Our Old Testament Reading today shows us the heart of God. Many people think that the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament are like two very different God’s but they aren’t really – which you see if you truly get to know Him. It is just the way that God is presented in the New Testament is slightly different and an eye opener for those that were following the Law.
The God of the Old Testament appears at first look to be a God of Judgement and destruction and both our Old Testament and Gospel readings today, mention Sodom and Gomorrah. These were two famous cities, in the time of Abraham, back in Genesis. They were situated in a lush plain and were prosperous and wealthy. God destroyed the cities raining down Fire and brimstone on them from heaven. He had good reason – they were cities full of sin. In Sodom’s case it appears it was a city full of rapists, rape was not merely tolerated but actively encouraged there.
Those that dwelled in Sodom and Gomorrah were hurting others and themselves, beyond the limit that God could tolerate. If God could have found even 10 good people living in that city He would have spared it – our Old Testament reading makes it clear that God does not want to destroy anyone, He loves us. So why all the Rules when they put us on the wrong side of the fence from Him?
You don’t teach a toddler theology – you teach him to love and you teach him the Rules so he stays safe and doesn’t hurt himself, others, or property. The newly freed Hebrew slaves from Egypt were spiritual toddlers, who were loved, rescued, provided for and taught the Rules, by a mighty loving parent.
We still need the law today. In areas with no law and no police – chaos and lawlessness reign. The strong hold all by might and the weak are preyed upon. They are not nice places to live. God was is and always will be a God of justice and he values justice, fairness, honesty and caring for those less well off than ourselves far more than the animal sacrifices that used to be performed in the Temple.
The New Testament doesn’t change the fact that God highly values justice etc., But we have gained a better understanding from his son of who the Father really is, and the real rules are written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit starting from the day, we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. It’s called Grace – I thank God that as a Gentile I don’t have to keep the 613 rules that the Jews need to follow. I don’t even have to worry about the 10 commandments – because they were for the Jews too. I just have to keep 4 Rules.
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your might and Trust Him.
- Love myself – I am his child and his creation – He doesn’t make mistakes.
- Love my neighbour as much as I love myself – that’s anyone who helps me and anyone I can help.
- Obey Jesus.
Keep those and the Grace and mercy Jesus paid for, has you covered for the rest. Because we are all at different levels in our walks, some are babies, some are toddlers and some are mature Christians – but we all still need his Grace and mercy, because we are all just redeemed sinners.