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In Numbers 23:19, we read, "God is not a man that He should lie or the son of man that He should repent." In Genesis 6:6-7 it says that God repented that He had made man and destroyed most of them in the Flood? Is this not a contradiction?

Any statement anywhere must be understood in the context in which it is spoken. In Numbers 23:18, Balaam is prophesying to Balak about cursing Israel. He simple says that God has purposed to bless them. They are His chosen people. He has made an everlasting covenant with them about a land and a kingdom. Genesis 17:7-8 and 2 Samuel 7:12-13. God will not change this. He has sworn by Himself and will not repent.

God has attributes. These are certain characteristics that are inherent in Himself. He is holy. He is righteous. He is all-powerful, and He is merciful. He is angry at the wicked every day, Psalms 7:11. His attribute toward sinful man up to the time of the flood was longsuffering toward them, 1 Peter 3:20. He now sees that "the wickedness of man is great in the earth, and that every imagination of his heart is only evil, and that continually," Genesis 6:5. He now repents (changes his attribute) toward them and instead of longsuffering, it is justice been measured out to them.

How He acts toward man is determined by man actions toward Him. If a person repents, God will forgive, if he doesn't God will judge. God says if Israel would turn from evil, He would repent from chastising them. On the other hand if they turn from God, He would repent from the good He would do to them - Read Jeremiah 18:8 and Jeremiah 18:10. He is waiting for man to repent not willing that any should perish - 2 Peter 3:9. He cannot forgive until you do. You repent, He will repent (change) Repent or perish - Luke 13:3 Which?

All comments and questions to: Harold Smith

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Updated February 26th, 2014 by Sandra Felix