February 4, 2018

“The God of the Old Testament – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I am continually amazed by the number who pass for Bible students, who slander “the God of the Old Testament.” I refer to those who see a moral problem produced by elevating trending societal concepts of “goodness” to the status of moral law, a status that supersedes revelation from the Creator. They effectively say, “Yes, I admit God was a vindictive meanie in the Old Testament, but then He evolved into the wonderful God of love we see in the New.” This attitude demonstrates an astounding arrogance (assuming a superior sense of morality) and at the same time an amazing ignorance of the God of the Old Testament.

The following quote is not from Jesus, nor from one of His official ambassadors, the apostles. It is the law of Moses that instructs…

“‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)

A professional teacher of that Mosaic law, “a lawyer” asked Jesus…

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’” (Matthew 22:36-39)

The words in capital letters are quotations from the Old Testament. The first quotation was one of the most familiar and revered of all passages to the Jews:

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

The second commandment which the lawyer considered great, says:

“…you shall love your neighbor as yourself;….” (Leviticus 19:18)

Jesus acknowledged that His opponents knew the Old Testament Scriptures. He said: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” (Matthew 23:2-3) This lawyer, an expert on the Law of Moses concluded regarding that law: “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:40)

But wasn’t God cruel and vengeful toward the residents of Palestine when He commanded them to be “utterly destroyed” and gave their land to His favorites, the chosen Israelites? The answer is absolutely not! The view betrays a lack of appreciation of God’s holy view of sin.

“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor.” (Habakkuk 1:13)

The sin of the residents of Palestine had grown to a fullness that the holiness God could not tolerate. Consider His own explanation.

“Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess,” (Deuteronomy 9:6)

“‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:24)

The holy God who created the universe sees things perfectly through infinitely holy eyes. It is insolent arrogance for His feeble creation to assume that they know better.

The truth is that the great underlying theme of the Old Testament is love—love for God and love for others. Jeremiah testified that God’s love is eternal, from long before and that it will never end.

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

 

 

 

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