"God's Love in the Old Testament" - Recap 4



Recap 4 covering chapters 10 & 11




Recap 4 covering chapters 10 & 11


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


A. Overview


Chapter 10 – Blessed or Cursed – the Choice is Yours

10.1 The Law of Choice

10.2 Introducing Blessings and Curses

10.3 Blessings and Curses for Israel

10.4 ‘Obedience' to what?

10.5 Failure – Rebuke – Repentance – Restoration

10.6 Living in the Blessing of God

10.7 Conclusions      

Chapter 11 - The Judgment of God as seen in the Old Testament

11.1 The meaning of God's wrath and anger and the purpose of his judgment

11.2 Discipline is training for an outcome

11.3 Correction is action to bring change of behaviour

11.4 Judgment is actions in line with justice to bring change

11.5 God's Righteousness: His activity is always right and never wrong

11.6 The Reasons for God's Judgment

11.7 The Forms of God's Judgment, the ways God works

11.8 Grace & Mercy: How these characteristics of God are constantly seen.

11.9 And So?



B. Detail


Chapter 10 – Blessed or Cursed – the Choice is Yours


The ‘law of choice' may be very simply stated:

God gives us clear choices, we have the freedom to make them, and they bring consequences.


We see in the Bible that God gives instructions and sometimes people disobey them. They clearly have the choice and the ability to reject God.


I n the following chapters, God's actions that often bring complaints from those who haven't bothered to read the Bible and have not taken in the truth of what is declared there, is the subject of our examination but in every case we will see God's actions are in respect of a person or people and in every case God will have made very clear what the consequences will be, that follow from different courses of action.


The results are because of the choice made by a human being!  We must hold this before us as we look at these case studies that will follow in later chapters.  WE make choices and WE bring on ourselves the consequences.

A ‘blessing'  is simply a decree of God's goodness that has its origins in heaven.   

A ‘curse'  by comparison, is simply a decree from God for bad that has its origins in heaven.


We see these in operation in the Old Testament, in respect of:

  • the blessing promised Abram by God,
  • Isaac blessing his sons,
  • Jacob blessing his sons
  • Israel as a nation.


The call was always to be obedient to God's guidance (often His Law) and failure to do that had negative consequences which appear to be a combination of acts of God and acts of other nations against Israel.


In the book of Judges we see a cycle of Failure – Rebuke – Repentance – Restoration, and in that we see God's desire to continually draw Israel back to Himself and back into a place of blessing.


Israel knew blessing when they:

  • lived according to the Law God gave them, because it worked, AND
  • by God's acts of goodness that flowed out of His relationship with them.

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Chapter 11 - The Judgment of God as seen in the Old Testament


Anger the expression of negative emotions of indignation and displeasure.


God's wrath is a cool, calm, purposeful bringing of judgment that is deserved, anger that has determined that action should be taken against this wrong-doing, i.e. anger in action!


God's wrath is thus seen to be His anger or indignant displeasure that is of such a magnitude, because of the nature of the sin, that it results in action by God against those committing the sin with the purpose of bringing an end to the sin and, where possible, a change in their behaviour


Discipline means training that develops self-control and character.


Correction is very similar – action taken to bring about change of behaviour.


In terms of the purpose or nature, in its simplest form, God's Judgment is either: 

1. Death, where God sees that nothing He can say or do will change the heart or mind of the individual in question, and so He stops their ongoing misdemeanour by removing the person, or


2. Corrective action, in order to bring people to their senses so that they will return to God, to a place where they are able to live as He designed them to live, receiving all the goodness He has planned for them, i.e. it stops a person following the course they are following so that they follow a new path that is not hurtful, harming or destructive, or  


3. Corrective action designed to bring change as above, but which, if not heeded, will bring death.


We note therefore that it will depend on: 

•  whether the person or group will not change (and death is the likely outcome), or

•  whether they will change (and something lesser is more applicable to help bring about the change). 

Everything about God – His thoughts and His actions – are always exactly right. Because He has total knowledge and total wisdom He never ever makes a mistake.


In terms of the instrument God uses, God's judgment appears to be one of two kinds:


a) Those involving freak acts of nature, e.g. weather conditions or earthquakes etc.

b) Those involving other people:     

  • Those where God directs action to happen
  • Those where God lifts off His hand of restraint and the enemy are allowed to let their unrestrained hatred for others to rise up and cause them to attack.


It is God's grace that allows a people to carry on rejecting Him while He sends His messengers to them again and again.


To conclude, when God brings discipline or judgement, it is always a form of remedial action.


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C. And So?


These two chapters are about the activities of God. What may be slightly surprising to us is that they are dependent on the actions of people.


When people obey God and seek to come into relationship with Him and conform to His design laws, then He acts to do good to them and they benefit from the fact that the laws work and bring peace and harmony to society.


When people fail to live by His design rules God does not sit back and do nothing. love requires action be taken to bring those people back into a good place with Him. Yet to do this he will not violate their free will.


This means that whatever action He takes may be of a long-term and perhaps not-so-obvious nature.


Wrong actions may produce God indignant displease that we call anger, and if the actions persist and increase or are of a sufficiently bad nature, anger may develop into God's wrath which is simply a determination to act against the wrong.


Actions against wrong may be discipline where the wrong is more in the nature of an attitude or behaviour of weakness and training is the required outcome, or correction where a specific change of behaviour is required.


When these actions have a punitive edge to them we tend to speak about the judgment of God which is simply a corrective action to bring about the end of a behaviour, either by death (where the individual is intransigent and refuses to change) or some other corrective action where there is seen a more flexible heart in the individual or people as discerned by the Lord.


Such judgments may be a) God simply allowing the individual to follow their own path until they come to their senses or b) He brings a specific thing against them to hasten the change.


All of these things are designed to bring an end to unrighteousness and bring about a change of behaviour so that the end result is a restoration of relationship with the Lord where His blessing is able to flow again through their obedience that we noted at the beginning of this section.


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