The answer to this is “sometimes no, sometimes yes.” But before we delve into this subject let’s define the word “destiny.” One definition is “the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future.” Some believe that one’s destiny is “a predetermined course of events beyond human control.” They call this “fate” and if this were true then one could never change their destiny. Again, I believe the Bible teaches there are destinies that can’t be changed but there are also destinies that can be changed.

You cited a perfect example of one’s destiny that couldn’t be changed. Let’s read what God told Rebecca in Genesis 25:23, “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and THE OLDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER.” As we read on, we see that “there were indeed TWINS in her womb” (verse 24); the FIRST one born was Esau and then Jacob. What was striking about God’s prophecy to Rebecca was the fact that the FIRSTBORN SON was normally given the blessing of the “birthright” which meant he would get a “a double portion of the inheritance” when the father died and the “firstborn status” as well (see Deuteronomy 21:16-17). The words “firstborn status” means he would become “the HEAD of the family.” But in the case of Esau and Jacob God chose, in His SOVEREIGNTY, to bless the “younger son with the firstborn status.” Because this choice was a “sovereign act that was predetermined by God,” no one could change it. I would encourage you to read Genesis 27:1-40 where we see Isaac trying to give the blessing of the firstborn to Esau, but he mistakenly gave the blessing to Jacob (verses 1-29) and when Esau learned of this, he tried to persuade his father to reverse the blessing and give it to him (verses 30-40). Isaac was forced to tell Esau, “Indeed I have made him YOUR MASTER, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants…By your sword you shall live, and YOU SHALL SERVE YOUR BROTHER” (verse 40).

Now let’s consider an example where God had FORETOLD the “judgement of a city” but because they repented God changed His mind about judging them and thus their “destiny (of being judged) was changed.” In Jonah 1:2 God told His prophet Jonah, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” Later, Jonah walked through the city crying out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (3:4). Then we read, “So the people of Nineveh BELIEVED GOD, PROCLAIMED A FAST, AND PUT ON SACKCLOTH AND SAT IN ASHES…Then God saw their works, that THEY TURNED FROM THEIR EVIL WAY; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it” (verses 5 & 10). What we learn here is that not all of God’s choices regarding one’s destiny is “set in stone.” He is free to “reverse one’s destiny” based on their actions in certain situations. We saw in God’s choice of Jacob that it was a Sovereign choice that no one could change, for it was according to His Sovereign PURPOSE, but in His choice to judge Nineveh He was willing to “change His mind if they changed theirs,” which they did.

In closing this short meditation, let’s consider the most important DESTINY in Scripture; the “ETERNAL DESTINY” of each individual person. We read in Matthew 7:13-14 that there are TWO DESTINIES. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that LEADS TO DESTRUCTION, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult the way which LEADS TO LIFE, and there are few who find it.” Jesus was speaking of what comes after this present life on earth; there is either DESTRUCTION or LIFE. In Matthew 10:28 Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to DESTROY BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN HELL.” This, dear friend, is the DESTINY of all who refuse to avail themselves of the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. The solemn truth is we are all sinners by birth and by practice (see Psalm 51:5 and Romans 3:23) and unless we “change our mind” about our sinful condition and the judgment we deserve (like the people of Nineveh did), we will remain on the “way that leads to DESTRUCTION” and find ourselves in Hell for all eternity (see Revelation 20:15). Yet we can, by the grace of God, change course and “enter by the narrow gate…the way which leads to LIFE” (ETERNAL LIFE in heaven…see John 3:16 with 1st Peter 1:3-4). What is the “narrow gate” and “the way” that puts one on the path that leads to heaven? Ah, it is Jesus Christ Himself, for He said in John 10:9, “I am the DOOR, by Me if any man enters in, he shall be saved.” He said in John 14:6, “I am the WAY, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” He went to the cross of Calvary to die for your sins (see 1st Corinthians 15:3 and 1st Peter 3;18) and if you will “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31) you will be saved. You will “reverse course” and be on “the way which leads to LIFE.” You will have “changed your destiny” by availing yourself of God’s free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).  (DO)  (510.1)