Over the years I have been sneered at for my belief in Yahweh’s goodness by people who say that the G-d of the Old Testament is not someone they want to know. There are times when Yahweh may seem merciless, but always check out the full picture. Yahweh is just and punishment follows un-repented crime. We clearly see His mercy flowing generously towards those who are genuinely repentant (Deuteronomy 30:2-6); equally, we see His just censure of those who continue in ways against which He has warned.
Yahweh’s character is perfectly balanced; His mercy is boundless towards those who walk in His ways; His judgements are true and righteous when sin [of person, place or nation] reaches fullness. Deuteronomy 28 gives a vivid picture of this character; the first 14 verses outlining the overflowing blessings for obedience, and the remaining 54 painstakingly outlining all the things which will bring down His displeasure. The punishments sound like hell!
I ask myself why I’m reluctant to talk about hell – it’s an ‘uncomfortable’ and unpopular topic, but I’m not sure that’s the reason!
For I command you today to love [Yahweh] your [Elohim], to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws.
Deuteronomy 30:16; NIV