As Americans, we’ve come to expect a wide variety of choices in our lives that cater to our personal preferences — everything from shrimp to smartphones.
As a result, we’re not used to hearing the word “can’t” — and it usually frustrates us when we do.
When we open the Bible, we discover that God’s character does not flex or bend to satisfy human desires.
Sacred Scripture, in fact, affirms a number of things that God absolutely cannot do. But unlike in other scenarios, the things God cannot do are reason for celebration and rejoicing. Here’s why.
1.) God cannot get tired. Most adults understand what it’s like to get behind the wheel after a long day of exhausting work. We’re so physically tired that it takes real effort to fight off sleep.
How grateful we should be that God cannot get tired! As the Supreme Being, He never gets weary and never needs sleep. Isaiah 40:28 says, “The Lord is the everlasting God … He will not grow tired or weary.” God watches over us with round-the-clock vigilance.
2.) God cannot lie. The legendary preacher Charles Spurgeon once observed that “A lie can travel halfway around the world while truth is putting on its shoes.” Not only do lies travel at great speed, but they typically do great damage in the process.
How many of us have experienced embarrassment or shame when false accusations were leveled against us? Lies surround this planet like clouds cover the skies. Yet the Lord speaks truth. Scripture says, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind” (Numbers 23:19).
When God speaks to us, He always speaks truth because He is the essence of truth.
As we make our journey through life, all of us have to get used to hearing ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in response to personal requests.
3.) God cannot commit or create evil. We just marked the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. Within 12 minutes, an evil gunman snuffed out the lives of 58 people and wounded 500 more.
Scripture affirms that ours is a broken planet, stained with human sin in all its various forms. As we seek to make sense of evil, the Bible reminds us that God is never its source. James 1:13 says, “When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone…”
Just like a lit candle can never produce darkness, God can’t possibly produce evil. This truth gives us tremendous assurance and hope when tragedies strike.
4.) God cannot break a promise. As summer drew to a close this year, my children complained that we didn’t camp at Knoebels, a nearby amusement resort. I had made them a promise, but when life got hectic, my promise faded.
We’ve all been guilty of breaking promises — except God. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant [promise] of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.”
Family members and friends will battle broken promises, but God always keeps His word.
5.) God cannot recount a sin already forgiven. Some people are masters at holding a grudge. I was in a meeting once when a man angrily recounted the treatment he had received from another person in the room more than 20 years earlier.
This sad soul had carried this offense for over two decades — then rehearsed it on cue. What a stark contrast to our Heavenly Father, who willingly “forgets” our sins once forgiven: “I am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25).
What a delight to know that when we trust Jesus for salvation, our sins are fully and finally forgiven. Never again will God rehearse them before our eyes and ears.
As we make our journey through life, all of us have to get used to hearing “yes” and “no” in various responses to our personal requests. But when we search the Scriptures carefully and uncover the things that God cannot do — we won’t ever feel a twinge of disappointment.
Pastor Ryan Day is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he has served for 19 years.