
In the 1990’s there was a popular motto worn on wristbands known as “WWJD” which stood for “What Would Jesus Do?”, serving as a reminder to those who wore them to respond as Jesus would in any situation. It should not be difficult to know what Jesus would do or how he would respond, if we read the Bible!
In Hebrews 13 when the words “yesterday” and “today” are used in one phrase, the meaning portrays a sense of continuity. The arrangement of the words in the original Greek indicate that the writer was saying that Jesus is the same as he was in the past, right up to now and on into the future.
We can be assured that what God said yesterday, still applies today. What he said to you personally yesterday, or 5 years ago or 15 years ago, still applies. The promises he whispered to you long ago about your dreams and hopes, the reassurances he whispered about your anxieties, still apply. Maybe you are still waiting to see his promises fulfilled. Be reassured. His promises endure forever.
Joshua 23:14 says, “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.”
What he said about your worth yesterday still applies today. What he said about his love and forgiveness for you yesterday, still applies today. His death for you two thousand years ago, still applies and redeems you today.
Hebrews 9:28 tells us that “Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.” (The Message)
What he said about the future, still applies today. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
The rules for living he gave yesterday, still apply today.
I mentioned the preschool teacher at the beginning of this article. Another thing she often asks the children in her care is this: “Do you remember what I said yesterday?”
What about you?
Have you forgotten what God said yesterday? How do you remember what he has said to you and promised you?
Throughout the Bible God reminds his people of the covenant he made with them. The Jewish festivals which continue today, exist as a remembrance of God’s promises to his people, a reminder of their history and deliverance from Egypt, their journey to the Promised Land and God’s dealings with them.
How can we remember his promises? How do we remember what he said yesterday? There are many ways! One way is to read his word. His word is a rich storehouse of knowledge about him and the way he deals with man. I invite you to delve back into the Bible and read, read, and re-read! Don’t be afraid to scribble notes in the margins and to highlight favourite verses! God’s Spirit is longing to illuminate your mind with fresh inspiration and to show you “great and unsearchable things” (Jeremiah 33:3). As you read, ask him to show you what he wants to say. We are good at reading self help and “how to” books, and just about anything else, but we need to get back to THE book! It continues to be the number one bestselling book of all time (and has sold twice as well as Harry Potter books!)
Another way to remember what God has said to you is to keep a journal! Write down your thoughts and prayers, and what you hear God saying. It is so encouraging to turn to it and re-read it when doubt creeps in. It is helpful to look back on your journey through your journals and to see how the Lord has led you and how you have grown. You don’t need a fancy journal from a bookstore (although there are some nice ones!). Some of my entries have been on scraps of paper or whatever I can find, for when God speaks it is not always when you expect! Keeping a prayer journal in the notes section of your smart phone works too!
Another way is to tell another person. Sharing your story or experience of God with others is important. Often, we need another person to remind us of what God said, or to repeat a Scripture passage or verse we have been given when we have forgotten it. C.S. Lewis described a friend as “someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.” Having someone who knows your life verses and recites them back to you when you have forgotten, or your personal stories of God’s promises and faithfulness, is so important, as is being accountable to another person when we believe God has spoken to us. Sometimes it is helpful to share with others if we are unsure if what we heard was from God or not.
Sharing with your partner and family is a wonderful way to draw close to the Lord together and to pass on what you have learned to your children through family devotional times. Tell your children your God-stories! Remind them of God’s answers to their prayers. When my children were little, we kept an “answered prayer” book full of their own prayers, which was so encouraging and became part of their own God-stories. When I was a child, my parents always told us our “family story” of how each of us came to be part of our family and how God was at the centre of it all, providing the home my parents longed for, despite it being sold to someone else, the miracle of having children when doctors said it was impossible, the joy of many answered prayers and provisions for our family through the years. This story telling of God’s faithfulness through the generations of my own family had a lasting impact on me and helped to shape my faith. The truth is that we are all part of a bigger family story with a divine Author who is reliable, steadfast and dependable.
Remember, reflect and revisit the stories of his faithfulness from Abraham to Zechariah, from Genesis to Generation X (or Y, Z and beyond!) from 4000 BC to 2019 AD! You can be confident that God can be relied upon to be the same yesterday, today and forever. Where he has given rules, they are for our protection, if he has said no, it is for a good reason, if he has asked you to wait, he has a purpose. Our all knowing, all loving Creator and Father is as relevant today as he was in the beginning and shall be for ever. He wants us to live the best life, safe in the knowledge that He is all knowing, all seeing and all powerful to redeem, restore, protect and bless us with the abundant life he designed us to live in and through Christ!
Prayer: Father God, I thank you that in this ever-changing world, you remain the same. Thank you for your loyalty and faithfulness throughout all generations. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of my story and I am safe in your care. Help me to remember, reflect and rejoice in your faithfulness and to have confidence for the future because you are continually with me, steadfast, loyal and true. May your Name be praised now and forever! In Jesus Name, Amen.
Please click here for part five of this series.
If you would like new articles sent to you when they are published, please use the Contact page and provide your email address.