3) OLD TESTAMENT v/s NEW TESTAMENT PERSPECTIVES
Another misconception that people have is that they assume that the Old Testament presents God as being angry while the New Testament presents God as loving. That’s not entirely accurate either. There are numerous instances of God being exalted as kind and good. Let’s look at one example of God’s love in the Old Testament.
Nineveh was the capital of the prominent Assyrian kingdom in the 8th BC. It was literally the sin city. Ruthlessness, violence, wickedness, tyranny, mass murders and all sorts of wicked and evil practices flourished in Nineveh. And to top it, Nineveh was Israel’s arch enemy. So, when God asked Jonah to preach His Word to them, Jonah didn’t want to. He would have rather witnessed God meting out His punishment on them than seeing them repent! He bought a ticket and fled in the opposite direction. Well, God didn’t give up. He pursued Jonah. A storm broke out and Jonah’s co-passengers figured out that Jonah was responsible for the storm. At Jonah’s instruction, they cast him into the sea. God caused a big fish to rescue him and throw him on to the shore. Remorseful, Jonah walked into Nineveh and preached God’s Word. Meanwhile, God had prepared the people’s hearts. All the citizens were convicted. They repented, fasted and prayed to the living God. A big revival happened. A pagan, wicked nation had turned around completely to believe in and worship the true God! Wow! It ought to have been an occasion of rejoicing. But Jonah sulked. Jonah 4:1 says, ‘But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.’ He even said that he wished he was dead! Thankfully, God overlooked his pity party and saved Nineveh. Then God caused a plant to grow where Jonah was resting which pleased Jonah. The next day, the plant died. Jonah became angrier. Then God spoke to him again. He asked that if Jonah could be so upset about a plant’s death that he didn’t even labor over, then didn’t God have the right to extend love, compassion and mercy on a people whom He created and who were self-destructing? You know what? We see this long suffering love of God at multiple occasions in the Bible, both in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament.
God is gracious and merciful. He is full of loving kindness, slow to anger and relentless. Even though the sin in us angers Him, He continues to extend His love and grace in our lives.