When such cries are raised against God, many Christians sink in shame and attempt to excuse God by arguing that “kill both man and woman, child and infant,” (1 Samuel 15:3) does not mean what it says, but rather an embellished statement used for dramatic effect.
Even if one could argue away God’s commands to Israel to utterly destroy the surrounding nations of Canaan (which they cannot), the story of the flood (Genesis 7) and the final day of judgment (Matthew 25) present the same dilemma afresh. The fact is, God is a God of judgment; it’s part of His nature.
I have provided a video below in which I discuss many of the different questions raised regarding the judgment of God, but I would like to share what I feel is one of the most powerful answers to critics from God’s own word.
- Exodus 34:6-7 (NKJV)
- And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children to the third and the fourth generation.”
Moses answers modern critics by pointing out the dual nature of God. Though God is a God of judgment (Moses does not deny this), His judgment is preceded by incredible love, mercy, longsuffering, forgiveness, and goodness shown towards all. Yet the loving, merciful, longsuffering, forgiving, and goodness of God does not eliminate the holiness and justice of God. When people reject the blessings of God, they receive His wrath.
Rather than painting God as a “petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” as Richard Dawkins does, the Bible presents God as one who puts up with the wickedness of mankind to the point where there is no hope, and finally issues judgment.
Moses’ description of God in Exodus 34:6-7 is repeated and echoed numerous times throughout the Bible and stands as the answer to both why God delays and requires punishment of the wicked.
Rather than feeling sorry for those who reject the loving kindness of God and being ashamed of the God we serve, Christians should praise God’s mercy and fear His judgment. To pity those judged by God is to attack the wisdom of God and declare oneself eminently greater than the omnipotent and omniscient God.
May we thank God for His loving kindness and stand in awe of His holiness.
 See Num. 14:18; Deut. 5:9-112; Deut. 7:9-10; Isa. 63:7; Jer. 32:18; Hos. 2:19-20; Joel 2:13; Mic. 7:18; Nah. 1:2-3; Ps. 86:15; 103:8; 111:4; 145:8; Neh. 9:17; 9:31-32; 2 Chron. 30:9; and possibly Ex. 33:19; Isaiah 48:9; 45:7-8; Jer. 15:15; Ps. 78:38; 86:5; 106:7, 45; 99:8; 112:4; 116:5; Dan. 9:4; Neh. 1:5.