Big Fish…Big Attitude – Old Testament God vs. New Testament God

But Jonah thought this was utterly wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Come on, Lord! Wasn’t this precisely my point when I was back in my own land? This is why I fled to Tarshish earlier! I know that you are a merciful and compassionate God, very patient, full of faithful love, and willing not to destroy. At this point, Lord, you may as well take my life from me, because it would be better for me to die than to live.”

The Lord responded, “Is your anger a good thing?” But Jonah went out from the city and sat down east of the city. There he made himself a hut and sat under it, in the shade, to see what would happen to the city (Jonah 4:1-5, Common English Bible).

“Preacher! God is not the same, yesterday, today and forever. God isn’t even the same in the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the Old Testament God is vengeful. God is full of wrath. God is not only waiting for us to slip up, sometimes God is even the one placing the banana peel on the ground in front of us. Then, on the other hand, the God we see in the New Testament is a God that is full of love and forgiveness and grace. There is nothing of wrath there.”

I have heard all that many times over. Well, except for the banana peel part. Only one person said that and you know who you are. And, as far as that last sentence, “There is nothing of wrath there?” I would suggest you go spend some time reading Revelation. While I don’t particularly like reading Revelation, there is plenty of wrath in those pages.Equally untrue is the idea that God is only wrathful and

Equally untrue is the idea that God is only wrathful and vengeful in the Old Testament. As angry as Jonah was with God and as much as he might have wanted to escape God’s presence, Jonah clearly recognized the love, forgiveness, and grace of God. Jonah recognized it and wasn’t happy about it at all. Jonah even said this was why he ran away in the first place.

In one way I guess I understand Jonah’s attitude. Who would want to make the trip, do all the work and it turns out for nothing because the boss changes his mind? As a prophet, Jonah had no earthly boss. His boss was God and he knew before he ever got started how this thing was going to turn out.

The point of all this is to say, God really is the same on both the pages of the Old Testament and the New Testament. We may read and interpret the two sets of Scripture differently. The various writers of both the Old and New Testaments may have placed emphasis on different elements of God’s character.

Think about it this way. I, a finite creature, in a single day, can be happy, sad, pleasant, angry, frustrated, giving, comforting and so much more. If I, a finite creature can be all this and more in a single day, how much more can the infinite God be during all of created, divine history? Further, with God all that and more, there is no possible way the Biblical writers could record every aspect of the divine personality.

In short, God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. God never changes. Thanks be to God for the grace given to each of us, even if sometimes we fail to see it.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reseved

Author:

Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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