I asked my small group a challenging question this week.
After God had handed the people over to their insatiable desire for meat in an act of passive wrath, God then doled out his active wrath by sending a plague on the people.
I asked my small group – how did God’s judgment on these people make you FEEL?
Most responded by sharing about the same emotion that I often feel when reading through the Old Testament. Slightly uncomfortable by God’s punishment.
Even though we know that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, the God of the Old Testament seems very different than the loving Jesus of the New. If God is the same, why do we not see the sweeping acts of judgment today? If God is the same, when will fire rain out of the sky?
The only way to understand the sweeping wrath of God seen throughout the Old Testament in line with the loving character we celebrate today is through the cross of Jesus Christ.
The cross was the full picture of God’s anger towards sin and love towards men.
The reason stories from the Old Testament make us uncomfortable is that we do not understand the true hatred God has for sin today. My coveting over a material purchase is just as serious as the Israelites coveting meat.
The difference between Old Testament Israel and us today is the cross.
On the cross, God’s wrath, which is seen in his anger towards sin in the Old Testament, was completely poured out onto Jesus. We get a glimpse of the price Jesus paid on the cross in every plague, death, and devastating act of the Old Testament.
Every time we see God’s wrath poured out in the Old Testament, we should say that we are the ones deserving the punishment.
How great is the love of Jesus that he willingly bore the wrath of God for our sake on the cross in order that we might be given the righteous gift of life in His kingdom!