The endless love of God. Breathtaking grace. Mercy unfathomable. Patience beyond human understanding. Loyalty. Steadfastness. Long suffering. Compassion. Tenderness. Righteousness. Justness. Consistency. Persistence. Endurance. Perseverance. Hope. Peace. Creativity behind anything any human can conceive of. Safety. Refuge. Shelter. Guidance. Wisdom. Oh, I could go on forever. But I don’t have to. Because God does. He is forever. And the more I study the Old Testament, the more I see the despicable, wicked, sins of mankind, the more I see the indescribable love and mercy of God who could have given up on humanity right from the moment Eve took the apple and shared it with Adam and they were kicked out of the Garden of Eve because of their sin.
The Old Testament is so packed with the sins of human beings, the unending obstinacy and rebellion of people who refused over and over and over and over and over again to submit themselves to the Lord and to obey His commands, that I simply cannot believe how big the Old Testament is. What else is it packed with? God, righteous God, perfect God, holy God, had horrific consequences for those who rebelled against Him. Isn’t this why so many people don’t want to read the Old Testament? But what else is found in the Old Testament? What else is found is this. God has NOT given up on His Creation. When He told Noah to create an ark for a tiny number of people and animals before he obliterated the rest of humans because of their endless rebellion, God could have refused any more acts of mercy because of all the sins that came afterward. Did He? No! Over and again, over and again, throughout the Old Testament, God told His Creation to return to Him. Return, return, if only they would return. He called them to repentance, over and again. More and more chances, He gave them.
God, in His perfect holiness, had every right to call it quits on this world. But not only did He show His mercy again and again, but right from the beginning, He had a redemption plan – a new covenant – so that every single human on the face of the earth would be given an opportunity to be saved from His utter wrath and the eternal hell where every one of us humans deserves to end up. As soon as Adam and Eve fell into sin and were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, humankind lost its ability to be in fellowship with God. Because all humans would subsequently be born into sin, and God could not look upon it because of His holiness. But He so loved His Creation that ultimately, as He spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament, He would send His only begotten son Jesus to the cross to die a horrific death to bear God’s wrath for our sins so that whoever would believe in Jesus would be forgiven and given eternal life. When Adam and Eve sinned, all of humanity fell under the curse of sin that ends in death. Jesus Christ took that curse upon Himself on the cross because God wanted His Creation back in fellowship with Him and to spend forever with Him instead of eternity in hell.
Everything in the Old Testament was leading up to the New Testament. But God’s love did not begin when He sent Jesus to the cross. God is love, and His love is forever, and His love has been in the universe all along. The Old Testament isn’t missing God’s love. It is so full of God’s love and mercy and patience with a humanity that has been so despicably wicked that it is a wonder that He didn’t stop loving us. Instead of stopping loving us, God is in heaven waiting for us – waiting for us to repent, waiting for us to return, waiting us to do what we should have been doing all along.
Loving Him. Obeying Him. Serving Him. Bowing down before Him in praise and adoration. For He is Creator of the universe, Lord of Lords, and King of Kings. He is God!
29Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;b
30 tremble before him, all the earth;
yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
31Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
32Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
33Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
34Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!
1 Chronicles 16:29-34 ESV