Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17 NKJV)
During one of my daily bible readings last week, God opened up this scripture to me in a way I had never seen it before. I always thought that James was referring to two different attributes of God in that scripture when he referred to God as the Father of lights and then goes on to say that in Him there is no variation or shadow of turning.
When I looked closer at the scripture, I realised that James was emphasising something about God’s nature. He was zoning in on God’s consistency or steadfastness. He was drawing our attention to God’s unchanging nature and His reliability.
He did this brilliantly by comparing these attributes of God’s nature to the sun, moon and stars. By calling Him the Father of lights, James was referring to God as Creator of the lights we have in nature. In Genesis, scripture referred to the sun and moon as the greater and lesser lights respectively. Now that we have established what James was referring to as lights, what was he trying to communicate? One of the things we have come to rely on and expect to see every morning is the sun. From a certain hour in the day, you don’t expect there to be darkness. Rather, we expect the sun to rise and set over the course of the day. It has become a part of us. We don’t even think about it anymore. We just expect that the good old sun will be reliable in giving us light each day. Bearing that in mind, James was trying to tell us that the steadfastness and goodness of God is even more reliable and consistent than the rising and setting of the sun. It should become such a part of our thinking that we no longer doubt this attribute of His. Even the sun, moon and stars cast shifting shadows as the day passes by. There is still some variation in their effects on the earth based on their positioning. This is not so with God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and we can always bank on Him regardless of where we find ourselves.
In Him there are no shifting shadows. He is the most consistent and reliable Being in the universe and that should give rise to faith in our hearts. It gives great comfort to know that God is not suddenly going to become wicked. He is love. He is life. He is goodness personified. That will never change. Man may change, close friends may change, family may change, colleagues may change, our health may change, the economy may change, the government may change, even nature may change but God remains the same from age to age. He is the eternal rock of ages. The unshakeable God. In Him you can trust.