On the official website of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, one web-page presents photographs of some of the major events that have taken place in the world during the 60 years of her reign. Some images that stick in my mind are those of Edmund Hillary and Sardar Tenzing Norgay sharing their conquest of Mt. Everest, 29 May, 1953, a group photo of some boys marveling at a 50p coin, as if it had arrived from Mars, on Decimalization Day, 15 February, 1971, and the unforgettable image of a lone student standing before a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square during a student-led demonstration for democratic change in Beijing, China, 5 June, 1989; and then there was 9/11, of course, and the tsunamis.
In a world of accelerating change, the Queen has represented for many of us a source of much needed stability. But the tempo of change has been such that even her long pedigree and wise and pleasant reign cannot offset the threat that the waves of change have brought; and she is not getting any younger! This is in some contrast to how the psalmist (in Psalm 102:25-27) approaches God: ‘In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain, they will wear out like a garment. Like clothing You will change them and they will be discarded. But You remain the same and Your years will never end.’ In other words, God does not change (Malachi 3:6 and James 1:17). It is a source of great comfort to believers, in a world of great change, that God is unchanging, and that He is unchanging in His being, perfections, purposes and promises.
Through the prophet, Isaiah, God claims that there is no-one else like Him in this respect: ‘I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose’ … I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it’ (Isa. 46:9-11).
Herman Bavinck says that God’s unchangeableness is of the highest significance: it is the contrast between God as our Creator and us as creatures. We are changeable, constantly striving, ‘becoming’, seeking rest and satisfaction. And God alone, being pure, has no need or reason ‘to become’ something different from what He already is. It is for us, then, to find our rest in God, and ultimately in Him alone, which we do, of course, through faith in His only Son, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Might we rejoice together this month in the relative stability we have enjoyed under the long reign of our present monarch; and might we rejoice all the more in the everlasting reign of our great God, and our Saviour, Jesus Christ!
Yours, in Him, Gareth
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