Monday, May 6, 2019

Reflection - God 'Repents' - Human vs Divine 'Repentance'

Source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 7, Question 3, Page 99.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


Reflect on the difference between human repentance and divine 'repentance'.
PHOTO: Reflect on the difference between human repentance and divine "repentance".
Human vs Divine "Repentance
While the word in the text of Jonah describing the Ninevites' repentance and the word referring to God's response are both translated in the KJV and RSV as "repent", they are in fact different words in Hebrew.

The word that describes the repentance of the people is shuwb. It is translated in the New International Version (NIV) as "turned from their evil ways: (Jonah 3:10). Shuwb means "turn from", and is often used with ra derek ("evil ways") to describe the common meaning of "repent". It is similar to the way the prodigal son "got up and went to his father" (Luke 15:20).

The word that refers to God's response, however, is nacham. This word is better translated as "changed His mind". It is not a change that comes about from a moral mistake, but one that comes in response to the Ninevites' repentance. Nacham is translated differently by other Bible versions:  "relented" (ESV), "relent . . . changed His mind" (NRSV), "changed his mind" (NLT), and "turn around . . . did change his mind" (The Message). Such translations help us avoid thinking of God as repenting in the usual sense of the word. But it still doesn't answer the question: can an unchanging God who has determined all things change His mind?


What does the word nacham say about what God felt when He changed His mind about destroying Nineveh, and what He feels about us?
A God Who Interacts with Us
The book of Jonah is primarily about the character and purposes of God. It present a God who hates evil, yet has compassion for sinners. To save them, God takes the initiative. Human beings make wrong choices that lead them to destruction, but God intervenes and gives them a choice to respond to His grace. And when they do so, He then responds in a merciful and compassionate way.

God's interaction with us can be summarised in this way:

  • God in His grace takes the initiative to save sinners.
  • Sinners respond to God's grace.
  • God in His Mercy responds to them.
There is one more point to note about this process. We've seen how the Hebrew word nacham refers to God's "change of mind". In some contexts, it also refers to a regret that bears emotional pain or sorrow, or a feeling of compassion (see Genesis 6:6-7). It suggests that the change in God's heart, in His relenting from destroying the Ninevites, came with pain. God was grieved by their sin and responded compassionately to their repentance.

God was grieved by the Ninevites' sin and responded compassionately to their repentance. We can understand this more profoundly when looking at the cross, where we see the result of what our sins have done to God. We brought Him pain and grief, yet Jesus could still pray for the forgiveness of those who put Him on the cross. Our forgiveness comes at a price, for "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22). French theologian Jacques Ellul, in his book The Judgment of Jonah, notes: "He takes upon himself the evil which was the wages of man's sin. He suffers the very suffering which in his justice he should have laid on man. God causes the judgement to fall on himself; this is the meaning of his repenting."


In what way is the cross central to God changing our destiny, from being objects "deserving of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3) to "objects of his mercy" (Romans 9:23)?
The people of Nineveh deserved destruction because of their sin, but experienced God's mercy. When they repented, He relented and forgave them, and their relationship with Him was changed. In a similar way, we deserve destruction because of our sinful rebellion against Him, which grieved and pained Him. When we respond to His grace given to us through Christ at the cross, He relents from punishing us. We cannot think that we deserve salvation just because we repent, or even think that our repentance automatically results in our forgiveness. No, something more profound is taking place when God forgives us and spares us destruction - the change in our relationship with Him comes from His heart; in His compassion He has changed our destiny, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

If we turn away from sin and wickedness and turn to Him in repentance, we will experience God's mercy. The writer of Hebrews wrote, "How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him" (Hebrews 2:3). God has taken the initiative to send us His message. He awaits our response, and He will act according to His unchanging purpose and character.

Creation of the offer of Salvation is the way the cross is central to God changing our destiny from being objects "deserving of wrath" (
Ephesians 2:3) to "objects of his mercy" (Romans 9:23).
Picture posted by Richard Murray, The Goodness of God
https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_r1ttTTJytc/XM7nyT0LjHI/AAAAAAAAtww/psxWg2a2T0o-BfLVgvKSU7UED3mKCTiFACLcBGAs/s1600/God-vs-Evil_1.png
http://www.thegoodnessofgod.com/file/God-vs-Evil.pdf
http://www.thegoodnessofgod.com/



Reflect on the difference between human repentance and divine "repentance". What does the word nacham say about what God felt when He changed His mind about destroying Nineveh, and what He feels about us? In what way is the cross central to God changing our destiny, from being objects "deserving of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3) to "objects of his mercy" (Romans 9:23)?

Reflect on the difference between human repentance and divine "repentance".
Human vs Divine "Repentance" [1]
While the word in the text of Jonah describing the Ninevites' repentance and the word referring to God's response are both translated in the KJV and RSV as "repent", they are in fact different words in Hebrew.



While the word in the text of Jonah describing the Ninevites' repentance and the word referring to God's response are both translated in the KJV and RSV as 'repent', they are in fact different words in Hebrew.

PHOTO: While the word in the text of Jonah describing the Ninevites' repentance and the word referring to God's response are both translated in the KJV and RSV as "repent", they are in fact different words in Hebrew.
Picture posted by 권요셉 on 20 January 2018

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-r4u6k4Jion8/XM7nvzef_UI/AAAAAAAAtwQ/R_x8TW0xZ3YbVNaAmB-fFvh2DPoEHjQewCLcBGAs/s1600/0feccd_a2205ad9da794c2aa1970864a2d81aa9%257Emv2.png
http://static.wixstatic.com/media/0feccd_a2205ad9da794c2aa1970864a2d81aa9~mv2.png/v1/fill/w_668,h_446,al_c,q_80,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/0feccd_a2205ad9da794c2aa1970864a2d81aa9~mv2.webp
http://www.atticofjoseph.org/single-post/wod20180121



The word that describes the repentance of the people is shuwb. It is translated in the New International Version (NIV) as "turned from their evil ways: (Jonah 3:10). Shuwb means "turn from", and is often used with ra derek ("evil ways") to describe the common meaning of "repent". It is similar to the way the prodigal son "got up and went to his father" (Luke 15:20).

The word that describes the repentance of the people is shuwb. Shuwb means 'turn from', and is often used with ra derek ('evil ways') to describe the common meaning of 'repent'.

PHOTO: The word that describes the repentance of the people is shuwb. Shuwb means "turn from", and is often used with ra derek ("evil ways") to describe the common meaning of "repent".
Picture posted by Rob Thompson on 1 January 2012
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-dHsGrt-P_gg/XM7nw7aRAmI/AAAAAAAAtwY/wwSGoJ9kbEgvQVpap6DLH_mMFzHVmkG9wCLcBGAs/s1600/37.bmp
http://spiritualsprings.org/images/book/37.bmp
http://spiritualsprings.org/ss-1394.htm



The word that refers to God's response, however, is nacham. This word is better translated as "changed His mind". It is not a change that comes about from a moral mistake, but one that comes in response to the Ninevites' repentance. Nacham is translated differently by other Bible versions:  "relented" (ESV), "relent . . . changed His mind" (NRSV), "changed his mind" (NLT), and "turn around . . . did change his mind" (The Message). Such translations help us avoid thinking of God as repenting in the usual sense of the word. But it still doesn't answer the question: can an unchanging God who has determined all things change His mind?
 

The word that refers to God's response, nacham, is better translated as 'changed His mind
PHOTO: The word that refers to God's response, nacham, is better translated as "changed His mind". It is not a change that comes about from a moral mistake, but one that comes in response to the Ninevites' repentance. Nacham is translated differently by other Bible versions:  "relented" (ESV), "relent . . . changed His mind" (NRSV), "changed his mind" (NLT), and "turn around . . . did change his mind" (The Message). Such translations help us avoid thinking of God as repenting in the usual sense of the word.
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania - God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their lawlessness. Lot and his daughters had faith enough to not look back. Imitate their faith! (Lot and his two daughters escape to Zoar but latter settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. At this place the two daughters drunk him and impregnated themselves by their father to preserve their family line.)

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-iFnc-fW07N4/Wi4_QiG9lAI/AAAAAAAAouQ/U0fdzeBq0mc2Pi5vdbPaJh21HgOT4yoGACLcBGAs/s1600/1102002035_univ_cnt_2_xl.jpg
https://assetsnffrgf-a.akamaihd.net/assets/m/1102002035/univ/art/1102002035_univ_cnt_2_xl.jpg
https://www.jw.org/tr/yayinlar/kitaplar/yehovaya-yakla%C5%9F%C4%B1n/adalet/tanr%C4%B1-adaletsizlik-yapar-m%C4%B1/
http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/2017/12/reflection-going-to-jesus-hopes-and.html
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/12/reflection-going-to-jesus-diversions.html



What does the word nacham say about what God felt when He changed His mind about destroying Nineveh, and what He feels about us?
A God Who Interacts with Us [1]
The book of Jonah is primarily about the character and purposes of God. It present a God who hates evil, yet has compassion for sinners. To save them, God takes the initiative. Human beings make wrong choices that lead them to destruction, but God intervenes and gives them a choice to respond to His grace. And when they do so, He then responds in a merciful and compassionate way.


 God takes the initiative.
PHOTO: God takes the initiative. Human beings make wrong choices that lead them to destruction, but God intervenes and gives them a choice to respond to His grace. And when they do so, He then responds in a merciful and compassionate way. God hates evil, yet has compassion for sinners.
Picture saved from Romany Fawzy

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-K0dFG5Qq1hU/XMmbl_8Zc4I/AAAAAAAAtuE/j9ojSz1E1F8C3AYaTvD8lS6DwEMnMYqowCLcBGAs/s1600/c7492ff637551804dc61e71a43ac1665.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c7/49/2f/c7492ff637551804dc61e71a43ac1665.jpg
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/550494754449131203/?lp=true
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2019/05/reflection-god-repents-god-changes-his.html



God's interaction with us can be summarised in this way:

  • God in His grace takes the initiative to save sinners.
  • Sinners respond to God's grace.
  • God in His Mercy responds to them.
There is one more point to note about this process. We've seen how the Hebrew word nacham refers to God's "change of mind". In some contexts, it also refers to a regret that bears emotional pain or sorrow, or a feeling of compassion (see Genesis 6:6-7). It suggests that the change in God's heart, in His relenting from destroying the Ninevites, came with pain. God was grieved by their sin and responded compassionately to their repentance.


The Hebrew word nacham refers to God's 'change of mind'.

PHOTO: The Hebrew word nacham refers to God's "change of mind". In some contexts, it also refers to a regret that bears emotional pain or sorrow, or a feeling of compassion (see Genesis 6:6-7). God is grieved by our sin and responded compassionately to our repentance.
Painting by James Van Fossan, 1964, Figurative realist painter
Picture saved by Andreea to God’s love

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-U0KZfh7B2OU/XM-c-2pXPoI/AAAAAAAAtxk/c6bn8YVxtr0KOauktz5xRZEsWdESKQvOgCLcBGAs/s1600/James%2BVan%2BFossan%2BTutt%2527Art%2540%2B%252827%2529.jpg
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LF_VeBCoIXg/VmIVWbQGfpI/AAAAAAAFMYc/D4-McUpAOwg/s1600/James%2BVan%2BFossan%2BTutt%2527Art%2540%2B%252827%2529.jpg - [James Van Fossan Tutt'Art@ (27)]
https://i.pinimg.com/564x/e9/55/19/e95519dbb41b0847ad8428095f8093dd.jpg
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/400679698096774463/



God was grieved by the Ninevites' sin and responded compassionately to their repentance. We can understand this more profoundly when looking at the cross, where we see the result of what our sins have done to God. We brought Him pain and grief, yet Jesus could still pray for the forgiveness of those who put Him on the cross. Our forgiveness comes at a price, for "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22). French theologian Jacques Ellul, in his book The Judgment of Jonah, notes: "He takes upon himself the evil which was the wages of man's sin. He suffers the very suffering which in his justice he should have laid on man. God causes the judgement to fall on himself; this is the meaning of his repenting." [32]

God was grieved by the Ninevites' sin and responded compassionately to their repentance.

PHOTO: God was grieved by the Ninevites' sin and responded compassionately to their repentance. We can understand this more profoundly when looking at the cross, where we see the result of what our sins have done to God. We brought Him pain and grief, yet Jesus could still pray for the forgiveness of those who put Him on the cross.
Picture saved by C H I N E U R to P R E N T K U N S T

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GB-Ivic7twU/XM7nzEhDTxI/AAAAAAAAtw8/uC3-qM9yy2odMNpIGGZobKKvkEr-XuXYQCLcBGAs/s1600/f153dbd84e0b6e9fd809ff74ad3150a9.jpg
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https://www.pinterest.com/pin/764908317935103417/



He takes upon himself the evil which was the wages of man's sin.

PHOTO:  "He takes upon himself the evil which was the wages of man's sin. He suffers the very suffering which in his justice he should have laid on man. God causes the judgement to fall on himself; this is the meaning of his repenting."
Picture posted by chrissib65, Deskgram - By His wounds we are healed #isaiah535, this is a tattoo by @bmerck_ink

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-bxS4FeCJkWA/XM-abMYt_GI/AAAAAAAAtxc/BVzELqkbWxk7lbK3e74YCzgJwx-iRue_gCLcBGAs/s1600/56806702_171841700474993_8062385120433504059_n.jpg
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https://deskgram.net/p/2025820778457381015_641723302



In what way is the cross central to God changing our destiny, from being objects "deserving of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3) to "objects of his mercy" (Romans 9:23)?
The people of Nineveh deserved destruction because of their sin, but experienced God's mercy. When they repented, He relented and forgave them, and their relationship with Him was changed. In a similar way, we deserve destruction because of our sinful rebellion against Him, which grieved and pained Him. When we respond to His grace given to us through Christ at the cross, He relents from punishing us. We cannot think that we deserve salvation just because we repent, or even think that our repentance automatically results in our forgiveness. No, something more profound is taking place when God forgives us and spares us destruction - the change in our relationship with Him comes from His heart; in His compassion He has changed our destiny, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.



We deserve destruction because of our sinful rebellion against Him, which grieved and pained Him.

PHOTO: We deserve destruction because of our sinful rebellion against Him, which grieved and pained Him. When we respond to His grace given to us through Christ at the cross, He relents from punishing us.
Picture posted by Leikela‏ @ladyraquel42 on 22 Apr 2019 at 7:45 AM

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WQWz-vDJjy0/XM7nyKQPXBI/AAAAAAAAtws/j_UC0aePwbAzAFcFgV0d3o1edJEoXJdowCLcBGAs/s1600/D4w9a8tXsAE5c6N.jpg
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D4w9a8tXsAE5c6N.jpg
https://twitter.com/ladyraquel42/status/1120337949101645826



We cannot think that we deserve salvation just because we repent, or even think that our repentance automatically results in our forgiveness.
We cannot think that we deserve salvation just because we repent, or even think that our repentance automatically results in our forgiveness.


PHOTO: We cannot think that we deserve salvation just because we repent, or even think that our repentance automatically results in our forgiveness. No, something more profound is taking place when God forgives us and spares us destruction - the change in our relationship with Him comes from His heart; in His compassion He has changed our destiny, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
Artwork by Mirella Santana, Digital Artist
Picture posted by alex on 08 March 2013
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If we turn away from sin and wickedness and turn to Him in repentance, we will experience God's mercy. The writer of Hebrews wrote, "How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him" (Hebrews 2:3). God has taken the initiative to send us His message. He awaits our response, and He will act according to His unchanging purpose and character.



If we turn away from sin and wickedness and turn to Him in repentance, we will experience God's mercy.

PHOTO: If we turn away from sin and wickedness and turn to Him in repentance, we will experience God's mercy. The writer of Hebrews wrote, "How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him" (Hebrews 2:3).
Picture posted by Jacqueline Rojas @jackierch on March 2019

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Creation of the offer of Salvation is the way the cross is central to God changing our destiny from being objects "deserving of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3) to "objects of his mercy" (Romans 9:23).



Creation of the offer of Salvation is the way the cross is central to God changing our destiny from being objects 'deserving of wrath' (Ephesians 2:3) to 'objects of his mercy' (Romans 9:23).

PHOTO: Creation of the offer of Salvation is the way the cross is central to God changing our destiny from being objects "deserving of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3) to "objects of his mercy" (Romans 9:23).
Picture saved by Mary Wheat Duvall to Don't have one
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God has taken the initiative to send us His message.
God has taken the initiative to send us His message.



PHOTO: God has taken the initiative to send us His message. He awaits our response, and He will act according to His unchanging purpose and character.
Picture posted by Playcast
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Dear Lord, we learn that there is a difference between human repentance and divine repentance
Dear Lord, we learn that there is a difference between human repentance and divine repentance


PHOTO: Dear Lord, we learn that there is a difference between human repentance and divine repentance. Human repentance refers to us turning from our evil ways, just like the way the prodigal son ‘got up and went to his father’. Divine repentance refers to God's response when He ‘relented’ or ‘changed His mind’. You hates evil, but yet has compassion for sinners especially when we repented. You are grieved by our sin and spare us from destruction because You readily have a change of heart and responded compassionately to our repentance.

We can understand when looking at the cross, where we see the result of what our sins have done to You. We brought You pain and grief, yet Jesus could still pray for the forgiveness of those who put Him on the cross. He suffers the very suffering which in his justice he should have laid on us. You causes the judgement to fall on Yourself, and create opportunities for us to be saved from destruction by responding to Your grace through Jesus Christ at the cross.

We cannot think that we deserve salvation just because we repent, or even think that our repentance automatically results in our forgiveness. Something more profound is taking place when You forgives us and spares us destruction - the change in our relationship with You that comes from Your heart. In Your compassion You have changed our destiny, through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Thank You for Your initiative to send us Your message of this offer of Salvation which we want to accept now, so that our destiny can be changed from being objects ‘deserving of wrath’ to ‘objects of your mercy’. We would like to accept Your offer of Salvation, so that we can be saved from destruction, and have joy and real rest for eternity in heaven together with You.

Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!

Artwork by Mirella Santana, Digital Artist
Picture saved from CGMeetUp - 60 Inspirational Digital Art by Mirella Santana Part - 2
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Reflection - God 'Repents' - Human vs Divine 'Repentance'
Question from source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 7, Question 3, Page 99.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012





Also from the same author, Robert M. Solomon

"Faithful to the end", A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon

'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon<br>



"Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, © 2016 by Robert M. Solomon

Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)



Reference
[1] From "God in Pursuit" Lessons from the Book of Jonah, Copyright © 2017 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-801-6, Part III: Jonah 3:1-10, Chapter 7 "God 'repents'", Page 92-93, 97-99.

[32] Jacques Ellul, The Judgment of Jonah, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2011), 99.


New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Ephesians 2:3 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+2%3A3&version=NIV

Genesis 6:6-7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+6%3A6-7&version=NIV

Hebrews 2:3 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+2%3A3&version=NIV

Hebrews 9:22 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+9%3A22&version=NIV

Jonah 3:1-10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+3%3A1-10&version=NIV

Jonah 3:10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+3%3A10&version=NIV

Luke 15:20 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A20&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-29&version=NIV

Romans 9:23 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+9%3A23&version=NIV