3Hide the fugitives,
do not betray the refugees.
4 Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you;
be their shelter from the destroyer.”
9 So I weep, as Jazer weeps,
for the vines of Sibmah.
Heshbon and Elealeh,
I drench you with tears!
The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit
and over your harvests have been stilled.
Isaiah 16:3-4, 9
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
God’s character does not evolve and change like ours. God’s character does not learn and grow like ours. The character of God was not underdeveloped in the Old Testament and fully developed in the New Testament. God has never changed and never will. This pertains to His grace and mercy as it does to every aspect of His character. God has always sought to preserve life and to bless the children He created. God has never sought the destruction and suffering of any people. When we observe the punishment and discipline of people or nations in the Bible the question is not, “Why is God so angry?” The more pertinent question is, “Why did the people ignore God’s commands and do that which they knew they should not?”
The Bible is filled with God’s mercy and God’s forgiveness even predating the human life of Jesus Christ. Grace and mercy are God as much His power and sovereignty are. Sadly, as God’s mercy predated the life of Jesus, so did the sinfulness of man. If a child is told not to steal and then goes ahead and steals, would our first question be, “Why is the child receiving discipline?” or, “Why did the child commit the crime?” For most of us it would be the latter. We complain that God seems quick to judge, but we say this as we show ourselves to be even quicker to judge than He is.
In the same way that Jesus’ commands seek to free us from our slavery to sin, God has always sought to free us from the sin of Adam. God is aware that a life dictated and controlled by sin not only separates us from Him but will harm, enslave, and ultimately kill us. Why would we choose death over life? When the alternative has been explained, the warning given and the way out of death into life provided, why do we choose death over life? Before we criticize God for disciplining we should better criticize our stubbornness to the point of death.
If God declares His desire to save you, why not be saved? If God declares that your life of suffering and pain grieves Him, why not believe that His desire is for your life rather than your ultimate demise? We must come to faith in Jesus Christ to have life, but we must never deceive ourselves into believing that with Jesus Christ came the first sign of God’s desire for grace, mercy and life. God has always loved and has always recognized our need for Him in order to live. Allow yourself to be saved by faith in Jesus Christ, and allow Jesus to reunite you with the Father who has always sought your eternal salvation.