Let's start at the foreseeable future from the eyes of God. God sends his Son, to take the place of every single human past, present and future in order that we, His creation, can enjoy a closer relationship with Him. Jesus' sacrifice covers, atones for our sins, transgressions and disobedience. Instead of God seeing those things, which break His heart (in a sense), He sees Jesus instead, standing in the way of those things.
This was not a last minute rescue that God thought up 2000 years ago. This was His plan from before we were created. God loves you, He loves me, He loves everybody and He proves that through His son, our Messiah, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. God did this because He wants a relationship with us and He wants us to have the best opportunity at life we can have.
Knowing that, let's look at the first half, the Old Testament. Right from Adam and Eve, all God was looking for was a relationship with His greatest creation, He did not make them love Him, He gave them choice, a free will. Even when they chose to listen to Satan's lie and disobey God, God did not destroy them; He simply removed them from the perfection that they no longer could live in.
Go down a couple more chapters and we arrive at Noah and the Flood. Of the whole population at that time, only Noah and his family...all 8 of them, were found to be righteous. Sin has totally consumed the world and through the Nephilim (I encourage you to study this group described in Genesis), God has only one option to make sure that the relationship He is truly wanting with us, can continue. He removes Sin from the world in the form of a flood and Noah and his family are to reboot the human race. They multiply and as we see the family tree beginning to branch out again, we come to the first "friend" of God, Abram.
We now discover the calling of the chosen people of God. Through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Hebrews become the people of God. These people fall into slavery in Egypt and God, through the love He has for these people, sends Moses to take the Hebrews back to the Promised Land. Just one problem, Satan has known through the promise of God to Abraham that although the Hebrews would be oppressed for 400 years they would return to the Promised Land. So Satan has 400 years to inhabit the Promised Land with his Nephilim (giants), rebellious peoples and idol worshippers all who would be strongly against the Israelites. So we read all through Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings all of these people and kingdoms wiped out by the Hebrews and by God.
As I stated before, God wants the best for His people, always has, always will. God had promised this land to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and when God makes a promise you can bet your bottom dollar that He will come through on it. God knew that these people had not just wandered into the Promised Land, He knew Satan was doing everything he could to make sure God and His people weren't going to get what was there's. So if you truly look at the Old Testament God doesn't JUST do things because He can.
We can see the unfailing love of God through these books as well, for as often as His people turned their backs on Him, He was always willing to take them back, save them from their latest trouble and reassure them of His covenant. God could have chosen another group of people to call His own but He stayed true to His word and loved the people who constantly spat in His face.
Some people may try to argue that God has actually given up the Hebrews, seeing as we are in the time of the gentiles. But if you read through Romans 9-11, you will see that God still has the Hebrews in His eyes, He still loves them and cares for them. Like Adam, the Hebrews made the ultimate choice to be out of 'favour' with God. They gave up their right to live in the "perfection" God was offering to them. God loves the Gentiles, and God loves the Jews, therefore, God loves everyone. We don' t need to understand the choices God makes, we just need to remember that God is Love.
So next time this question pops up, don't allow yourself to sit back and listen to people tell you how awful and mean your God is. If God were a mean God none of us would ever have a hope or chance to be right with Him. We live under the love and peace of God. A God who allows the blood of His son to cover the sins we do against Him. God is LOVE.
Tim McDonald lives and works in Mackay Queensland with a family of four children. He leads YAC (Young Adults Cell) group and is the drummer in his church's youthful band.
Tim's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-mcdonald.html