Does God CHANGE his mind?

Submit Bible questions, through our easy to use form,
to our team of mature Christians known as the Email Evangelists.

Question: Has God ever decided to do, or not do, something, then change his mind?

Answer: God does change His mind, but it only seems to occur when people repent and change theirs. Sometimes He chooses not to punish someone after he has said that he would. Since he is merciful, He responds readily when people, with their whole hearts, repent. There are several examples in the Bible of God changing his mind or "repenting" of what he planned to do.

The first example is Nineveh, the capital of the ruthless Assyrian Empire. When Jonah visited the city he proclaimed repeatedly that in just forty days the city would be overthrown (Jonah 3:4). Unlike the hard-hearted inhabitants of Jerusalem on so many occasions, the pagan idolaters of Nineveh started to repent and put on sackcloth in order to humble themselves before God. They proclaimed a fast that even the king endorsed with a royal decree. His reason for the fast was the hope that God would change his mind (verse 9).

What was God's response to those in Nineveh who humbled themselves? He saw what they did and CHANGED HIS MIND. He decided not to destroy the city (verse 10)

A second interesting case of our Father changing His mind is when King Hezekiah asked to live after the Prophet Isaiah told him that he would soon die (See 2Kings 20:1 - 11). Upon hearing the news, the king prayed and wept saying that he had served the Lord well. God saw what the king did and told Isaiah to return to him to say that not only would he be healed, he would live another fifteen years (verses 5 - 6)! This example shows that we should pray even when a case seems hopeless since he can still choose to help us.

A third, rather striking example of God changing his mind concerns King Ahab of Israel. Ahab (who married Jezebel) was the WORST king who ruled ancient Israel. A prophet no less than Elijah was God's messenger to the king to warn him to repent and the consequences for not doing so (1Kings 16:30 - 33, 21:25)

What are the
facts about God?
Can God
tell a LIE?
Important People in
the Old Testament
List of the Kings of
Israel and Judah
Who exactly
was King Ahab?
What is
against God?
One day Ahab wanted to buy a vineyard that was next to his palace. The owner (Naboth), however, refused to sell it. After hearing her husband whine about the vineyard, Jezebel arranged for the death of Naboth through false witnesses who would accuse him of blasphemy. After he was stoned to death, God sent Elijah to Ahab as the king was in Naboth's vineyard to make it his own. The king was warned that the punishment for his many, many sins was that he would soon die and that dogs would lick up his blood from the streets (1Kings 21:19, 21 - 22)!

After Ahab heard these words he did something unusual that caused God to change his mind. He took off his royal clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned his sins (verse 27 - 29). And God's response? He decided not to punish him!

This shows that even a notoriously wicked king can get God to change his will. There are, of course, other examples of our Father changing his mind. Although God knows everything, he sometimes changes His will regarding His planned actions IF people think and act differently in response to his warnings.

Additional Study Materials
Is there a second
chance at salvation?
Empires of Assyria
and Babylon map
Who are
the Samaritans?
Bible Answers to Questions  -  Basic Articles  -  Beginners Studies  -  Pictures  -  In-Depth Articles  -  Life of Paul
Maps and Timelines  -  Prophecy  -  Reference Materials  -  Roman Empire  -  The Sabbath  -  Study by Topic
Discount Bookstore  -  FREE books