Once again we have a passage directly from God concerning the sins that particularly offend him. Against the sorcerers, adulterers, liars, those who exploit the vulnerable, and those who reject the sojourners he will bear witness at judgment.

Do you want to know what I see in this list? A collection of people who mislead, exploit, and abuse others for their own gain. Those who can’t be trusted. Those against whom many have no recourse, no method of defense.

It’s a theme.

People talk about the violent, angry god of the Old Testament. I don’t see it. I never did, but I’ve now read through, over the last two years, all but Chronicles, and I see it even less than ever. I see the opposite.

He’s called a vengeful god, with the implication that he is petty and vindictive, that it is entirely about whether or not he receives his dues. Let’s be clear, obedience is his due, but that isn’t at the core of his wrath. It never is.

He lets people turn away from him. He lets them violate his holy spaces and break his covenants. In response, he withholds his blessing, his protection. Tell me that doesn’t sound fair? You don’t uphold your end of the bargain, I’m not going to keep mine.

Fire from heaven, wholesale destruction, the truly devastating judgment? That is reserved for nations of cruelty. Nations that oppress and betray and violate. God’s wrath pours out on those who harm and exploit the ones they should be protecting. God’s wrath is against those who hurt his children.

I see love.

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