God sometimes gets a bad rap for his actions in the Old Testament. If you want to see this in practice, just go on over to Yahoo! Answers and search “Old Testament.” You can bet that many of the results will be questions like “Why is God so great and wonderful in the New Testament and so horrifically evil in the Old Testament?” For those who study the Old Testament, these types of questions can get a bit wearisome (SEE THIS POST).
First, the questions assume there is nothing difficult about God in the New Testament. I can only assume that those who ask these questions have never read the Book of Revelation or thought deeply about the concept of an eternal hell. Second, these questions miss a great deal in the Old Testament about the love of God. Don’t get me wrong. There are some verses/passages in the Old Testament that absolutely do give me a bit of trouble (like 1 Sam. 15.3). And, this is not to say that the depiction of the love of God in the Old Testament is not in some ways difficult (he delivers his people from Egypt [a good thing] by killing Egyptian babies [a bad thing]?) But, to make it out like God is completely and thoroughly wicked in the Old Testament is a serious misreading. Sometimes there are different voices in the Old Testament that are saying different things. With that said, today I am providing a list of seven verses from the Old Testament that pertain to the love of God. If you have any other favorites feel free to comment below.
- For love of your fathers he chose their descendants and personally led you out of Egypt by his great power… (Deut 4.37 – from today’s lectionary reading).
- When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son (Hos 11.1 – God depicted as father. Sound familiar?)
- As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you; in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort (Is 66.13 – God depicted as a mother comforting her child).
- I will heal their defection, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them (Hos 14.5 – God depicted as a healer who loves freely).
- It was not because you are the largest of all nations that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you, for you are really the smallest of all nations (Deut 7.7 God’s reasoning for choosing Israel).
- …the LORD appears to him from afar: With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you (Jer 31.3).
- The LORD, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, He will sing joyfully because of you,… (Zeph 3.17).