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Is God Punishing Us or Protecting Us?

 I think many Christians and people, in general, have two different views of God when it comes to the Old Testament and the New Testament. People tend to view the “God of the Old Testament” as an angry God who brings his punishment and wrath down on anyone who does not follow his laws. And they view the “God of the New Testament” as a gracious, loving and merciful God.

Now, I understand that there are two different covenants, the old and the new, but God does not change from the Old Testament to the New Testament. In fact, God has not changed for all eternity. He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). I think it would be incredibly helpful if we changed our generally negative view of the “God of the Old Testament.”

God is not an angry God. He is a loving God. In fact, God is love (1 John 4:7). God does not give us the laws or statues of the Old Testament, because He is angry and wants to punish us. He gives us His laws and precepts because He loves us and wants to see us live long and prosperous lives. He gives us the law because He loves us and knows what’s best for our lives.

Deuteronomy 6:20-25 says, “In the future, when your son asks you, ‘What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees, and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?’ tell him…The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today. And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness.” The Lord has commanded us to obey his laws so that we will prosper and live. He does not give us His rules to punish us but to protect us.

Just as any parent wants what’s best for his or her children, God wants what is best for us. As parents, we set boundaries and rules for our kids. We do this out of love because we want to protect them and see them live long, abundant lives.

When my son was three years old, he began riding a bike with training wheels. He was so excited to have his first “real bike.” The fact that he had training wheels is a strong indicator that he was just beginning to learn to ride a bike. For our son’s safety and protection, we set some boundaries and rules for where and when he could ride his bike. He could only ride his bike in the presence of Mom or Dad, and he was limited to only riding in our driveway. He wanted so badly to have the freedom to ride his bike by himself and in the street.

Now, we did not limit him to only riding his bike in our presence because we were angry and wanted to make his life miserable. No, we set these boundaries, because we love him and wanted him to live a long life. It was not punishment to confine him to the driveway. It was for his protection, because we did not want him getting run over by a car. Of course, as he grew older and lost the training wheels, he was able to ride his bike all over the neighborhood.

God is our Heavenly Father. He does not give us laws and precepts because he is angry and wants to punish us. He gives us commands because He loves us and wants what’s best for our lives. He wants us to live long, prosperous lives. Let’s change our view of God. The “God of the Old Testament” and the “God of the New Testament” is the same God. He is our Heavenly Father, and He loves and cares for us. Therefore, we love and obey Him not out of fear but out of love.

Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road Loganville, GA 30052, the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St Monroe, GA 30655 and the Oconee Campus: 1275 Lenru Road Bogart, GA 30622.
Phone: (770) 466-3159
Twitter: @JohnnyHowes