Is the God of the Old Testament a God of hate?

The Old Testament contains stories of God commanding the destruction of Sodom, the annihilation of the Canaanites and many other stories of God’s judgement. It would seem on the surface that the God of the Old Testament is indeed a God of hate. But wait… this is a misunderstanding of who God is. The most important part of God’s character is His holiness.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.

Revelation 3:8b

God is holy and in His holiness is judgement. If God did not judge, He would not be holy and thus would not be God. God is also a God of love and His desire is for all to come to Him.

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? Declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

Ezekiel 18:23

God is lovingly patient; giving people opportunity to come to Him. Noah preached 120 years before the great flood and there were many times that His own people refused to follow the God who brought them out of Egypt and into the promised land. The purpose of God’s punishment was to bring the people back to Him. Remember the story of Jonah? God wanted the city of Nineveh to be saved. It was Jonah that hated this city and wanted it to be destroyed.