Analogue switched to digital, the pin-up girl went from Farah Fawcett to Bo Derrick, Pluto lost its planetary status, and “Coke stopped being cola” (Merle Haggard). There’s an inevitability that things don’t stay put where we left them, which makes it all the more important why, at least one person, should stay the same. Immutable and immovable, across time and space, God, we all want to believe, never changes. God, we all want to believe, never changes.
Genesis 9:8-17 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Abraham didn’t sacrifice Isaac, a remnant from Sodom and Gomorrah was spared, Nineveh was relented upon and the Gentiles became honorary Jews. After the flood waters had receded, the ark had run aground, the animals had come out two-by-two and God had something to declare to Noah.
Why does God change?
Perhaps God had regrets.
God was a first time parent, figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
God is always moving towards grace.
We keep coming up with new ways to sin.
“A covenant differs from a contract,” says Scott Hahn, “almost as much as marriage differs from prostitution.”
Grabbing at forbidden fruit and complaining in the wilderness, we notarized the annulment. Molding a golden calf and refusing the commandments, we exercised the exit clause. Storing up treasures and being bad Samaritans, we signed the prenuptial agreement.
Since our choice to live contractually east of Eden, God has been on our trail, sniffing out holier and holier ways to be in relationship with us. Making unilateral covenants that bind us together, ratified in heaven and enacted on earth.
The hissing cockroach and the awkward Albatross, spider monkey and the spongy Hedgehog, the bowlegged adolescent and drooping Geriatric, the best you and the worst me. Were all included, all descendants of the Ark.
Why does God change?
Because if we won’t change, then God will in the name of love on our behalf. Because if we won’t change, then God will in the name of love on our behalf. Because if we won’t change, then God will in the name of love on our behalf.
The Bible is the recorded history of God’s relentless attempts to be our covenant partner. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jeremiah, and finally, the new covenant, Jesus.
Henry was the forgotten mut behind the shed. He had a raw neck where all the fur had been rubbed off from the chain that jerked him back into submission. He had a massive chest and powerful front legs from all the sprinted attempts to break away. And he had a gappy grin because he finally found freedom by grinding down the steel links with his now missing teeth. (Joyce Holladay)
Church, the “Hound of heaven” (Francis Thompson) is on the loose, chasing us back to the Garden of goodness where we live into our created intent, where “I will be your God and you will be my people,” where the end of the rainbow begins on dry ground.