For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. Malachi 3:6
When RBC began, there was no Internet. RBCers didn’t have computers, vehicle airbags, smartphones (or even dumb phones!) The Redskins hadn’t yet won a Super Bowl. There was no Chipotle. There wasn’t even Starbucks, unless you lived in Seattle and were buying beans by the bag from an unknown little shop in Pike Place Market. It had been only a couple years since the Vietnam War ended. The U.S. was still 15 years out from the first Gulf War. It would be 26 years until 9/11 and 45 years until the Covid-19 pandemic.
Of course, the 70s themselves were a milestone of much change from decades before. But with the rise of the Internet and the connectivity we experience today, one thing’s for sure: if this world wasn’t already changing rapidly before, it is certainly getting to the point where if you blink, the world becomes virtually unrecognizable.
And yet, amidst millions of new businesses, countless technological advancements, unsettling cultural shifts and too many breathtaking tragedies, we as Christians can find comfort in the truth of Hebrews 13:8: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” The band Sanctus Real authored a new song called My God Is Still the Same that reflects this powerful truth, and we will sing it together this Sunday. The verses of this song focus on several elements that God used throughout the Old and New Testaments to show the unchanging nature of His mighty power.
The song begins, “Just ask the waves, if they are stilled at the mention of His name…” These lyrics take us back to the Sea of Galilee, some 2000 years ago. Luke recounts the story of Jesus calming a raging storm with just a few words. It’s easy to read this story in context but keep a mental separation between then and now. Yet, those are the same waters floating there today that were stilled at the direction of Jesus’ voice—and they are just as beholden to the sound of His voice today as they ever were. The stanza closes with the answer of the waves, who say, “My God is still the same.” We are then taken to a time where the intimidating walls of Jericho crumbled at the mighty sound of God-fearers, shouting in faith at the top of their lungs. “Ask the walls if they still fall at the mighty sound of praise.” The stanza closes with the answer of the walls, who likewise say, “My God is still the same.” We are later prompted to consider how effectively God hears the words of those who cry out in times of hurt and sadness. “Ask the words you prayed in desperation if they’re heard.” The answer: “My God is still the same.”
The last stanza ends with a consideration of the grave, a place that can feel so finite, so formidable to the unsaved human. “Ask the grave if it’s strong enough to keep hope in its chains.” Even the grave cedes to the Almighty, admitting that it cannot keep the believer in death: “God is still the same.” The chorus similarly proclaims truths about God’s consistent grace: He will never break His promise, never fail us, never lose His power, and never change His mercy. Not once. “Never has, never will.” Our God is still the same.
In Malachi 3, God speaks powerfully through the prophet: “’For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.’” Here, we have a stark and important reminder of our broken human condition in relation to God without Christ, and yet also a gracious reminder of how awesome his mercy is. Because He does not change, we are not consumed. Isn’t it amazing? Even in spite of our brokenness, even while we were still sinners …our God is still the same. Regardless of all the changes that have taken place since RBC began over 45 years ago …our God is still the same. And even as we face changes yet to come …our God is still the same.
As we gather this Sunday and sing praise to God, may we be reminded of His beautiful consistency and unwavering dependability throughout all of time. When the change around us seems unsettling or overwhelming, doubts and questions may arise in our hearts. Perhaps there are moments or seasons in which we relate with the rhetorical questions the song asks. “When did He break His promise?” “When did His kindness fail?” “When did He lose His power?” “When did His mercy change?” But when we sing this song together this Sunday, may our voices rise in worship to proclaim a resolved, unified response:
“Never has, never will. Our God is still the same!”