Praying to Change God’s Mind

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Have you ever wondered if it’s possible for God—an omniscient, never-changing being who exists outside of time—to simply change His mind? Well, Dr. Tony Evans says the answer might not be what you would expect. In this message on the life of Hezekiah, learn how it’s possible for God to reverse His decisions when prayer is brought into the equation.

 

 

faith must always precede site. Once you put site in front of faith, you’ve negated faith, faith is based on what you do not see. If you got to see it first, you won’t see it. Mhm The euphemism of walking in the bible means to live according to because you’re moving with the mind of christ, you’re not just doing that on sunday morning when it’s church time because he wants to know that you want him. So if you’re in distress, don’t let that drive you away, draw you near closer so that you like Jacob and say, I’m not gonna let you go until you answer me when you get close and want to live for him. Want to please him. Want to honor him. Want to exalt him. Want to draw near to him. Then heaven opens up and he lets you find, he lets you find welcome to the fire. God tells Hezekiah and second kings 20 it’s time to say goodbye through the prophet Isaiah, he comes and he says, God told me to tell you, set your house in order or get your affairs settled. Make sure your will is intact. Make sure your family understands that it’s terminal. There will be no coming back from this illness, you’re going to die. It is in this context that we read that Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and pray to the Lord, he was looking at Isaiah. But now when he heard the news from the prophet, he turned his face to the wall and the bible says he wept bitterly, He wept and cried like a baby to hear the bad news that there is no solution. And there really is no solution. If God said you’re gonna die because this came from God, God said it’s over. God said it’s get your affairs in order. What am I gonna do if God says it? Well, the only thing you can do is go to the God who said it, it says he turned his face to the wall and he went to God who decreed that it was over. So today I’m talking to folks who think it’s over, whatever over means for you. And if you’re not in an over situation, keep living, you’re gonna hit an over situation. A situation where it appears to be terminal, hopeless, no solution. And God is right in the mix. We’re told Hezekiah prayed And when Hezekiah prayed in verses three and 4, mainly verse three, he says, I walked before you, I was truthful. I gave you my whole heart and I did what was good? You know what? He gave God a credit report. He says, God, don’t you remember that I hung in there when other folk quit on you that I followed you and other folks ran away from you that I stuck to the truth and didn’t buy a lie. Don’t you remember? Look at my credit report. Now when he asked God to remember God does not have a memory issue, God doesn’t have a memory problem. Whenever you see people asking God to remember, it’s not because God forgets, it’s because they want God to pay special attention to it. God pay attention to this. I walked with you, live for you followed you. Now here I have to put a parenthesis because he’s not a perfect man. In chapter 32 verses of Second Chronicles versus 4 24 26 we’re told that he had some issues issue a pride and that pride got him sick and God says you this is it. But even though he had a flaw in his credit report, when you looked over the whole of his walk, there was spiritual consistency without being perfect on that day when you’re going to be in a terminal situation, what’s your credit report look like? He gives him a credit report. And he says, I have followed you. I have hung out with you. I have stuck with your truth. He turns to pray why? Because God will put us in situations where he is our only way out where there is no person you can talk to no deal. You can cut it says he wept bitterly. But he matched his weeping with his credit report. A lot of times we go to God with our tears without a good report and we wonder why he’s not responding No. He he had a great credit report. But he was in a terminal situation. So he prays and he cries out to God one day. If it has not come yet, you’re going to be I’m going to be. We’re going to be in a terminal situation. In other words, a situation we can’t fix and nobody else can help us. And the only out is God, you cannot decide on that day to change your credit report. You have to have built that up along the way because you’re gonna need to cash it in on that day. Hezekiah cries out to God, he says, this is my report and he’s crying for mercy. God then tells Isaiah Who had gone out into the middle of the court. The word of the Lord came to him saying verse five return and say to Hezekiah, the leader of my people. Thus says, the Lord God, your father. I have heard your prayer and I’ve seen your tears. No, you didn’t. I have heard your prayers and I have seen your tears. So the first thing is he prayed, he gave something, he gave God something to hear. And it included his credit report since I’ve heard your prayer. But I’ve also seen your tears. I’ve heard what you said prayer, but I’ve also seen how you feel. I’ve heard your words, but I’ve also read your heart. I’ve heard your speech, but I’ve also felt the depth of your pain. Let me tell you something about God. He’s emotional. We don’t talk a lot about the emotions of God, but we see it all in scripture. We see where God gets angry. The bible says the joy of the Lord so he can get joyful. The bible talks about God being pleased or being pleasured, loving the feeling that there are all kinds of statements about God feelings. You don’t just want to reach God’s ears, you want to touch God’s heart because he’s a feeling kind of God and he says I’ve heard your words but I’ve also felt your pain. What the bible says about jesus is he came to sympathize with our hurts. That’s a that’s a feeling thing. God just doesn’t want to hear you, he wants to feel you and nothing enhances the relationship. Like when what is said is also what is felt because when the words touched the heart, you got a thing going on in, he said, I’ve heard your words and I’ve seen your tears, I feel you what happened? He says, I will heal you on the third day. You’re going to go up to the house of the Lord meaning you’re gonna get your praise on you cry in the day, but I’m gonna give you a reason to shout three days from now, I’m gonna heal you. Wait a minute. It’s just a couple of versions ago he said you’re gonna die. But it was just a couple of versions ago and by the time Isaiah got halfway out in the courtyard God watch this now changed his mind. Oh Mhm Did you hear that? God changed his mind now, this puts us in a theological conundrum. The bible declares that God does not change. God says I am the Lord. That change is not jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. God cannot change. He says that over and over and over again in scripture. But what we just saw God change, he said, you will die. Thus, said the Lord a couple of minutes later, you will not die. Thus, Saith the Lord. So we went from a terminal situation to a 15 year reprieve and I was only in the center of a couple of minutes because I they’re just walked to the middle of the courtyard and the only thing that happened between what God said the first time and what God said the second time was a prayer full of emotion. That’s the only thing that’s happened. How can a changeless God, his in mutability change God’s characteristics, Mercy, grace, truth, love, holiness, righteousness, omnipotence, Omnipresence, admissions veracity. God has character qualities. Those character qualities are unchangeable. He will always be what he has always been. You and I go through changes. We’re not the same today as we used to be. God cannot change his essential nature. But he changed while God cannot change his nature, he can and does change his action. Let me say that again. God’s nature cannot change. But his actions may change. How then does God change his action without changing It’s nature since his nature cannot change, but his action, as in this case does change. So God changes his mind and he says, you are going to live, you are not going to die. He leveraged influence with God. So then please notice something else. I’m gonna deliver you verse six, I’m gonna give you 15 years. And when I give you 15 leers and deliver you, I will deliver this city from the hand of the king of Assyria and defend the city for my own sake and for the sake of my servant, David. Okay, watch this when you’re in a terminal situation and God changes his mind and reverse is something and give you a new lease on life, whatever that terminal scenario is, it’s not just for you. See, it’s not just for you. He says, when I give you this 15 years it’s not just so you can go out and party, I’m giving you this 15 years because I want to use you to deliver my people from the attack of the assyrians. In other words, I’m the only reason I’ve turned this array around is not only to give you life because I know that’s what you’re praying for, but I also want to give you purpose and I want to give you a new opportunity to do something for me. See most of the time when we’re in a terminal situation, it’s only about me myself and I and I want God to do something for me that is in my best interest and that’s okay. But it can’t be limited to you when God gives you a new opportunity, he wants you to be a blessing, not just be blessed. And that’s the problem with a lot of this blessing stuff out here today. I want to be blessed. I want to be rich, I wanted to have this, I want to have that. Which in itself is not a problem. Unless it’s by itself. Unless it only involves you see the prayer, you need to praise God. I’m in a terminal situation. I need to affect another part of your character. I need you to reverse this situation so that not only can my situation be changed, but so that I could be a conduit to change somebody else’s. So, if it’s only about you, then you’re missing. God said I got a bigger plan for you than just you live in 15 years. I want to deliver and I want to deliver the whole city from the assyrians. So then he tells Isaiah, take a cake of figs and he took them and laid it on the boil and he recovered, okay? So he’s dying from an infection. He’s got a boil that’s going to kill him, which means he has an infection running through his body. God tells the prophet, go get a fig cake, Put the fig cake on the boil to suck out the infection so that he could live. So God gives Isaiah, not the doctor a medical solution that has a kayak is the king so he can get any doctor he wants. But because this was a spiritual issue and not merely a medical issue, God comes up with a whole nother plan to heal him apart from the plan that the professionals would use because if the professionals could have used it, he wouldn’t be terminally ill in the first place. God is not against medicine. In fact all the medicine you use is birth from something God has already made. So so any doctors using any medicine has got to depend on something. God has already made to produce the medicine that we take for our illnesses, it’s nothing wrong with using medicine, it’s everything wrong with using medicine without God. Yeah, see it started with God, he got right with God, God said I’m gonna hear you then the medicine worked. So he, here’s a word from God Isaiah does to help a sick king. He puts the, puts the fig cake on him, it sucks out the infection and now he’s healed. But all Hezekiah has a question, he says this, he says What shall be the sign verse eight that the Lord will heal me. Okay? Now he was just told the Lord gonna heal him okay. But every now and again you need to see something, okay, I heard what you said, Prophet Isaiah, I heard what you said, preacher and I like kind of believe it. But part of me is from Missouri, you got to show me something signs in the bible were designed to confirm the word of God. God is not against confirming signs. He is against signs that are not saint with his word. So his word can be confirmed by a visual. So Isaiah says in the last couple of verses, he says, God told me to tell you this will be the sign and you get to choose. Do you want the sun to move forward 10 steps Or do you want the sun to go back? 10 steps translation. This is the first daylight saving times in history. Do you want to spring forward or fall back? God offers him a daylight saving time, he says, I’ll speed up the time or I’ll slow down the time you choose. As a guy says, well, speeding up the time, I’m not sure, I’m gonna buy that because that one looks too easy. That’s what he says, He said, Let me take the harder one. Let’s see you back up the time. Now they didn’t have watches and clocks, what we do, they have more sundials and ahab step was a sundial. So as the afternoon went on, the sun would roll up down the steps and it would expand as the sun got brighter. So when he asked for the sun to go back. He’s asking for a regression of time, He’s asking for the sun to do opposite to what the sun does, he says, because that’s the hardest thing. Now, here’s the question, why did God give him that sign? I mean, he could have said, I’ll just show you a sign or he could have given but he used the sun for the sign. Well, you remember now that the issue is Assyria is going to attack the name of the Assyrian God is a S. S you are. That’s the Assyrian God and he is the God of the Sun. So he gives him a sign tied to the ministry that he wants him to perform once he’s healed. In other words, it’s not just any old sign, it’s a relevant size because I’m gonna show you and the Sinai give you about your healing, that the job I’m getting ready to give you to take care of the assyrians, I can handle their God. And if I can handle that God, because that God is supposed to be the God of the Sun, but I’m gonna tell their God what’s gonna happen with the sun and they’re God’s not gonna stop me from doing with my son what I want done. So, so their God is going to know that when I come up and I show up there, God is not gonna be able to help them against you when you are healed, doing my will because I’m gonna beat their God. So all this was tied to a side. Yeah. And the bible says as the car said, let it roll back and it rolled back 10 steps. Time went backwards. God has you for a greater kingdom purpose and he wants to use you. Even if he allows a terminal situation, a situation that looks hopeless. So I want to challenge you as we wind down, here’s my child. Change your credit report. Change your credit report. Because when that time comes, you want to be able to say to God God look at my credit report. I haven’t been perfect. I have failed. But Lord I have picked up and I have decided to surrender to you to pursue a relationship with you. To love the Lord thy God with all my heart, my mind, my mind and soul to serve you and to serve others. God I am yours. I am yours. And the good thing about a credit report is that they will allow you to let it change. They’ll allow bad credit to become medium credit to become awesome credit. So no matter how bad your credit report used to be. Change your credit. So that when terminal day comes, you can offer God something he can respond to mm hmm. Have you ever needed God to reverse something? Things were going south and they were going south real fast. And you needed him to turn it around two put you in a whole different course. Taking north because you heard him going south. Well I’ve got good news. You can you can change God’s mind. You see God has a space in his dealings with his creation that allows for flexibility in his decision making. When conditions have been met a lot of times we’re headed the way we’re headed in negative realities because either we put ourselves there circumstances has put us there. Maybe even other people have put us there and he calls for a certain response and that response touch is another element of his character. Maybe he had to act in judgment or discipline or even wrath because of what we are dealing with at the time. But when we respond accordingly he can now attach our request to his loving goodness and mercy and grace and kindness and we need attached to that request to the other parts of his attributes. Then he can change his previously decided uh result because he’s relating it to another aspect of his being. So don’t let your circumstances define how things end appeal to God. The bible is full of gods reversals. The bible says that God repented for example, in none of our when Jonah preached and he repented and changed his mind about their destruction. But he repented because they repented when they shifted, he shifted so there is some fluidity with God, not in terms of his character but in terms of his methodology. So I don’t want you to throw in the towel. I don’t want you to give up. I know it may be bad. I know it may be challenging. I know it may be difficult, but it’s not over because if you will appeal to God and meet the conditions that he has set forth and faith obedience and prayer, you’re talking to him, you’re being honest with him and you’re sharing your request with him and then you trust him to change the direction. You will be surprised at how willing he is and how actually he’s excited he is To turn a 180 on you and move you in a whole different direction because of his mercy, his grace and his love and his willingness to respond to our obedience. God bless you. And you watch him turn it around for you when you’re in the spirit. But the bible calls the spirit a win a wind that blows my opinion. Nobody’s opinion when it conflicts with God is to be considered as truth. The bible says, let God be true and every man alive, Mother nature doesn’t work without daddy. God. That’s because truth. They are the just because if it comes from God, it’s true because God has absolute standard by which reality is measured. Mm hmm. I’m standing here in Alaska one of the most glorious places in God’s great creation. And I want to invite you to join me in our urban alternative family for the Alaskan cruise, we’re going to have a magnificent time in God’s word and in God’s creation, we’re going to enjoy great Fellowship, great fun, great food. And I’m looking forward to meeting and greeting you on r t u. A Alaskan Cruise Register to be there. Can’t wait to be with you.

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Tony Evans Dr. Tony Evans is the founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, founder and president of The Urban Alternative and...

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