In answering this question of how God and humans relate we need to first look at how God views humans and how he connects with them in different parts of the Old Testament. What we’ve seen throughout the whole Old Testament and in our every day lives is whether we decide to to make a good decision or we decide to make a bad decision. In this particular case, we either follow God’s Law and do what he asks us to do or we act like cowards and disobey him which leads to sinfulness and going down the wrong path. When God first created man every relationship was meant to be without flaw, however when sin entered the world the really good relationship between God and man took a turn for the worse.
It is only fitting to start talking about how the relationships between God and human were before the fall in Genesis 3. This comes from the Pentateuch of the Bible. It started off in Genesis chapter 2 which stated, “Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). When Adam was made in the image of God, he had no flaws and he had a very good relationship with God. Now Eve was created because God did not want Adam alone so he made Adam go into a very deep sleep. When Adam was sleeping Eve was created with one of Adam’s ribs and all was good when he woke up.
See at the beginning of Genesis chapter 3, Eve is having a conversation with the Serpent, and it states, “The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:2-5). The act of temptation starts to happen and that this means is to be persuaded to make a bad decision. “The serpent” or devil is tempting Eve to eat from the forbidden tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden and Eve does end up falling to temptation and doing it. The once flawless relationship that God and Adam and Even now had flaws and from this point on it just got worse.
Another great connection between how God and humans relate to each other is in the book of Genesis, but this time talking about Noah. According to Genesis chapter 6, “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth (Genesis 6:11-13). God saw all the evilness in the world that was happening after the fall and he wanted to wipe the earth clean of everyone living on it.
What was interesting about God’s actions here is that he told Noah that he was to build an ark and him and his family would survive the flood that was about to come upon the world. At the end of Genesis chapter 6, God explains what Noah has to do in order to be saved from the flood, “But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them. Noah did everything just as God commanded him (Genesis 6:18-22). The connection here is that Noah followed all of God’s commands and did exactly what he was supposed to do which God rewarded him by sparing his life and making him the example to restart humanity when he wiped everyone away.
Moving on from the Pentateuch, from the Historical book section of the Old Testament, I am going to focus on the book of Judges. There are many references that show the relationship between God and humans however I am going to focus on one of them. This example comes from Judges chapter 13 and all throughout the first 13 chapters of Judges, the Israelites kept doing things that were evil in the eyes of the Lord and kept disobeying God’s commands. According to Judges 13, it states, “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, so the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years” (Judges 13:1). This relationship between God and humans was not very strong because of the Israelites disobeying God; in return God punished his people for this. Keeping a good relationship with God and obeying what he says, not only creates a stronger relationship with God, but also creates a trusting and almost perfect relationship with him.
1 Samuel 15 shows another way how God relates to humans by stating, “Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?” “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king (1 Samuel 15:17-20). A bit of context behind these verses is that God had said that Saul was going to be king over Israel after Samuel. God had specific instructions of what he had told Saul to do so that he would be king after Samuel. Saul and God did not have a good relationship and this made God regret making Saul king. As you can see every relationship since The Fall, this far has been flawed in some way because of the disobeying of God’s Law.
Getting into the Poetic section of the Old Testament, the book of Proverbs in my opinion shows the best example of how God and humans relate. Proverbs chapter 9 highlights the positive and negative effects of a relationship with God. According to Proverbs 9, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer (Proverbs 9:10-12). In this proverb God is showing that you will have wisdom and understanding of the Holy One with a positive relationship with God. We need to be wise with our actions we do in the real world because our wisdom will reward us. God rewards us when we do positive things to benefit others than ourselves. The good thing is that if you do things that are selfish and not for God, you have the ability to repent and have those sins you have committed cleaned from you. What the verse if “you are a mocker, you alone will suffer” means is that if you do not repent and ask for forgiveness of your sins you will not have a good relationship with God and will not have a perfect relationship with him in heaven.
The final part of the Old Testament I will be discussing how God and humans relate comes from the Prophets. The book I am going to use is the Book of Jonah. In Jonah Chapter 1, God has specific orders for him. He states, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah 1:2). Now Jonah got into a boat and went the opposite direction and disobeyed what God had ordered to do. Further down in the chapter something happens on his boat ride. “Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.” Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land (Jonah 1:4-5;7-9).
Jonah’s relationship with God took a turn for the worse because he did not listen to God’s orders and horrible things happened to him and the people around him. Jonah actually tells the people on the ship to throw him overboard because that is what God wants. After Jonah is thrown overboard he is swallowed by a whale and from that moment on, Jonah lived his life for the Lord in an obedient way, but did so reluctantly. He preached to Nineveh the word of God and the Ninevites believed in God and what Jonah was preaching to them. Jonah wanted the Ninevites totally destroyed, but God wanted to save them at first because he thought God was being too nice to the Ninevites. In the book of Jonah, Jonah is not a very good example of how we have the best relationship with God. According to Jonah chapter 4, “He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live” (Jonah 4:2-4). Even though Jonah was a big cry baby with everything he did, he was still obedient to God. We can apply this to our lives when we are throwing our tantrums, we are still to remain obedient to God’s calling and work in our lives.
In conclusion, we either follow God’s Law and do what he asks us to do or we act like cowards and disobey him which leads to sinfulness and gets us going down the wrong path. We can see that this is true throughout the Old Testament because Adam and Eve had that perfect relationship with God and it was messed up with sinful actions, just as well as Jonah and King Saul.
Relationships are more broken and take a lot of work to keep with God because of sin in the world. However, the most important thing you need to know is no matter how many times you mess up or disobey God and get punished for your actions, God will always have the heart to forgive you so you may repent and clean yourselves of your sins. That right there is the ultimate relationship.
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