My friend was really worked up at my naivete and ignorance. He said it was stupid to believe the God of the Old Testament was the same God portrayed in the New Testament. He said he could never believe in a God Who was so angry and vengeful. This was a primary reason he said he couldn’t trust the Bible. His comments have caused me to reflect on the character of God, specifically on His heart toward humanity as revealed in the Old Testament.
It begins in The Garden:
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”” (Genesis 1:26)
“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”” (Genesis 1:28)
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31)
Perhaps you have made something that turned out “very good” and satisfied you. Perhaps you poured yourself into it and your creation reflected who you are. Felt pretty good, didn’t it? If you have also had a child, can you remember how excited, happy and hopeful you were when your child was first born? Mix those two emotions together, dwell on them and you have a small taste of God’s heart at the beginning.
Now, consider the heart of God after the humans He made rebelled and turned away from Him.
“But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”” (Genesis 3:9)
The night my daughter ran away is still a tough one for me to think about. I had never experienced that kind of pain. I spent hours looking for her. If I had found out she was being held captive, I would have done anything to bring her home. She eventually returned, and now has her own teenagers to worry about. We have been fully reconciled for many years now. But I still ache when I hear God’s cry: “Where are you?”
That is the heart’s cry of God, the same God of both the Old and New Testaments. He did more than call; he sent Jesus to bring us home. Where are you?