Can I make God change his mind?
How often does God alter His mind? If He does, then what can I do to convince Him otherwise?
In a word, yes!
To which I said, “Yes, without a question.”
The general consensus of the group was “No, of course not. There is no way for God to reverse his decision because he is unchanging and eternal.
Looking through the Bible quickly, I found five verses that suggest He is immutable and four that show He actively changes His mind.
In the first place, the Bible teaches that God does not alter.
As the saying goes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Bible verse: (Hebrews 13:8)
You can’t attribute human traits to God; he’s not a liar and he doesn’t have mood swings. Does he talk but do nothing? Does he make assurances that he won’t keep? [From Numbers 23:19]
Since “he is not a human, that he should alter his opinion,” the glory of Israel never changes his mind or tells fibs. The Bible verses that use this phrase include 1 Samuel 15:29.
They have no respect for the Almighty, therefore God promises to listen and bring them low. (Psalm 55:19)
If God makes up his mind, it’s game over. (Psalm 110:4)
The meaning of these passages seems straightforward. But if God is unchangeable, how are we to make sense of the five biblical verses that indicate He has altered His position?
As a second point, the Bible records four instances where God deliberately modifies His mind.
- One time God warned Hezekiah he was nearing death and he should prepare for it, he did just that.
In response to God’s verdict, Hezekiah begged for more time. In response, God reversed His earlier decision and extended Hezekiah’s life by fifteen years. Fifteen years later, as predicted, Hezekiah achieved greater success.
Hezekiah fell seriously unwell and appeared to be passing away. In a visit from the prophet Isaiah, God’s word was delivered: “Get your affairs in order, since the Lord has decreed that you will soon die; you will not recover.”
Looking up at the wall, Hezekiah prayed, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you consistently and with wholehearted devotion, doing what is good in your eyes.” The king, Hezekiah, cried uncontrollably. (2 Kings 20:1-3)
Furthermore, God decided to alter his previous decision.
The Lord spoke through Isaiah, saying, “Tell Hezekiah that I have heard his plea and seen his tears, and I will cure him. You will visit the Lord’s temple three days from now. I’m going to extend your life by fifteen years. (2 Kings 20:5-6)
- The second time was when God told Ahab that He would kill him and that dogs would lick his blood off the roadway.
Elijah the Tishbite received the command to visit the Samaritan capital of Samaria and speak with King Ahab of Israel. Tell him, “This is what the Lord says: Have you not slain a man and grabbed his property?” Then you should tell him, “The Lord declares that on the spot where the dogs lapped up Naboth’s blood, the dogs will lick up your blood, too.” (1 Kings 21:17-19)
Ahab’s response to hearing this was to tear his clothing, don sackcloth, and fast. He walked around in a subdued manner. (1 Kings 21:27)
It was revealed to Elijah the Tishbite from the Lord, “Have you seen how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because of his selflessness, I will delay this catastrophe until his son’s generation. (1 Kings 21:28-29)
Sandals in hand, on the beach
- Third, when Zipporah, Moses’s wife, intervened on his behalf when God was planning to murder him.
The unusual and mysterious story of Moses and his wife Zipporah may be found at the opening of the book of Exodus. Just then, Moses and God had an argument regarding whether or not Moses should be the one to free the Hebrew slaves.
According to Exodus 4:14, “the Lord’s indignation flared against Moses,” therefore God dispatched Aaron, Moses’ brother, to act as a spokesperson. And so off they went to Egypt.
“The Lord confronted Moses and was going to slay him in a lodging site along the road. Zipporah, however, grabbed a flint knife, removed her son’s foreskin, and placed it on the soles of Moses’ feet. She remarked, “Surely, you are a bridegroom of blood to me” (referring to circumcision, dedicating him to the Lord). According to the Scriptures (Exodus 4:24-25)
That’s why “the Lord left him alone” — God had a change of heart (Exodus 4:26).
Be aware that the Bible never reveals the motivation behind God’s desire to eliminate Moses. It’s possible that God was angry with Moses because he didn’t observe circumcision, the sign of the Abrahamic covenant that distinguished the Hebrews from every other nation. God may have been upset with Moses because he disobeyed Him. But it was Zipporah’s fast thinking that ultimately saved Moses’ life.
- The time a Canaanite mother begged Jesus to cast out the demons from her sick daughter.
From there, Jesus retreated to the region around Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from the area approached him, pleading, “Lord, Son of David, take pity on me! “My daughter is afflicted by a demon and is in terrible pain.” Matthew 15:21-22
“I was sent exclusively to the lost sheep of Israel,” Jesus said (Matthew 15:24), indicating that the Gentiles were not yet the focus of His mission.
The Canaanite lady, however, “came and knelt before him. God, please help me, she cried out.
He said, “It’s not fair to throw the kids’ food to the strays.”
She answered, “Yes it is, Lord.” There’s a saying that goes something like, “Dogs will eat anything from their master’s table.”
Jesus, however, eventually had a change of heart.
Afterward, He praised her faith, telling her, “Woman, you have tremendous faith! Your wish shall be done. And right then and there, her daughter’s illness vanished. Those verses from Matthew 15:25–28.
Finally, what does the Bible say must happen for God to alter his mind?
A similar thread unites the efforts of these individuals who petitioned God to alter His course of conduct and received a favorable response from the Almighty.
- First, try to maintain a holy and blameless lifestyle.
The Bible says that those who have a good heart will be able to see God. Scripture Reference: Matthew 5:8
For sure, this is a must-have. God, according to the Bible, cannot listen to our petitions if they come from a sinful heart.
Just like Hezekiah, we need to be able to testify to God about our upright conduct. In the alternative, we must do what Ahab did and seek God’s forgiveness and a new way of life.
That will make God happy, and it will provide the groundwork for the prayer that will convince Him to change His mind.
- Maintain a low profile in God’s eyes.
“God thwarts the arrogant but favors the meek.” Proverbs 3:34
A prideful person has “a inclination to glorify self, to climb above others, to disguise our weaknesses, and to pass for more than we are,” as pastor and theologian Charles Finney put it. Founder Daniel Webster defined pride as “inordinate self-esteem; conceit; extravagant exhibition.”
Which brings me to my own definition: As the saying goes, “Pride is an excessive preoccupation with oneself.”
When our pride causes us to care more about ourselves than we do about God, it’s hard for God to alter His mind.
But when we put Him first and sacrifice our own wants, He hears us. We “learn to walk gently” before Him, just as Ahab did. We, like Zipporah, show our belief that He is God by obeying His commands.
Only if we prioritize Him above all else will He reconsider His position.
- Invoking sorrow, repentance, and/or fasting to show your sincerity in your plea.
Never before has there been someone like Ahab, who sold himself to do what was bad in the Lord’s sight after being encouraged to do so by his wife, Jezebel. His behavior was reprehensible, as he pursued idols just like the Amorites whom the Lord had previously expelled from their land in order to make way for Israel (1 Kings 21:25-26).
Is it possible for you to fathom how much Ahab’s acts enraged God? The Bible describes him as the very definition of evil.
However, God did pardon Ahab when he pleaded with him. On our knees, in our tears, we beg God to reconsider His decision. Forgiveness and honesty in the heart are what move him to action.
This Canaanite woman’s deep repentance and unwavering faith swayed Jesus. She had complete faith in His abilities and kept pleading with Him to heal her daughter.
It’s time to pray and repent.
- Fourth, engaging in disciplined prayer and fasting, which “greases the gears” for God to alter His course of action.
A pastor friend of mine defined fasting beautifully: “Fasting is a personal choice not to eat for a period of time in order to focus one’s attention on prayer during an important moment in one’s life.”
To refrain from eating and drinking in order to focus on one’s spiritual life best describes my definition of fasting.
In today’s world, many Christians don’t even know how to fast. At least eleven spiritual benefits of fasting are listed in the Bible. The benefits of fasting far outweigh the challenges it might provide.
A desperate father brought his demon-possessed kid to Jesus so that the Lord might cast out the demon. The father informed Jesus that the disciples had attempted, but failed, to cast out the evil spirit.
When no one was looking, the disciples asked Jesus privately why they had failed. Jesus said, “This sort can emerge only through intense supplication and fasting” (Mark 9:29).
Fasting is a powerful way to demonstrate your devotion to God by demonstrating to Him that you are prepared to sacrifice your own comforts and wants in order to put Him first.
Never stop praying; this is the most important step.
While some may have given up after hearing of Hezekiah’s impending death, Hezekiah did not. He kept his mind and soul focused on God, praying over and over again. And finally, after all his prayers, God heard him.
Another person who exemplifies this trait is the Canaanite lady. She repeated her request for Jesus to cure her. Even after He told her to go away, she persisted in begging. She managed to capture and keep His interest despite his busy schedule… In addition, Jesus was able to cure her daughter.
I really enjoy Jesus’ teaching on constant prayer in Luke 18:1-8.
Next, Jesus used a story to teach his followers the importance of persistent prayer. He said, “There once was a judge in a specific town who did not respect God or his fellow man. In addition, a local widow continued coming to him with the request, “Grant me justice against my enemy.”
For a while he flat-out refused. At last, though, he told himself, “Even if I don’t fear God or care what people say, but since this widow keeps nagging me, I will see that she gets justice so that she doesn’t eventually come and attack me!”
And God said, “Pay attention to what the unjust judge has to say. If God hears the prayers of his people, won’t he deliver them from oppression? If he continues to delay them, how long can he keep it up? That’s right, he’ll make sure they’re given justice, and soon. But when the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the planet?
Can God be persuaded to change His Mind?
If you’re struggling to make sense of the seeming contradictions in these biblical verses, allow me to provide some possible solutions.
- Trust that God has everything under control, and give up stressing about the passages.
When the Bible seems to teach us things that are at odds with one another, I want to know why. That’s why I’m still in the classroom. But trusting God like a toddler is perfectly acceptable.
- Recognize that the passages exist and that you have no clue how to handle them.
In the same vein, this method works nicely too. There are many parts of the Bible that are difficult for us to grasp. Recognizing that our finite intellect can’t always grasp the limitless is an essential part of having faith.
- We should wait until we reach paradise and God reveals everything.
In the hereafter, I want to finally unravel many riddles. I’m curious if all of our questions will be answered at once when we get there, or if we’ll be so caught up in praising God that we forget everything else.
- If God’s ability to change His mind is consistent with His unalterable nature, then God has every right to be both unchanging and able to change His mind.
As for me, this is where I end up thinking about the issue. I have faith in His character because I know it to be stable, unchanging, and reliable no matter what comes His way. God, via Christ Jesus, also longs for a personal relationship with everyone of us.
Connections can’t exist without communication! As a result, I have faith that God hears and answers prayer. If our desire is consistent with His intention for our life, and if it represents His character, He will modify His mind.