The LORD isn’t a fire-and-brimstone God in the Old Testament any more than in the New Testament. In fact, the LORD makes it clear that God doesn’t want to reign down wrath upon us. We are made in the image of God! But the LORD will not allow us to keep doing things that are destructive to ourselves, one another, and in complete rebellion against God. So, we are given instructions. When we forget, ignore, or outright rebel against these instructions, the LORD sends prophets to warn us of the consequences.
"Don't say such things," the people respond. "Don't prophesy like that. Such disasters will never come our way!" Should you talk that way, O family of Israel? Will the LORD's Spirit have patience with such behavior? If you would do what is right, you would find My words comforting. Yet to this very hour My people rise against Me like an enemy! You steal the shirts right off the backs of those who trusted you, making them as ragged as men returning from battle. You have evicted women from their pleasant homes and forever stripped their children of all that God would give them. (Micah 2:6-9 NLT)
You see, God doesn’t walk away from us. We walk away from God. The LORD simply shows us, and the world, what that looks like. Israel rejected God, so the LORD deports the people of Israel. This is the LORD’s justice. This makes it clear to the whole world that the Israelites are no longer the people of God. They are not walking together with God.
The LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel. He punished them by handing them over to their attackers until He had banished Israel from His presence. For when the LORD tore Israel away from the kingdom of David, they chose Jeroboam son of Nebat as their king. But Jeroboam drew Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin. And the people of Israel persisted in all the evil ways of Jeroboam. They did not turn from these sins until the LORD finally swept them away from His presence, just as all His prophets had warned. So Israel was exiled from their land to Assyria, where they remain to this day. (2 Kg 17:20-23 NLT)
How about you? Do you see God as a fire-and-brimstone type of God who wants to inflict punishment on people? Do you see God’s patience – exhausting every other avenue before punishing us for our rebellion? Do you see God’s justice?