There is a strange teaching out there that the God of the Old Testament is an angry, critical God while the God of the New Testament is a loving and redeeming God. Yet in both the Old Testament (Malachi 3:6) and the New Testament (Hebrews 13:8) we find that God does not change but is the same now as He always has been and always will be.
The wars of ancient Israel cause many to question how the God of the Old Testament can be considered a loving God. One must first understand that war was never God’s plan. God did promise the land of Palestine or present-day Israel to the decedents of Abraham however the fact that many Egyptians left Egypt with the Hebrews (Exodus 12:38) tells us the land was not just for Abraham’s biological decedents but for believers in the true God. Tales of the Hebrews certainly went before them. The people of Palestine certainly received the news of the plagues of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea and destruction of the Pharaoh with his army. Just as Egyptians were welcome to join the Hebrews when they left Egypt, those that inhabited the land of Palestine could embrace the faith of Abraham and make their home with them. God’s purpose was not to wage war against the inhabitants in military fashion. God’s plan was to drive them out with hornets (Exodus 23:28) The reason the Hebrews had to fight military battles to take the land was due to their lack of faith. When we, as people, doubt God, we often make our battles much more difficult than what God had intended.
I have always been taught that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. The two compliment each other. Many Christian believers skim over the Old Testament sanctuary and its services without understanding the depth of its teachings. The denomination I belong spends a lot of time studying and teaching the lessons of love, grace and redemption found in the sanctuary. This note is far too brief for me to go into it. The Old Testament Hebrews did not have the life of Christ to study so God used the sanctuary to teach them the gospel. The same gospel we read in the New Testament was taught to the Hebrews through symbolism. I use to find all this talk about the sanctuary as incredibly boring but as I have learned more about it I see more and more how the message of God’s love was profoundly taught to the ancient Hebrews through it. That is why King David longed to build a permanent sanctuary for the Lord and why his son Solomon did. The pagan temples were all about trying to please angry gods through sacrifice but in the Old Testament the sacrifice was a symbol of a loving God who would come and lay down His life for the sinner. What a contrast! But that is only the tip of the ice berg in the loving symbolism of the sanctuary. Every service and every piece of furniture had a symbolic meaning that was and is part of the gospel message.
God doesn’t change. God’s first words to sinful man were not critical or angry words. They were loving words. As Adam and Eve hid in the garden, God called out “Where are you?” God looking for man just as Jesus described the Shepard looking for the lost sheep.