Recently I saw a really interesting video somewhere on the internet, and in it were sculptures that looked like one thing from one angle, but another from a different angle, like this; giraffes, or elephants?
Anyway, perspective is so important, isn’t it. When we have big decisions to make regarding our future, maybe you’re thinking of your next career move, or maybe you’ve been presented with two options at the job you’re at now, should we add more children/dogs/cats/horses/giraffes to our family (or whatever you like to fill your house with!)…whenever we have decisions to make, we should consider another perspective than ours.
We should consider God’s perspective.
Outside of time as we know and experience it, eternal, knowing all there is to know, God’s perspective is infinitely different and greater than ours.
Does He understand ours? Of course.
Do we understand God’s perspective? No!
Think of it like this; do you understand why your children shout/cry/meltdown? Of course.
Do they understand why that is the most frustrating thing in the world for you? No!
Our perspective, in that instance, is far greater than theirs. Multiply that by the biggest number you can think of and we still don’t come close to the difference between how we see things and how God sees things.
7 This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, he was forming locusts when the latter growth was just beginning to sprout, and behold, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings. 2 When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said,
“O Lord God, please forgive!
How can Jacob stand?
He is so small!”
3 The Lord relented concerning this:
“It shall not be,” said the Lord.
4 This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, the Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land.5 Then I said,
“O Lord God, please cease!
How can Jacob stand?
He is so small!”
6 The Lord relented concerning this:
“This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.
Here in Amos we see the different perspectives at play. Amos receives a vision (v.1) of locusts eating the grass of the land after the King had taken his royal tax, meaning Israel were left with nothing. His second vision was of judgement by fire (v.4). In both circumstances, Amos prayed fervently for the people of God (v.2, 5), and in both circumstances it seems as if God changes His mind (v.3, v.6).
So, does God change His mind?
The Word of God speaks to us about this in Malachi 3.6, James 1.17, and Numbers 23.19, and, simply, no, God does not change His mind. So what is happening here in Amos? “The Lord relented…”, Amos saw a vision, prayed, and then God relented…did He change His mind?
Again, no, this is an example of an anthropopathism, where in “…the feelings or thought processes of finite humanity are ascribed to the infinite God.”
So it appears to us, from our perspective, that God changed His mind, so that must be the case…it looks to us as if God changed His mind from our perspective.
I would offer that God was teaching Amos, Israel, and us by extension the power and importance of prayer.
In both instances, Amos sees the coming judgement, prays fervently, and then the Lord ‘relents’. What a boost to the prayer life of Amos, and what a testimony to share with people! Rather than get lost in endless debates about whether this was eternally predestined to actually happen or not, let us appreciate the key things here; prayer is powerful, prayer works, prayer is effective, and although it may seem like one thing from our perspective, remember, God’s perspective is far greater than ours, in the same way His ways are not our ways.
Point to ponder today – What in my life do I need to see from God’s perspective?