God's Bloodshed in the Old Testament


How do we understand bloodshed in the Bible, especially the violent acts in the Old Testament?  It's worth deeper study, but John White offers this concise summary in his book, Daring to Draw Near. He writes about Exodus 32, when Moses puts to death around 3000 men for their worship of a golden calf.  His explanation is very good with one exception: Scripture is clear that it wasn't Moses who declared the punishment, but God himself. See what you think:
"Our values have changed.  To Moses, the bloodshed was not be compared with the horror of the people's sin.  Having been delivered from Egypt by a God who changed the course of nature, who opened the Red Sea, who led them himself by a pillar of cloud and fire, a God who revealed himself as the only God, the eternal God, the true God-- the shallow Israelites had in a few petulant days dismissed him from their minds and had fallen back into idolatry.  Their fickleness and their blasphemy appalled Moses; his horror was even greater because he had arrived among them after being in the immediate presence of God whose name they had so lightly defiled."
Much is made over these 3000 lives, but many forget the thousands of lives spared by the Lord on that same day.  Though the Lord is often gracious in tempering the punishment for sin in our own time, it will still be punished.  God has not changed. When He collides with Sin, it is destroyed.  When I pay the price for my own sin someday in my own death, I know that it will have no sting.  It will be overcome through Jesus Christ.

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