Sometimes I just can't equate the God of the Old Testament to Jesus in the New. they are the same God - God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost - one God, three distinct personalities. I came to a conclusion. How can we, who think from a human perspective, with finite minds and finite actions understand a God who is everywhere, all knowing, all powerful and all creative.
I look at some of the judgements of the Old Testament where people were to be cut off from their society or stoned. I think about the earth splitting open and swallowing up those who rebelled and my heart would almost cry out, "no, this cannot be God". Yet somehow I know, that I know, that I know, God is Love and He is just. He is also Holy yet He is Mercy. When I look at His Mercy, surely it outweighs His Judgement. It certainly did when "the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us". God, Himself, manifest in Jesus Christ, sacrificed Himself on that cross to redeem us from death to life, from judgement to justification, from the curse of the law to freedom in the Spirit.
So how does this reconcile the Old with the New. I know that I will never understand from my earthly perspective for we see in part but one day we shall see more clearly. (1Pet 13:9-10) I do know that in His Love and Grace, God chose for Himself a people, the Israelites from all the nations and with this came great responsibility. As God's people, they were to be a witness to nations and from them would come the fulfilment of the Seed promised in Genesis to Eve, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who would save people from their sins and reconcile His people, the Jews and the Gentiles to God.
Ephesians 2:11-18 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” which is done in the body by human hands— remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Colossians 1:19-20 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
The Old Testament clearly shows the effects of sin on the nation and creation. Yet God promised them if they would obey Him, he would heap upon them blessings after blessings. The nation was blessed and prospered yet His people continually gave themselves over to the prostitution of other gods. So the cycle of apostasy is clearly seen. Judgement fell and they were carried off as captives to the nations whose gods they worshipped. In their captivity would cry out to God and He would deliver them and heal them and bring them back into their own land. The cycle would start all over again.
What a lesson for us. God is a jealous God. Not in a human, worldly sense but jealous of anything that would break the sweet communion of fellowship with Him where His abundant blessings flow and He showers us with His Love, Joy and Peace. Outside of that covering fellowship, God knows that we are easy picking for the adversary of our souls. As Jesus said,
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We have a choice. We can accept the gift of life Jesus came to give us or we can choose to go our own way. His way is the way of Life and blessing. Even in tough circumstances, His way keeps us and strengthens us, guarding our hearts and minds as we lean upon Him and keep our focus on Him. Choose today, life or death, blessing or curses. This is our choice, freely given by a God who loves us and desires to wrap His arms around us in that Love. He has blessings for us, in our obedience, but we get to choose what we prefer.