The idea of God in the Old Testament

The idea of God in the Old Testament

One idea of God in the Old Testament is that he is a wrathful being, a vengeful being with very little forgiveness in Him. Take, for instance, the first murder. Cain murders Abel and God does not forgive him, or show mercy on him, but brands him and sends him off into the world for all to see and know that he was a killer. Next, is the flood? God sees man as evil in all he does and thinks, and therefore plans to kill man and all living beings, save those that he put with Noah, the one mortal to be in favor with God.

In the first murder, Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel, his brother, was a keeper of sheep. There came a time when Cain did bear the fruits of the earth and his Brother Abel did the same from the sheep, they both brought their offerings before God, and God favored Abel’s offering over Cain’s. This made Cain full of anger and his face darkened. God said to Cain “Why are you angry and downcast? If you are doing right, surely you ought to hold your head high! But if you are doing right, Sin is crouching at the door hungry to get you. You can still master him” (Genesis 4:6-7). This is an obvious reprimand by God to Cain. He might have well said you must do better to gain my approval. There were no words of encouragement; there was no comforting, just cold hard rejection. Cain was obviously upset at God and directed his anger at his younger brother Abel. “Cain said to his brother Abel, ‘Let us go out’; and while they were in the open country, Cain set on his brother Abel and Killed him” (Genesis 4:8). God did hear the blood of Abel crying up to him from the ground and questioned Cain on where Abel was, Cain said he was not his brother’s keeper, and God did grow very angry for he knew what Cain had done. God then cursed Cain from the Earth, and branded him for all to know what Cain was, and that no man was to kill Cain for he was, in a sense, protected by God so he could suffer his punishment.

In the story of the flood, God is looking upon the Earth and is seeing man for what he is; evil in all he says and does, and this grieves God who made man on this Earth. “God saw that the human wickedness was great on earth and that human hearts contrived nothing but wicked schemes all day long” (Genesis6:5). It is then that he also realizes that the earth itself has been corrupted by man, and God decides to send a flood to destroy his creation, man. God does, however, favor one man, Noah, and tells him the build an arc and collect two of every living thing on the earth, so that he may re-populate the earth when all is said and done. This could be viewed as forgiveness, and maybe mercy, however, God is still destroying almost the entirety of Man. Is it not true that God gave man free will, to do what he chooses? Yet when man makes a few bad decisions, God wants to wipe him out.

Another idea of God can be that he is like a parent. This makes God seem so approachable, not just some Supreme Being that cannot be spoken to. God is not just seen as a father in the Bible, but also one is encouraged to think of God as a mother. ”You forgot the Rock who fathered you, the God who made you, you no longer remember” (Deuteronomy 32:18).

God is the one that created humans. A child’s parents bring him/her into being, but God must be recognized as the author and source of one’s existence. It is seen throughout the Bible that God loves humans because they are his children. There is a natural bond of affection between God and his children because he is the one that created them. His compassion towards his people is that of a mother towards her child. This is probably the most personal model of God; one often turns to God for spiritual advice as he/she would turn to their father or mother for advice on daily life. God is the parent of humans, God is the creator, the one that brings things into existence.

When one thinks of God, they think of a loving compassionate God, and throughout the Old Testament God is shown to be just that. A God who loves his people is one way we see him as a loving God. He loves his people simply because he was the one whom created them and out of this creation he loves them. His “unconditional love” or “friendship love” is the love that would be seen in a friendship. Friends usually love in unconditional ways because it is seen as self-sacrificing love that comes from wanting the best for another person. This is the kind of love that one loves to receive.

There are four characteristics of God that come out of the love. The first characteristic is that of patience. Unlike humans, God has the ability to be patient in all situations. He patiently waits on his children to turn back to him. One usually notices or needs God’s patience when he/she is acting in a bad way. Another characteristic is God’s faithfulness towards mankind. Everyone knows that God is faithful. God is always faithful to the promises he makes. One usually notices God’s faithfulness when things around him/her aren’t going so well. It often takes times of struggle to realize how faithful God really is. The next characteristic is mercy. One usually notices mercy when he/she messes up. Kindness is what one wants and is what one notices about God when others are mean to him/her. God calls each person to have mercy on others, just as he has mercy on his children. The last characteristic is that of Grace. This is the undeserved love and salvation God gives to his people. Grace is seen as a gift of God. These characteristics are those one loves and wishes to receive. Many times these characteristics show themselves when one is in desperate help and can’t go on. God is always there showing to the world that he really cares and really loves each human being.

On the other hand there are three characteristics of God that may not appear to be that big of a deal, but they are vital in order to our understanding. The first of these is jealousy. The first mentioning of this is found in Exodus 20:5: “You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I, the LORD am your God, am a jealous God and I punish a parent’s fault in your children, the grandchildren, and the great grandchildren among those who love me and keep my commandments.”

Jealousy appears in different contexts: God’s people’s unfaithfulness to him and those in which he is defending his people from other nations. Because God is a jealous God, he will shower love on his people. Jealousy is clearly related to a concept of ownership, and the longing to be involved in a loving relationship. The next attribute is that of anger. “Vengeance is mine, I will pay them back, for the time when they make a false step. For the day of their ruin is close, doom is rushing towards them, for he will see to t that their power fails. (Deuteronomy 32:35). This anger of God is His reaction against human sin. Anger runs in every single person. There is no getting around that, because to have a God that lets people walk over him is a cowardly God. By him showing anger, he instills the sense of fear in the backs of every person’s minds.

The fact that God is personal is what makes all these characteristics as powerful as they are. God’s personal ness is what gives the framework for the characteristics to be talked about. A person leads to a transformation of another person in a way that a principle does not.