Some say the God of the Old Testament is different than that of the New Testament. I believe as Scriptures teach He’s the same yesterday (thousands of years ago), today (right now in the present), and tomorrow (which is yet to come). God remains the same and is unchangeable. I sometimes shudder at the punishment inflicted on the Israelites because of rebellion, unbelief, and disobedience. I must admit that I am an absolute lover of the Old Testament and there are volumes to be learned about the character of God and His ways.
Going back to the Old Testament’s accounts of God and the children of Israel, rebellion and unbelief have their consequences. They cried out of Egypt for deliverance and He sent a deliverer to rescue them. But because of unbelief and rebellion, we read of stories where:
- The earth opened its mouth and swallowed some of the Israelites.
- Snakes were sent to bite and kill them.
- Plagues were sent and thousands and thousands were killed.
Is God mean and different as some believe? Absolutely not!
In reading the account of these events, it is sobering to see the constant rebellion against the LORD. He was in their midst, leading them, guiding them and they saw and witnessed the miraculous signs performed among them.
- Food from the sky every day.
- Meat out of nowhere
- Water in the wilderness
- Did not plant but ate every single day.
- Clothes and shoes that did not wear out.
He took care of them as His own treasure possession. The heart of the people was not tendered toward the God who loved them so dearly. He wanted them to be well off, a light and example to the other nations. He wanted them to know and experience all the blessings He had for them but obedience and total surrender were required. Many times, I found myself pointing to the Israelites as if they could hear me by traveling back in time and saying:
- Not again.
- Please -trust God this time around.
- You remember what happened before? Right.
I can relate to some extent but not approving of what they did or what I have done. Unbelief has been a part of my life as well. My prayer always consists of asking the Lord to continually increase my belief in Him. Deep inside, I desire to love the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength but I am constantly battling that enemy of mine.
For the Israelites, their enemies were the other nations, the false gods who somehow tripped them over and over and they were ultimately sent into captivity. My battle is of different nature. It is not the other nations and I could make a point of it being other gods (appearance, desires, money, wants and needs with no justifiable reasons) and they are all very deceitful. Thankfully, the Lord is opening my eyes to see how deceitful and empty those that appeared to be ‘needs’ but really aren’t.
The deliverer sent by God to rescue the children of Israel was about to die and Deut 32 records a song he taught them. A song he was to teach them so that they will remember what God had said would happen – words of warning and they were to take them to heart.
Deut 32:20-21 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.
They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols.
It truly breaks my heart to see how the people made God jealous. Can you feel the hurt and the pain in his heart? The same pattern continues throughout Israel that we found the Lord asking a sobering question in Jeremiah 2:5
“What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves.
And now, O Israel and (O Myriam), what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? Deut 10:12-13.
Oh Father, I know I have broken your heart and made you jealous over and over like my forefathers and I ask, once again, for your forgiveness. I pray for a heart that will be soft and tender toward You, to honor You, to revere You as my Lord and my God. Thank you for putting up with. Help me and teach me to love with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength and to observe your commands and decrees.
With a heart full of thanksgiving!