What kind of character do you have? What makes a person unpredictable? Is God unpredictable? Here's what God's Word says about this point of character.
"CALL ME irresponsible. Call me unreliable, Throw in undependable too... Call me unpredictable. Tell me I'm impractical. Rainbows I'm inclined to pursue." These words from a popular song indicate the trend of our times. Young girls in High School fall for the irresponsible, unpredictable, undependable type. Why is this? Should men be irresponsible? Should they be UNpredictable, unreliable, undependable?
Why Some Girls Fall For This Type
Somehow an unpredictable man appeals to women. Women love surprises. They love to have a trinket, a box of candy, a bouquet of flowers. They love their husbands to surprise them with little niceties that spark up a marriage. But in their quest for this type of husband, many young girls fall for the unpredictable, undependable, unreliable fellow. All they can see about this man is the glamour of being unpredictable. To them, he seems exciting, different. Perhaps you have heard young girls say, "Oh, he is so unpredictable!" — as if it were a point in his favor! It is a different story, however, once they are married. This undependable, unpredictable, unreliable, irresponsible man is now her husband! She wanted someone to bring home surprises — but not someone who neglects the family. She didn't want someone so undependable that he lost his job. She didn't want someone unreliable to the point of not paying his bills. And she didn't mean for him to be so unpredictable as not to come home at night
Is God Unpredictable?
Can you predict what God will do? Do you know how God feels about things? God is not unpredictable. God is very predictable. God tells us what He will do. We can know that He will act the same always. What does God think about murder? Is His opinion about it always the same? Yes! You can be sure that God is absolutely rigid, predictable in His principles. God's character is always the same. God's patterns of behavior — once known from the Bible — are absolutely predictable. We can know that God is merciful, kind, just, absolutely fair. We know God hater sin. We know God does not tolerate rebellion, wrong attitudes, or self-will. God is predictable, dependable, reliable, responsible! Are you? Are you always the same? Where does the unpredictable quality come from? Why do people have changeable character? Why do they vary in their principles? You have heard this statement: "You never know what he'll do next!" Does this describe you? Unpredictability comes from not having a set of standards. It is the result of not being faithful to one's word. Notice God's unalterable integrity and character. In Jeremiah 9:24 God says He delights in loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness. In Proverbs 6:16-19 we read, "These six things doth the Eternal hate: Yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that devises wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." God hates these things! He never loves them! Will God ever change? NO! You can be sure of God's standards — His feelings!
God's Set Of Standards
God has an absolute set of rules. In giving the Ten Commandments, God made known His predictable feelings. For instance, God said, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." God will never allow us to have mother god! God forbids us to make any graven image or any likeness of anything in heaven, on earth, or under the earth. We are not to bow down to it or serve it. Does God punish for this? Notice Exodus 20:5, "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Eternal thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." What are God's feelings toward those who love Him? "And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments" (Exodus 20:6). God does not vacillate, change, alter, or vary his character. It is a sin to do normal, common servile work on the Sabbath day. God says further: "Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest THOU SHALT REST" (Exodus 34:21). How definite can you be? People like to think God is like them. False ministers foster the idea that God is unpredictable. They make excuses and exceptions to God's laws. They preach an unpredictable conduct, an unpredictable religion, an unpredictable God — an unpredictable Christ! In other words, they preach another Jesus. And what they produce is characterless character! God has expressed His character in the Ten Commandments. Jesus expounded these commandments in the spirit of the law. But most people think God changes His mind in regard to His Commandments. Notice what God Himself says: "For I am the Eternal, I CHANGE NOT; AND therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed" (Malachi 3:6). In Titus 1:2 we find that God cannot lie. That is, God will not lie — and there is no force in all the universe that can change God's will. God has promised to keep a remnant of Israel to the end of the age — and God will not change. Neither does God change any of His commandments. God has changeless character!
Confusion In the Home
Why is there distrust in families today? Why do children doubt their parent's word? Why are wives skeptical of their husband's conduct? Can your family rely on you — your character — your word — knowing you are predictable? Many parents confuse their children. Their children never know what to expect. These parents are unpredictable. For instance, a child playing on the steps on one occasion is sternly rebuked for it. Soon he does the same thing again. This time his parent says nothing — smiles pleasantly at him. Then the child feels it is all right to play on the steps. But the next time he does it he gets a sound spanking. Under these conditions a child is confused, bewildered, unsure of his parents. He cannot depend on their word. He cannot rely on their principles. To him, they are unpredictable. Some wives say, "I never know how my husband will react to a situation." Some husbands say, "One time she's upset by it, and the next time she's happy with the same thing. I never know what she will do." How about you? Does your set of standards vary constantly? Do people know what your scruples are? Can they be sure of your character? Do your children know exactly what to expect from you?
Was Jesus Predictable?
Jesus Christ was the most predictable man who ever lived! He had predictable principles — stable scruples. They never varied. You could depend on Christ. He was not irresponsible, unpredictable, undependable, unreliable. When Jesus was twelve years old His parents took him to Jerusalem to observe the Passover. "And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and His mother knew not of it. But they, supposing Him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found Him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking Him. And it came to pass, that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions" (Luke 2:43-46). Joseph and Mary spent three days looking for Him. They probably went to all the places where twelve-year old boys play. Perhaps they went to a water hole where children swim. Then to a play yard to see if Jesus were there. After all, He was only twelve years old. After three days of hunting they finally found Him in the temple. "And when they saw Him, they were amazed: And His mother said unto Him, Son, Why hast thou thus dealt with us? Behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And He said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not [Did you not know] that I must be about my Father's business?" (Verses 48-49.) Jesus was amazed that they spent three days looking for Him. "How is it that ye sought me?" He said. They should have known where He would he. They should have known His character, His purpose, His mission in life. But "They understood not the saying which He spike unto them" (verse 50). His mother kept these things in her heart and later understood. Had they understood then, they could have predicted where Jesus Christ would be. They did not have to look in swimming holes or play yards. They could have known He would be in His Father's house! Can you predict where Jesus Christ would be on the Sabbath! "And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, AS HIS CUSTOM WAS, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read" (Luke 4:16). Jesus would be in God's Church on the Sabbath — the seventh day of the week. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8). Did you know that Jesus' life was so predictable the Jews used this against Him in plotting His murder? They wanted evidence against Christ — something they could accuse Him of in breaking their traditions. They knew just how to get it. They knew if Jesus saw a person in need of healing, He would heal him — even on the Sabbath. Thus they could predict with certainty that He would heal a cripple, a blind person or a withered hand. They made sure to place such a person in the temple where Jesus Christ could see him on the Sabbath. They stood and watched. They knew Jesus would heal the man. He was just that predictable!
Jesus Kept the Feast
Because of strong teaching Jesus was persecuted at Jerusalem. "After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk in Jewry [Judaea]. because the Jews sought to kill Him" (John 7:1). His life was in danger! So He went back to His home area of Galilee. But soon it was time for the Feast of Tabernacles. At that time Christ's disciples kept the feast with the Jews because Christ had not yet separated His Church from the Jewish nation. "Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto Him, depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. I f thou do these things, show thyself to the world. For neither did His brethren [physical brothers] believe in Him. Then Jesus said unto them, my time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come" (John 7:2-5). Jesus did not want to go to the feast with His brothers. He was afraid they would call attention to Him. His brothers did not believe in Him. He knew they would make His presence known at the feast. "But when His brothers were gone up, then went He also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret" (verse 10). He did not want to be seen by the Jews. He knew the Jews were out to kill Him — that is why He left Judea prior to this. It was not His time to die. But He knew if He had much contact with the Jews they would kill Him. In the face of death Jesus went to the Feast of Tabernacles! He did it secretly! Because Jesus never missed a Feast, He was predictable. The Jews knew Jesus' character. They knew He kept the commandments! THE JEWS KNEW HE WOULD BE AT THE FEAST! "Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, Where is He?" (Verse 11.) Do you see? He was predictable. They did not say, "Is He here?" but rather, "Where is He?" They knew He would be there! Here is absolute proof that we are to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. It was not a ritual or connected with the sacrifices of Moses. Jesus knew He had to keep the Feast of Tabernacles — even at the risk of His life. He knew He had to go where God had placed His name. He did not stay at home to keep the Feast. But at threat of death went to Jerusalem. Jesus was willing to risk His life in order to be obedient to the laws of God! The Jews knew Jesus would not violate the commandments of God. To them it was not a matter of whether He was there — but where? They had no question in their minds whether or not He would be at the Feast. Jesus Christ was completely predictable! What kind of example do you set? We heard this comment about a faithful member of God's Church: "Don't go to his place of business on Saturday, because he won't be there. He never opens his business on Saturdays. He always goes to church on that day. And he is always gone in the fall of the year to a church meeting of some kind." We should all be that predictable. God does not want us to waver in faith or in character. He says, "But let him ask in faith nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. "For let not that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord. A DOUBLE MINDED MAN IS UNSTABLE IN ALL HIS WAYS" (James 1:6-8). Notice! A man double minded — unpredictable, unstable, of varying character — is UNSTABLE IN ALL HIS How can God use this kind of man? WAYS! He can't.
Do you remember this ad line? "You can be sure... if it's Westinghouse." The sponsors sought to bring about a trust in people for their product. We might say, "You can be sure... if it's God's character." Why? Because God is a perfectionist. He is stable, constant, unvarying. Jesus told us to be perfect even m our Father in heaven is perfect. (Mat. 5:48.) God is using us to perform His Work. He is also perfecting His very character — the character of Jesus Christ — in us. "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as INSTRUMENTS of righteousness unto God" (Romans 6:13). God must have our cooperation to perfect His character in us. God wants us to be precision instruments in His hands. Would an electronics engineer use a tool or a part that was unpredictable? Complicated, delicate electronics gear demands stable parts and materials. Would scientists use parts in rocket ships that were unpredictable? They must be sure of manned rocket ships. Would a scientist say, "I don't know if this part will work — sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't — but we'll put it in anyhow!" Never! These men must have instruments that are dependable. They must have predictable parts for a sure shot. They must be able to rely on these parts and materials. Can God perfect His character in us if we are unpredictable? Would a lumberjack use an ax if the head flew off from time to time — an unpredictable ax? Do you see the point? Can God use us efficiently, effectively if we are unpredictable, unstable, undependable? An effective ax head must be sharp and efficient. Yet many think they can be dull, lifeless, unenthusiastic, unpredictable — and still be used by God. No! A thousand times no!
What Stradivari Said
Stradivari, maker of Stradivarius violins, once said: "If my hands slack, I rob God. For God cannot make a Stradivarius without Stradivari." This may sound like blasphemy at first. But notice it! Examine it! What did Stradivari say? He said in order for this fine violin to be called a Stradivarius; he, Stradivari, had to be diligent, steady, predictable in his work. God could not use him — Stradivari — in making the Stradivarius unless he was diligent. And if God did not use him — it would not be a Stradivarius violin. God could use another man to make a fine violin — just as good as the Stradivarius. BUT IT WOULD NOT BE A STRADIVARIUS! IN ORDER FOR IT TO BE CALLED A STRADIVARIUS IT HAD TO BE MADE BY STRADIVARI. In the same way, God needs your cooperation to develop His character in you. God cannot — indeed God will not — develop His character in you without your cooperation. You are an instrument in God's hands. Stradivari said, "If my hands slack, I rob God." God cannot perfect the character of Jesus Christ in you, without you. But don't forget, neither can you perfect the character of Jesus Christ in yourself without God. You are an instrument in God's hands. You need to be sharp, alert, reliable, predictable. You need to have the character of your perfect, predictable, Heavenly Father! Like Christ you must be reliable, dependable, responsible as well as predictable. Jesus Christ wants you to say: "Don't call me irresponsible, unpredictable, undependable or unreliable. CALL ME... a Christian!"