"God's Love in the Old Testament" - Recap 2



Recap 2 covering chapters 4 to 6




Recap 2 covering chapters 4 to 6


This is a synopsis of the first three chapters Part 2.  (If you click on any of he chapter headings they will take you to that chapter)


A. Overview


Chapter 4 – Introducing Love

4.1 Comparing Testimony about God with His Activity is Important

4.2 Declaring the Nature of God as shown in the Bible

4.3 Setting out a Biblical World View: an overview revealing God's love

4.4 To Summarise

Chapter 5 - Questions of Love

5.1 Reviewing the Previous Chapter

5.2 The Love of God declared in the O.T

5.3 But what is love?

5.4 More Questions about God's Love

5.5 To Summarise

Chapter 6 – Introducing Goodness

6.1 What we mean by Goodness

6.2 God's Goodness Generally Proclaimed in the Bible

6.3 God's Goodness Declared in Detail after the Exile

6.4 Imagining Love and Goodness in Action

6.5 Looking at the Bible aware of God's true characteristics

6.6 Recap



B. Detail


Chapter 4 – Introducing Love


The Heart of Chapters 4 & 5:   The Bible is uniform in declaring that God is a God of love. When we realise that we then need to look at all that happens in the Bible and see it in that light. As we look at the beginning and end of the world according to God's design, we see all the hallmarks of His love in it.


It is the fact that if the whole of the Old Testament testifies to a particular positive characteristic of God, then they must have believed that in the face of all the happened to them – which includes things which we, at first sight, might have negative questions about.


Ex 34:6,7   “the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”


Two reasons why so many of us doubt God's love are, I am sure:

a) Our personal emotion history – which blurs thinking

b) Casual and careless reading of the Bible.


The Biblical world view makes sense of everything we know, like no other world view does.


We may summarise it as:

  • God made the world perfect,
  • we human beings rejected Him so that the way we live makes the world go wrong, and
  • God now works to draw us back to Himself and back to a way that restores us, in a measure at least, to what we were designed to be.

Return to top of page 



Chapter 5 - Questions of Love


The Biblical world view that shows that, though we reject God, He constantly seeks to reach out to us to draw us to Himself and back into a life of peace and harmony and goodness.    


God's love is declared throughout the Old and New Testaments


Because God IS love however He expresses Himself, through word or deed, it is an expression of love.


'Love' - warm affection, attachment, liking, benevolence or strong benign feelings for.


Yet the Bible puts it more strongly in respect of God, it is:

"selfless, sacrificial, unrestricted good will towards all others"


When we think of the different ways a parent expresses love towards their child, we can understand that God expresses His love to us in a variety of ways:

  • when He blesses us with His goodness
  • when He brings discipline into our lives to train and strengthen us
  • when He allows us to weather the storms of life for similar reasons.


This love is revealed in His wonderful provision for us at Creation, and even in giving us free will knowing we would misuse it.  


The signs of His invisible presence are seen in: 

  • His moving in the form of His Holy Spirit 
  • having put inner yearnings in us for more than the material world 
  • similar human yearnings for right and for justice 
  • the beautiful world that screams of design 
  • the witness of the Bible itself 
  • the evidence of Jesus Christ.

Return to top of page 



Chapter 6 – Introducing Goodness


The Bible declares throughout that God is good.


A dictionary defines ‘good' as   having suitable or desirable qualities; promoting health, welfare or happiness; benevolent, not troublesome  


We find this declaration – that God is good – appearing a number of times in the Old Testament narrative.


In what is chronologically the end of the Old Testament, when Israel returned to the Promised Land after the Exile in Babylon , we find Ezra the scribe reading the Law to the returning remnant. They then pray and declare before the Lord what they know of Him. There is substantial   content   to what they say about Him, that gives body to the claim that He is good.

  • God is good because of all of His abundant provision, not only in Creation but in His dealings with Abraham, and later with Moses as he delivered Israel  from  Egypt.
  • God is good because of the gracious way He dealt with wayward Israel after He delivered them from slavery in Egypt.
  • God is good because of   the gracious way He dealt with wayward Israel   in the centuries they lived   in the Promised Land, right up to and through the Exile.


To appreciate ‘goodness' a useful exercise is to think what characteristics we would observe in a person who is complete ‘good' (e.g. Jesus)


Something we will see the more we study the Bible, is that descriptions of God – good descriptions, descriptions we would be very happy with - abound!


We need to review the activities of God in this light.



C. And So?


We have established that the claim throughout the Bible is that God is love and loving and that, as an expression of that, He is good.


We have looked at definitions of ‘love' and ‘goodness'. We have then sought to apply them to God.


Our task for the remainder of the book is to view all of God's activities through these two lenses. We may not understand it at first, but can we see that everything He does (and that is not the same as what people do) is an expression of love and of goodness? That is the task of this book.


Return to top of page