Numbers 23:19 - The Verses Project

Bible Numbers 23:19

Posted February 21, 2016

God is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

Have you ever been lied to? Has anyone ever given their word to you, and then changed their mind? Perhaps you’ve been cheated on. What has that done to your heart? How has that affected your interactions with others? What about on your end? Have you broken any promises you’ve made? Have you sought to string your words together in such a way that leads people to believe something about you or someone else that is not true? Perhaps you don’t actual tell a lie, but a half truth which leads someone to believe something that simply is not the truth for your personal gain or preservation of reputation.

The truth is if you’ve been alive for a short amount of time, you’ve either been deceived or have been a part of deceiving someone else. This deception creates a garden of distrust when it comes to relationships; people’s words no longer match their actions or character. At the end of the day, you wonder if you can trust anyone’s words! How can you know that they really mean what they’re saying, that they will follow through?

Here in this verse, in a world tainted by man’s deception and distrust, we find words of comfort and hope spoken by Balaam about God and His character. We find out that in this area, God is not like us! He is holy and set apart… We learn basic & foundational truths about God that give us confidence in our relationship with Him. We are told that there are two things that God won’t do, and then two things that He will do:

God Is Not A Liar or Promise Breaker
God is perfect in His character; there’s no shadow in Him. Lying is not a possibility for this trustworthy God! His words always are in line with His character. He’s not a man like us, in that he would ever lie to us or break a promise. In the words of David King, “God is no forger. He has never represented himself as something that he is not. There is no deceit in him. Not once has he lied. Never has he given his word and failed to deliver. On the contrary, the God of Numbers 23:19 is the Unlying God; the Word-Keeper; the Unequivocal, Decisive, True God.”

God Follows Through & Fulfills
Not only do we find out the things He won’t do, but we also learn of what He is committed to do. If God has said it, He will do it… If God has spoken something, that which He has spoken will be fulfilled. It might not be according to our timetable & exact wishes, but He is eternally faithful. The word of man fails and falters because man is sinful and finite, but the word of the Lord is sure and steady because God is perfect and powerful. He has the capability of following through with any promise, no matter how great. Consider God’s promise to Moses to deliver His people out of Egypt! This was no small thing, and yet, He said it and did it. The destiny of Israel was in God’s hand, not Pharaoh’s. Follow through is not an issue with the God of the universe. He is absolutely and fully committed to complete the work He started (Philippians 1:6)!

The clearest promise we can point to in the Bible of God following through with His word is found in Jesus. If you’ve wondered if God is faithful to His word, Jesus is the proof! For generations upon generations, Israel eagerly anticipated and looked for the promised Messiah who would come to save them and establish God’s kingdom on earth. God was not a liar or a promise breaker! He did exactly what He said He would do as He sent His Son to take on flesh and die in our place that we might have forgiveness of sins (including the sin of deception & lies) and call a people to Himself.

Christian, don’t lose heart! Though we lie and fall short of promises made, God’s words and promises are always a safe place to build a home. He does what He says and fulfills what He promises. Rest in that truth.

Song by Zach Bolen of Citizens & Saints.
Artwork by Joel Schierloh.
Devotional by Joel Limpic.