It’s not common we think of the Old Testament as tales of God’s mercy. We usually think of the OT God as the Holy and set apart version of Himself and the NT God as the gracious and merciful version of Himself. As though He changed. But He didn’t change because He never changes, so why did He seem so severe back then?
Lately I’ve been reading through Genesis and more than anything else I have been struck by how merciful God is to the first family.
It’s no secret that Adam and Eve’s family was pretty messed up. Eve of course fell for the lies of the serpent and took on the role as leader and ate from the forbidden tree, while Adam stood idly by ignoring his role to lead and protect his wife.
Sin entered the world and into their family. And boy did they feel the effects of it immediately. Their perfect life in Eden was no more. But God was still gracious even amongst the curse. Although the first humans rejected Him and the separation between them was now gaping, He still provided them with the comfort and luxury of clothes.
Why would He do that? Surely they didn’t deserve His provision because they denied Him knowingly. Shouldn’t they of had to fend for themselves after causing such destruction?
Then Eve gave painful birth to Cain and Abel and the drama ensued. Cain’s jealousy for Abel’s favor with the Lord became so great that his anger got the best of him and he killed his brother. He did this all after the Lord lovingly warned him of his sin and its desire to consume him.
And after Cain ignored God’s warning, committed murder and was banished to be a wanderer, God protected Him by saying, “If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” Why would He do this? Cain surely did not deserve God’s mercy on his life, if he is capable of such a heinous act.
The truth is that God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is just as Holy now as He was back then. And He was just as gracious then as He is today. And I am just as evil as Eve and Cain. And I should be banished as a naked wanderer too. As should you.
But His justice was made right in Christ and His graciousness continues on and on and on. The Lord withheld so much severity on this family, as He does to me. And you. In fact, the next time you are reaping what you have sown in the form of discipline, think of all the way’s you are being sustained by Christ.
Every meal you eat, bit of oxygen you breathe, piece of clothing you cover your body with is God’s graciousness being poured out on you. And take heart, because He never changes.
All through the ages…He remains same.