14 And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.
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Even in the larger passage containing the verse cited in the question, God indicated that He is capable of acting conditionally (that is, altering an intended action in response to changing circumstances), when He said to Moses in response to the people's sin and idolatry, "Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation." By saying "Let me alone", God was implying that, even if justifiably provoked to anger by sin, He was open to prayer, confession, and repentance with respect to carrying out the full extent of an adverse planned course of action (although there might still be negative consequences arising from the provocation, such as the death of those subsequently killed by Moses and the Levites). A similar situation arose with the people of Nineveh in response to the preaching of Jonah with respect to God's intention to overthrow the city. At that time, God used the allegory of the gourd that provided shade to Jonah as an illustration of His justification for not destroying Nineveh in light of their genuine repentance (Jonah 4).
No, it may seem that God does change His mind, especially from Scriptures such as 1 Samuel 15:29 and Malachi 3:6 where God says, "For I am the Lord, I do not change" Too, in Hebrews, God showed the "immutability of His counsel" (Heb. 6:17) by swearing an oath. But the passage in question suggests that God did indeed "relent" or "change his mind." I wholeheartedly believe that God does not change (James 1:17). Anything that changes does so in some chronological order. But God is eternal and outside time (John 17:5; 2 Tim. 1:9). See John 17:5 where Jesus said, "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." See also, 2 Timothy 1:9 where Paul says, " He [God] has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time." Therefore, there cannot be in God a series of before’s and after’s. But, if God cannot be in a series of before’s and after’s, then God cannot change, because change necessarily involves before and after. NG & TH
Yes, God does change His mind. When Johah preached to Nineveh and they changed then God repented. He changed his mind and did not destroy Nineveh. The word repent is the Greek word metanoia. It simply means to change your mind. When we trust Jesus for the free gift of eternal life, we repented. We changed our mind from unbelief to belief. We went from trusting in what we do to save us to trusting in what Jesus did to save us. So God repented. He changed his mind. He did not destroy Nineveh.
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