It amazes me sometimes the bad reputation God gets in the Old Testament. I mean I can see how someone might skim read it and pick out the bad bits, but anyone who has read it with any depth of perseverance has got to conclude that God is infinitely patient with people who are infinitely rebellious.
It takes the biscuit. If someone were to treat us the way people, and God’s people at that, have treated Him through the ages, we wouldn’t put up with it. We’d shut that person off, stop hanging round with them. Yet again we have great cause to be thankful that God doesn’t operate like us.
Many times in the Old Testament God tells the people what will happen if they go against Him. If you read this at a shallow level you could see it as God threatening punishment. But to do so is to miss the point. God made us and knows us, He knows what it takes for us to come alive and all His suggestions on how to live are for our benefit rather than His. The consequences of us not living that way are a result of us not living as we were made too.
Despite this God still leaves room for us to fail and return to Him. More often than not when God lists what will happen if (when) the people turn away, he adds a but – but if you remember me and turn from your evil ways I will bless you! This is incredible – God after all He has been put through is willing time and time again to forgive and welcome back the people. Better yet He doesn’t mind when His people remind Him of these promises:
Nehemiah 1:8-9 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
In this exert we see Nehemiah reminding God of His grace and as the people respond, God does too. Thank you God for Your grace and that you are always ready to shower it on us.
This post is a sort of follow on from – ‘A life with no buts’