There is a common mistake many make when approaching the Bible to learn about God and his nature. That mistake is that the God of the Old Testament is somehow not the same as the God of the New Testament. God is who He is and He does not change so who God is, his character and his nature, are the same from the beginning of the Bible to the end.
When one reads the opening Chapter of Isaiah, a major prophet in the Old Testament, the news Isaiah had to report from God is not good. At that time king Ahaz was evil because of his deeds and because of his heart. He had no room for God and would not submit to God’s plan and order. At this same time Ahaz has many enemies and the nation of Judah is living in a precarious world where Assyria is just one campaign away from turning its attention to Judah for conquest.
One might ask why does God allow this war and suffering. But the truth is the war and suffering are our own doing. It is the outflow of our rebellion and sin against God. Death is what God promised Adam as the result of sin. While God allows us to be rebels that does not mean that God will cover the consequences of our evil if we desire to continue in our rebellion.
18 “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20 but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken Isaiah 1:18-20 ESV
God speaking through the prophet Isaiah is reaching out to the people of Judah and to their King. Let us reason together. Let us argue. Let us come to an understanding about what is right and who is in control. God in his mercy and grace is telling the people there is an alternative to the coming war and destruction. But they need to listen and engage with him. Ahaz being full of his own self refuses to listen and the resulting judgments eventually result in the nation of Judah being “eaten by the sword”. We as readers of the history blame God and see God as fire and judgement on the people.
But what we see of God recorded over hundreds and thousands of years in these verses is the same for us living in this current New Testament age. God has sent us better than a prophet. God himself came in the form of a man and provided the path to turn our scarlet sins into garments white as snow. Each of us now has an opportunity to have the Spirit of God drawing us from rebellion to reconciliation. Just as God wanted for the people of Judah he wants for us now.
8 And when [Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:8-11 ESV
God’s plan and his grace from the beginning in Genesis to the terrifying end in Revelations is the same. Come let us reason together. At this moment we still live in the time of grace and mercy where reconciliation and submission to God perfect plan is available. Are you convicted of your sins? If so then the Holy Spirit of God is reaching out to you. Reason with him and be willing to obey. God’s plans are good and his quality is an unchanging trustworthy rock in a time of ever-changing lawlessness.