So far in our study of James, we are being reminded of God’s goodness and that we should lean on Him for guidance. Today’s verses continue with that theme and remind us that God does not change. He’s the same today as yesterday.
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:16-17)
The first verse in today’s scripture “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.” (James 1:16) refers back to the previous scripture (James 1:13) “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;” We are not ever to be deceived that temptation comes from God. In Genesis 3:1, the great deceiver clothed himself as a serpent, one of God’s good creatures. He insinuated a falsehood and portrayed rebellion as clever, but essentially innocent, self-interest. Did God really say . . . ? The question and the response changed the course of human history. By causing the woman to doubt God’s word, the serpent brought evil into the world. Here the deceiver undertook to alienate people from God. Elsewhere he acts as an accuser to alienate God from people (see Job 1–2; Zec 3:1).
Instead, we are to know that God is good and wants the best for us. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) “God is not human, that he should lie.” (Numbers 23:19) These sublime words describe the immutability of the Lord and the integrity of his word. Balaam is a foil to God—constantly shifting, prevaricating, equivocating, changing—a prime example of the distinction between God and human beings. God’s Word is absolutely true. Although you may not understand how God is going to bring what He’s promised you to pass, He is keeping every promise He has ever made. He will never deceive you nor disappoint you, and He will never change His mind about what He’s told you.
Joyful obedience to Christ creates a firm foundation for living. Those who obey out of love for Jesus build a solid life for themselves of strength and endurance. Terrible storms may hit them, but they can never destroy them. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matt 7:24-27)
- My notes from Bible Study “Faith: A Bible Study on James for Women“
- Life Application Study Bible (NIV)
- NASB Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible Notes