Points to Ponder week of 3/12/23

In High School, one odd attack I would often have to debate against with my friends was that they believed the God of the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT) were different. They pointed to the emphasis in the OT on God’s wrath and to the focus in the NT on God’s grace. Yet all this argument revealed was how little they truly paid attention to either testament. The story of Ananias and Sapphira helps to remind us that God is true when he states in Malachi 3:6, “Because I, the LORD, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed.” And He reminds us of the same in James 1:17-18, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.” God has not changed, nor will He ever. He is consistent in His attributes and in His character.
As we study His Word we should look for that consistency of character. God is a God of grace and patience all throughout the OT. His immediate response to mankind’s sin is proper consequences followed by the grace of not destroying humanity, but clothing them, caring for them, and keeping them from eternal life in a fallen state (Gen. 3:21-24). He says of Himself in His self-revelation to Moses on Sinai, “The LORD—the LORD is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth, maintaining faithful love to a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But he will not leave the guilty unpunished, bringing the consequences of the fathers’ iniquity on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation.” Then He goes on to prove it through 40+ years in the desert and with generation after generation who refuse to stay faithful to Him. Even after all the rebellion He continues to declare in Malachi 3:6-7, “Because I, the LORD, have not changed, you descendants of Jacob have not been destroyed. “Since the days of your ancestors, you have turned from my statutes; you have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the LORD of Armies.” Today we are often quick to pick up on the threads of His grace but we forget that in His grace He is still awe-inspiringly holy. And as we face the dishonesty of Ananias and Sapphira, we see the truth that He has declared time and again in Proverbs “Dishonest scales are detestable to the LORD, but an accurate weight is his delight.”
So as we consider the character of God from Testament to Testament, what are some ways you see His grace run through both Testaments? What are some ways you see His justice and holiness run through both Testaments? And how can we walk with a healthy fear of the Lord as we live in His presence as His friends?

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