Many people see what is written about God and His harsh dealings with those that break laws in the Old Testament without understanding. Many of those see these punishments as why to not humble themselves before Him and accept His ways. I will explain why things are written the way they were and why He was so harsh to the Israelites for breaking laws that we seemingly break on a daily basis.
Much of it has to do with how Eve was beguiled by Satan, which caused her and Adam to sin. Before they ate of the tree of knowledge, there was no sin. No death. They were as innocent as innocent can be. As is written in Rev. 20:2, the serpent was Satan. The purpose of him beguiling Eve was to bring onto our creation sin and death before its due time. Someone was going to eat of that tree. It just wasn’t supposed to be Adam and Eve. God did create the tree of knowledge for a reason. Once Adam and Eve ate of the tree, our creation was put on a course for destruction. If God didn’t counter Satan’s success with these harsh laws, our creation wouldn’t have even made it this far. We would have destroyed ourselves generations ago.
Slavery is a topic that non-believers and believers alike have trouble with accepting in the Old Testament. Introspectively, we look at slavery as merely blacks being the victim of whites. No race has not been the beneficiary or victim of slavery. Not one. White people didn’t steal black people from Africa. Black Africans sold slaves to whites. That is a fact. God even allowed His own chosen race to become slaves for five hundred years. The Israelites were held captive by the Egyptians. Years before, Joseph brought his father and brothers to Egypt since it was Joseph’s interpretations of dreams that allowed Egypt to prosper while nations around it suffered. Over the years, the descendants of Joseph and his brothers became bondsmen (slaves). God may have allowed slavery, but that doesn’t mean He was for it. It doesn’t mean that those that had slaves weren’t to be punished and those that were slaves would not be rewarded. You bet they were. God may have allowed slavery, but our creation should be able to decide what we should or shouldn’t do without God telling us every little thing. It was the hardness of men’s hearts that allowed slavery. God for the most part lets us be. When this life is over, those who were slaves or suffered other great things will get things in heaven most won’t because of their suffering.
God sent Moses to free the Israelites and to punish the Egyptians for their abuse. The ten plagues of Egypt is not just a matter of historical record in the Bible, but to the Egyptians as well. If there was no OT, we would still know of the ten plagues of Egypt. For their suffering, God showed them great signs and wonders and led them through the desert to Israel. They saw their enemies fall. They heard God speak. They ate manna from heaven when there was no food. They drank water out of stones. They saw God travelling by a cloud on their trek through the wilderness. God showed the Jews and only the Jews these things. They were His chosen race and they suffered greatly so He rewarded them greatly. The Egyptians paid a heavy price for having His chosen people as slaves. God is not for slavery. Blacks suffered greatly for many decades here in America, so they were rewarded also. They are here in America because of the involuntary price their ancestors paid, instead of being in Africa. Africa is the most desolate and unstable continent on Earth. If you could ask those slaves if they’d pay such a heavy price as long as their children got to stay in America, I would think most would say yes. White people did pay a heavy price for slavery when hundreds of thousands died during the Civil War. I know people who think they know so much will say the Civil War was fought for several reasons, but let’s cut down to the chase. The Civil War was fought because the southern states thought Lincoln was going to abolish slavery, so the cessation began and so did the war.
Because God showed Israel so much, they were held to a higher standard than any other race. The health laws had to do with the purity of the Jews. Animals that ate unclean things were impure, which included shellfish. Shellfish are scavengers and bottomfeeders. These strict laws were for the purity and sanctity of the Jews. When the Gentiles (mostly Greeks) became Christians, the apostles saw what they were eating and the idols they were making of their new god. After a debate, the apostles said the Gentiles were allowed to eat what they wanted, but to stay away from blood, things strangled, the pollutants of idols, and fornication.
By the time Jesus lived, Satan’s influence was all over the world. It was too late. When a woman accused of adultery was about to be stoned, Jesus came to her rescue. It is written that he wrote in the dirt and said “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. They left quickly and let her be. I strongly believe that he wrote their names and what sins they committed that would also be punishable by death. Something scared them. Jesus came not to break up the law, but to fulfill it. It was time for forgiving the sinner since Satan’s influence was now upon every town in the world.
The very wise will know that this whole life is mercy on this creation from the very beginning of this age. The very wise will know that our souls are much older than our bodies. Just because we cannot remember what happened before we were born, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean most of our creation didn’t commit some great sin in the eyes of God. God told Jeremiah that He knew him before he was in the womb and ordained him a prophet before his birth. Truth is God knew all of us before we were born. Sometime and somehow Jeremiah and the other prophets must have set themselves apart from the rest of our creation and proved their worth to God before they were born. God isn’t going to create a million souls and say to the next one at random “you’ll be my prophet” and keep repeating the process. This life is a gift and a second chance to our creation with His Son as a Way out. You can point out how harsh God can be, but the very wise will know that you should all be grateful that judgment hasn’t been met upon you millennia ago. I’d call that great mercy. So should you.