I learned from that super smart Old Testament Theology phD pastor that… our God, the Father, actually exhibits many traits of a mother.
God waits and waits before using the final and ultimate punishment on us. He’s very patient. Chapter 27 talks about when the Israelites are getting ready to go into the Promise land, Jericho, and God is explaining to them where to build an altar. God says that when they say blessings, they have to go up to Mt Gerizim, and when they have curses (as a result of disobedience), they have to go up to Mt. Ebal.
Yet God commands that the altar be built on Mt. Ebal! Which is interesting, because why would we build the altar (which is where sacrifices are made and where the people worship God and can find God there) on the cursing mountain? Wouldn’t it make more sense to worship God on the blessing mountain?
God promises to meet that at their sin and evil wickedness. God still wants to look for them and find them. And at the altar is where we can turn back. God is actively seeking the Israelites. And when we do wrong (similar to the cursing mountain), God is right there, at the altar, there for us and ready for us when we turn back.
In chapter 28, the first part of the chapter talks about how the Israelites will be blessed if they obey. But then the second part, which takes up 75% of the chapter, talks about the punishment and curses if they are disobedient.And the pastor asked, why is the punishment part so much longer than the blessing part? Is it because our God is a mean and harsh and angry God that punishes heavier than He is willing to bless?
But actually, upon a more careful look at the punishment part, you realize that its because God gives them so many chances, so many chances to turn back before the ultimate punishment. So instead of counting to three (as many parents do) and then punishing, our God counts to like, 100. The reason why the punishment passage is so long is that there are so many warnings along the way. God gives some mild curses as warnings, trying to give us opportunities to turn back when we can. This shows God’s patience and love.
During the class, when I was thinking and researching this passage, as well as realizing that this seemingly dry passage shows such great grace and love and patience exhibited by our God, I suddenly was very moved. By seeing and knowing God’s extreme patience and love, and knowing is power and glory, suddenly made my pain not that big a deal.
My pain and my loss seems like nothing, compared to God’s greatness and His deep deep love and His amazing character. In an interesting way, the knowledge of who God is and a closer look at His love for us, soothes the pain and takes my worries away. God is not only my bandaid, He’s my vitamin E and ointment which soothes and heals. Not always the family remedies you may see online and hear from your friends, but God’s ways are surely the most effective as well as the best!