Is God Arbitrary?

by Elizabeth, Bible School for the Nations student

Elizabeth YWAM Bible School Student

Elizabeth, Bible School for the Nations student, on outreach in Uganda last year.

One of the things that stood out to me from my study of the Old Testament, is that God is not arbitrary. He makes decisions in a way that is consistent with His character. I have to admit there are still things that I read in the Old Testament where I don’t completely understand how a particular decision is in accord with what I know to be true about His character…but over and over again as I have wrestled with various places, I have seen how there are answers that show how God’s character is consistent—and good.

A specific area where I see God’s goodness more clearly is in the interplay between justice and mercy. This theme is woven through so many stories in the Old Testament, but shines very clearly through the words of the prophets and their stories. Ezekiel sums up the attitude that you can see clearly in God’s interactions with the prophets, and the embrace between justice and mercy: ”Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” (Ezekiel 18:30-32, ESV).

These are not clinical words of diagnosis from God, but rather the bleeding of His heart.