I am currently studying books of the Old Testament and just finished Exodus. I have studied the Old Testament, but to be honest, I tend to lean toward New Testament studies. I have concluded that I enjoy reading more about the character of God I see in the New Testament. My God, who loved me so much that he gave His perfect Son; Jesus. My God who gives me an unlimited supply of grace. My God, who hates those who judge, hypocrites, and those who hate in the name of religion. My God, who is waiting for me in Heaven and wants to spend eternity with me. My God, who faithfully listens to all my prayers and gives me the gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells inside me.
When I have studied the Old Testament (especially in college courses where I had to outline, memorize dates, and answer pointless essay questions), I found myself seeing God's character quite differently. I saw a God who was jealous, wrathful, confusing, and sometimes just mean. I know that my God is perfect and good in every way, so I made a conscious effort to study the Old Testament looking for the character of God I see so vividly in the New.
It is fun rereading the Old Testament looking for the God I love so much, especially when I know the ending of this glorious love story. I am not seeing a wrathful God like I have in the past; instead, I see a fair and merciful Father who loves his children so much that He is willing to jump through hoop after hoop to give them the best. Parents want the best for their children and God knows what is best for us, His children, is a life in communion with Him. As a result, God the Father does all he can to give His children, the Hebrew people, chance after chance to choose Him and life in relationship with Him. It reminds me of the many times I see Connor about to choose to do something he and I know is wrong. I look at him and give him a verbal reminder, then I whip out the handy parent tool of counting to three. 1.......(Connor don't do it) 2........(I am going to have to spank you) 3......(Ah he did it, great here we go), and I do I spank that little butt. Why? I love him and know that he has to learn so that he can become a better man some day. God was the same way with the Israelites. He warned them to follow and obey His ways, to live a life with Him as number one. Why? He loved them. When they didn't, God gave them chance after chance. Slavery in Egypt......... 40 years in the dessert......... Captivity again....... the list continues.
The Old Testament God is the same as the God of the New Testament, yet we cling to the God we see in the New Testament, ignoring the God of the Old. The God who gave us so many chances to choose Him. The God who knew that a life with Him was better than any we tried to live without Him. The God who finally had to choose to give up His only begotten Son for us. The God of the New Testament, full of grace and love, is the God from the Old Testament. The whole love story is incomplete without the struggle God faced before He chose to give us the spotless lamb.