The Object Lesson – Vinyl, Compact Discs and Bluetooth
On this particular occasion, I played the same song for my congregation using three completely different pieces of technology. We used the Beach Boys song Surfin’ USA on a vinyl record, a CD player, and through Spotify on my phone.
The idea behind this lesson was how the circumstances might change, but the song remained the same. Vinyl records launched in 1930 and were completely analog. Compact discs were introduced in 1982 and featured lasers reading digital information. Spotify launched in 2011 and featured streaming music you didn’t need to own.
The technology is completely different. The way the song is played is completely different. The world has changed immensely in the 60 years since Surfin’ U.S.A. was released, but the song remained the same. Same words. Same melody. Same harmony. It endured despite the changing technology.
Bible Lesson – Unchanging God
Everything in our lives is constantly changing. Kids grow up. Businesses change their name. Our favorite vacation spot becomes too crowded. Erosion wears away at the face of rocks. Everything changes, except for God.
Malachi 3:6-7 simply tells us that God does not change. This is so important for the people of Israel to hear from Malachi because they have suffered through the exile and destruction of Jerusalem. They need to be reminded that even though their circumstances have changed immensely, God has not. In fact, Malachi says the only reason Israel still exists is because of God’s unchanging nature. He is still holy, righteous, and full of mercy. He will still punish their sins, and forgive those who repent. Israel might not look the same as it did under King David, but God is still the same God. He promised Abraham, Moses, and David that he would work thorugh the people of Israel to bless the whole world. God isn’t going to change his mind or break his promises just because the world has changed. He is faithful all the time.
This message is also important for us to hear. The world is constantly changing. Definitions of right and wrong seem to keep changing. What the world thinks is important is constantly changing. But God does not change. He is not less faithful today than he was 2,000 years ago. He is not less powerful or more vindictive than he was when the Bible was written. We can trust in God because of his unchanging faithfulness. God was perfect. He is perfect. He will always be perfect. This is why we build our life upon him and his promises.
Like the Beach Boys song, God and his message remain the same. No matter how much the world “moves forward,” God will remain steadfast.
Scriptures to Study and Use
Malachi isn’t the only scripture that speaks the unchanging nature of God. Here are some other passages you might use in your Bible study.
In the midst of this book of sorrow, Jeremiah tells us that God’s faithfulness and mercy haven’t changed. In fact, they are new every single day.
As trials come and go, we can depend on the consistency of God. He is the father of lights, not the shifting shadows.
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to remember and follow the faithfulness of those who came before us because Jesus hasn’t changed. He still responds to us the same way he did then.