Sometimes I’ve heard church folk, even a pastor or two, bemoan the meanness of the Old Testament God. He’s not like Jesus. Not a chip off the old block, so to speak. Like we have two gods? Now that’s skating on thin ice.
Apart from the fact that the word ‘love’ is found more often in the Old Testament than the New (check out a concordance as I did), let’s mosey on up next to the prophet Micah for a moment. Throughout Micah 7, we hear of the decadence of ancient Israel. They’re supposed to be God’s chosen people, but they live more like the devil–‘The godly have perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood…their hands are on what is evil, to do it well…’ (Mic. 7:2-3). Nice bunch unless you have to be around them.
Don’t worry–there’s better news! Beginning at Micah 7: 18 we read about God and how He deals with our sin. Often, I wonder if I’m stuck with my misdeeds. Slathered in Gorilla glue. Fastened tight, never dislodged. Even worse, does God forgive and forget? Why should He? Maybe He’ll throw salt on wounds of my own making? Holds a grudge forever? Sounds more like me than Jesus.
What is God like in the Old Testament? What does Micah reveal? Read it and find out for yourself. Would it surprise you that God, here in the Old Testament, pardons His own like a kind judge who dismisses a legal case? No longer guilty. Free as a bird. Then Micah says that the Lord passes over our transgressions because we’re His precious inheritance, not holding tightly onto fuming, angry grudges with too many bones to pick.
All this comes from His character’s commitment to love. His compassion, toward all who receive Jesus into their hearts, confessing their sin’s neediness, causes God to trample all over our sins until they can’t be seen. Covered and concealed. He hurls sin as far away as possible until they splash and sink into far-flung depths of the deepest oceans. Gone and good riddance. Is that not great news?
Micah 7: 18-20 reminds us that this loving Old Testament God goes back in time to Abraham, Jacob, and the saints of old. Going forward we find this same Lord in the pages of the New Testament. He’s the One who loves you and me. Jesus of Nazareth, our Lord, and Savior. The God of the Old and the New Testaments of our Bible.
We’re no longer skating on thin ice but hitting the road with Jesus on solid ground!
Thank you, Father, for all the love you show me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.