If you read my last post, you’ll know that I was hoping to have a few posts up here about God, and who He is, specifically to say that He is both a God of love and vengeance in both the old testament and new. You will also know that I’d set a goal to have the first post up last thursday.
Even if you didn’t read it, you can probably guess it didn’t go up.
As I have been struggling to begin this series, I’ve realized that more importantly than proving examples to begin, it may be more important to start with some definitions. What do I mean when I say God is loving? And what do I mean by vengeful? What does the greater world mean by it?
So let’s start there.
Love, obviously, looks like different things to different people. Even God’s love in it’s consistency has changed over time- each story in the bible shows a difference side to God and who He is, and what it means for us who believe in Him. But there are three things that God does over and over again to show us that He cares for us. These three include:
A)Revealing Himself- From walking in the garden with Adam to the visions in John’s revelations, God is never one to hide. He shows His love and power so that others may believe in Him. He reveals who He is and what He is over and over so that we may understand him. The idea is that in seeing, we as people can believe in Him, so that we might try to comprehend what He does and what it means. And so the first step in loving us is God’s ability and willingness to let us see him.
B)Giving- God’s love is not limited to a feeling; some of the old testament examples will really show a generous side to God that we may not think of. Most christians live under the premise that everything we have belongs to God, so everything is a gift. And some of those gifts are small, but many more are great, and furthermore, life-changing. God shows us His love in what He gives.
C)Mercy and Grace- These should sound familiar to anyone whose ever been within 10 feet of a church. God’s mercy and grace are qualities that make Him different from other God’s that we are exposed to. We consider God to be loving because He has mercy on us, even when we don’t deserve it. The easiest of all three to comprehend, this is where most people see God as loving.
These three categories, while not the only way God loves, will cover all of the things that I will post as examples. By understanding these, we can understand what it means to say that we have a loving God, and how He’s been showing us the whole time.
The vengeful side of God is a little easier to understand, although vengeful doesn’t always translate the way we’d like it too. When we use this word to describe God, we don’t mean a petty competition. God’s vengeance is payment for the disobedience in the world, and for the disbelief of His greatness that makes leaders fall away. It is the justice system that is often nullified by the grace and mercy part of love, and the part where God, in His ultimateness, exhibits his power. God’s vengeance is the (deserved) wrath that comes from being all-mighty. And while it’s most commonly known for it’s use to annihilate groups of old testament people, it doesn’t stop at there. And it doesn’t always mean groups of people either- sometimes, it’s personal.
This series that I’m working on is going to apply more to people who already know God, or know about God, but I invite everyone to read it. if you aren’t a believer, I hope that you’ll muddle through anyway. It will give participation value to your next conversation with those crazy christian friends of yours, although I hope that these writings will make them seem just a little less crazy.
But now that we’ve laid the definitions out, I feel more confident in begging to write my thoughts. Understanding this view point will help you understand the examples.
I hope you’ll all read along.