The Old Testament seems to really stump a lot of folks, mostly, I fear, because they don’t know it that well, and don’t understand it, because they don’t really take the time to actually read it. The problem is, you can’t really truly appreciate the New Testament without knowing and understanding the Old. The New Testament fulfills and explains the Old. The biggest way being that all sacrifices were fulfilled in Christ’s ultimate and final sacrifice. But more on that another time.
The Old Testament talks a lot about God’s judgement, wrath, and justice to be sure; but so does the New Testament. But the Old Testament also has just as much to say about God’s love, mercy and grace as the New Testament does, if not even more. Even from the very beginning in Genesis 3, after Adam and Eve sinned for the first time, God graciously covered them with the skin of an animal instead of giving them the death they deserved, and which He had promised to them if they disobeyed.
The remainder of the Old Testament shows a constant struggle between God and His people in which they turn away from Him, shake their fists at Him, commit unspeakable atrocities against Him, and worship anything and everything but Him; and God often times punishing them, but then restoring them. God often speaks kindly to His incredibly wayward people, offering them unlimited grace and forgiveness in spite of their sin. He begs them to return to Him and to seek Him, as He still does for us today.
God’s people are often compared to an incredibly unfaithful wife who sells herself to others as a prostitute. No one would ever take back a wife like that, but God has done this on multiple occasions. Hosea is all about this concept, and Isaiah also has a lot to say about it, as do many other Old Testament books.
The main passages that have inspired this particular post are Isaiah 52-56. This passage is rich in God’s promises of love and mercy and grace. It shows us the lengths God was willing to go to, to redeem people of all nations to Himself. Hundreds of years before it even happened, this passage includes detailed accounts of what would happen to Jesus, God in the flesh, as He came to earth to live a perfect life, yet die a horrific death and a final sacrifice to obliterate the sins of God’s people (52:13-53:12 This is the Gospel according to God)! It shows us God’s amazing plan for His people, for those who do come to Him in repentance; how they will be forgiven and given unlimited peace, how God will have unlimited compassion on them, even though for a while He did turn His face from them and allowed them to go though terrible trials (54:7-8). He invites all people to come and eat and drink from Him without price (55:1-2)! He begs the wicked to forsake their evil ways and thoughts and return to Him (55:3-7)!
Chapter 56 begins by reminding us not to be afraid of God separating those of us who are not Israelites, but who who have come to Him in repentance from His people Israel, but at the same time reminds us not to be arrogant in thinking that we are better than God’s people Israel, since we are now grafted in to the promises of God. Paul covers this in more detail in Romans 11:16-36.
God has never changed. There is no difference between the Old Testament God and the New Testament God. He remains the same, even today. He offers His unlimited kindness and grace to all people now, and asks us to do the same, because there will come a day, when time will run out, and God will have to deal justly with those who refuse to come to Him. He will judge them by the law, as they desire, instead of by His righteousness which He offers through the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God tells us that we cannot be righteous on our own all throughout the Bible, and offers to give us His righteousness, but many people still think they are good enough on their own; that they can be judged by God based on His law of perfection, and still come out clean. But, as the saying goes, “Nobody’s perfect!” The Bible clearly confirms this fact in places like Psalm 53:1-3 and Romans 3:12.
Therefore, I implore you, along with the amazing and great God whom I serve, who, although He is just, and holy, righteous, and full of wrath against sin, offers unlimited peace and forgiveness of sins through the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; I implore you to return to God; forsake yourself and your own ways, because they aren’t good enough (as definitely neither are mine!), and give yourself completely to God! This is the only way to be saved from His wrath that is to come! This is my prayer for you, as well as all who do not love God and keep His commandments! After all, it’s God’s kindness toward us now, that should lead us to repentance!
May God’s grace and peace be with you!