Is the "angry" God of the Old Testament the same loving God of the New Testament?
After reading part of the Old Testament (OT) many people actually stop reading because they see so much killing in the OT. The reader wonders how a God who is said to be so loving could do such a thing, and because none of this is understood they give up on reading their Bible, and sometimes even give up on God. But what does the Bible tell us about what was happening?
"For the people of Israel belong to the Lord; Jacob is his special possession. He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes. Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them up and carried them safely on his pinions.” – Deut. 32:9-11 (NLT)
Psalm 34:19 says, “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.” (NLT)
Recently a fight was witnessed that, in a small way, illustrates what God does for those who trust in him and call on his name. (Sometimes God will even come to their rescue even before His children have time to call knowing that they would call if they could.) This fight happened at an extended stay motel and took only a few seconds. A man whom we will call “the aggressor” had at one time stayed at this motel himself and had become friends with another man who still lived there. We will call this second man, “the innocent”.
This particular day the aggressor came to the motel drunk looking for the innocent. The aggressor even walked right into one of the rooms (not even the right room) looking for the other man but came back out when he did not find who he was looking for. He then found the innocent man outside and accused him of something simple that had not even been done. Then the aggressor took a swing at the innocent man but missed.
Three men who had been sitting quietly nearby watching this whole incident came to the rescue of the innocent man and confronted the aggressor who said he did not care if there were now 4 guys, he would take them all on. As the aggressor began to empty his pockets in preparation for the fight one of the 3 rescuers, the rescuer, lunged at him, began hitting him furiously and as the aggressor tried to defend himself he fell and hit his head. The rescuer continued to hit the aggressor a few more times but then quit when he realized that the now unconscious man was no longer fighting back and was no longer a danger to the innocent man.
This simple true story illustrates how what appears to be an angry God in the Old Testament actually is a very loving and faithful God who is protecting His children. What we can see in this same OT is that those who God was fighting against were ones who were trying to hurt or kill ALL His kids.
Now let's take a look at what's happening in the New Testament (NT) for just a minute. It's almost as if the opposite is happening. Jesus said in Matthew 11:11 that John the Baptist was the greatest. He knew that John was in prison and that he would be killed there, yet Jesus did not go to his rescue. Even Jesus Himself was tortured and eventually killed. Do we believe that God was angry with them and killed them? Of course not, all of this just proved that He loves us enough to do whatever was needed for our salvation even when it hurt Him.
Could it be that our faithfulness to God even when things don't make sense to us proves that we trust Him totally? Is our faith in Him and in His love strong enough to trust in His all-knowing wisdom and unlimited power? When someone we love dies, are we willing to trust that God knows what is best in the long run even though we do not like what has happened?
It may look as if the God of the Old Testament is an angry God, but He is not. The devil wants people to believe that God is angry, unjust, unkind and unloving, but don't believe those lies.
BOTH the Old and the New Testament show us that God is LOVE.