Seeing the Goodness of God in the Old Testament: Part 1

My eyes widened as I looked intently at the street corner. There, stood a man and a woman, holding up signs declaring God’s wrath and the world’s need to repent from their sin.

Down the road, a large church sign read something like “Jesus is the only way to flee God’s wrath.”

All around me were messages of the Lord’s anger and our need to escape it. It looked as though Christians served a very violent God, eager to destroy anyone who didn’t obey Him.

Even in my own experience, I’ve come across two different pictures of who God is. 

In the Old Testament, God often judges and destroys anyone who doesn’t follow Him. In the New Testament, however, Jesus comes and promotes grace and love, even to those who reject Him.

These two pictures seem almost contradictory. All the same, the Bible clearly states that God is good (Psalm 107:1).

How can we see God’s goodness in the Old Testament when He’s full of anger?

I didn’t get my answer to this until I started to study the Old Testament for myself. The more I study, the more shocked I become; not because of God’s wrath or anger, but because of His love.

The Old Testament is filled to the brim with battles, good and evil, and a God above it all. Because this is a topic that requires more than a few sentences, “Seeing the Goodness of God in the Old Testament” will be a three-part series.

God’s Design; Sin’s Corruption

It began when God created the heavens and the earth. On the sixth day, God stopped to take a good look at everything He had made and it was very good (Genesis 1:31).

Life was absolutely perfect. There was no evil or sadness. Death and suffering were non-existent. Adam and Eve had a beautiful place to call home.

They had total and complete freedom. 

It wasn’t until Adam and Eve sinned and ate from the tree God had warned them not to that God’s perfect design became corrupted.

You might ask, “If God knew that eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would ruin the world, why did He create it?” The answer is simple: free will.

God didn’t create sin, He created people with the ability to choose. 

Now, God could’ve created us without free will, but then we’d love him only because we’re forced to. The Lord would rather we genuinely love and trust Him than have a world full of perfect robots.

Understanding that we have free will is the first thing we need to grasp in order to see God’s goodness. This concept is key to making sense of what took place in the Old Testament.

As we dive deeper into Scripture, we’ll begin to recognize that God isn’t the angry, violent God numerous people credit Him to be. It’s time that we discern for ourselves who God really is.

What do you think? Tell me in the comment section below!

How has the Old Testament shaped your current view of the Lord?

How have you seen the effects of sin in the world around you?