The Old Testament God


The Great Day of His Wrath John Martin, 1851-1853

The Old Testament God is often seen as an angry, harsh, demanding God as opposed to the New Testament kindness and mercy of Jesus. It’s a funny dichotomy that is fairly well supported by the reading yesterday where “Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” (Exodus 17:13) The problem we have is that we are looking at all of this with the eyes of the modern world. We see peace as a desirable goal. We see that wars are to be avoided if at all possible, and if they happen, the goal is to end them as soon as we can. So, Joshua mowing people down seems like the same old violent God we have attributed to the Old Testament. However, we need to see with the eyes of the ancient world. This was a world where “an eye for an eye” was a radically moderating command. This was a world where you fought for territory and sovereignty. These were a people who needed to be met where they were and slowly but surely be guided into the New Testament love and mercy that was waiting for them. It’s there the whole time, but it can be hard to find in the midst of the struggles and failures that surround them. Not very different from the modern day after all.


About Karen May

Child of God, wife, mom, author, teacher, musician
This entry was posted in Faith, hope, Love, Year of Mercy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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