As I read the Old Testament, one theme constantly recurs: sinners who deserve death, receiving life. Under the law, our sin deserves death–but that is not how God responds.
The Law shows us who we are, like a mirror. It displays the gravity and seriousness of our sin. It does not lie, but plainly states the reality of our evil and the consequence it deserves.
At the same time, God’s character shows in how he responds to our sin. The most evil king of Israel, Ahab, was visited by God several times. Although Ahab was evil, God’s heart was for him to know “that I am the Lord” (which was why God gave Ahab victory not once, but twice, over Ben-Hadad). And after Ahab humbled himself–not even repenting–God noticed, and delayed his trouble until the time of his son. Ahab’s idolatry deserved death, but God gave him many chances to repent and even showed himself to Ahab through giving him victories in battle.
David is another example of someone who, under the Law, deserved death. He committed murder and adultery. Unlike Ahab, however, he truly repented. “The Lord has put away your sin; you will not die” was the answer to his repentance. In the future, God was faithful to his word: he counts David as one with no sin, later on in Kings, and His promise to “retain a lamp for the House of David” echoes throughout the chronicles of his successors’ failures.
In Hosea, Gomer’s adultery deserves death. But God gives him a different response. “And I said to her, ‘You must live with me for many days. You must not be a prostitute, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.'” One of the special things I found was not only his forgiveness to Gomer, but a promise that he would be faithful as well.
To believe in Jesus is to believe in cancelled debts. I just think it’s amazing that there are so many examples before he even comes, of God’s law in one place and his relationship with us still the same.
Until next time,