(Originally posted prior to my hitting the reset button here at Fire & Hammer.)
In Exodus 15:3 Moses describes God as a “Man of war” a somewhat different perspective from what we normally use to describe our Lord. War, after all, is about bloodshed and death. It is a term we most often associate with destruction not with the peace we associate with God and his Christ. Yet this is exactly what Moses and the people of Israel witness before their departure from Egypt, as the plagues wrought destruction and death according to the perfect will of the Lord.
What God did to Pharaoh and his people seems, at least from a human perspective, a bit harsh. After suffering a series of natural disasters the Egyptians lose their first born and see their army destroyed in the Red Sea, a real head scratcher from God who is described in his Bible as love. But the Bible tells us that God is a God of justice and it is in this context that we must look upon the events surrounding the first Passover for the nation of Israel.
In redeeming the children of Israel God reached out with what he describes as great judgments. In the eyes of the Lord there was a justifiable reason for going to war, something worth fighting for and he rose to the challenge. Where we see plagues God saw the correct way to handle sinners and an opportunity to stand for his chosen people. This is what we see of God throughout the Bible. He pours out his wrath on the sinner while showing mercy and protecting his children.
God sees his children as a worthy cause, one worth fighting for as demonstrated on the cross where his only begotten son died. On that day the final battle was won. Christ received the judgment handed out for all sinners, the consequence of death being dealt as Jesus gave his life. Now because of God’s mercy and love we all have the opportunity to become children of God and to live under his protection. God has deemed us worthy and made his stand on our behalf. All we need do is accept the risen Christ as Lord and Savior.
The Bible paints a full portrait of God showing him both as loving savior and as righteous judge, pouring forth his anger on those who sin. Both are revealed to the world as a package, with Christ standing as a shield protecting those who believe from the destruction of God’s wrath. Like the pillar that stood between Israel and Egypt God stands at the center of a great debate, a clash between different world views. In order to see the full portrait of God we must be willing to accept his world view but that discussion must wait until part 3.
See also “A Full Portrait of God: Part I”