Old Testament accounts such as these are hard for modern audiences to fathom. Our image of God's nature and God's intentions are much more docile. We must remember that God is establishing a key peace in His argument; the depiction of man's sinful nature and His case for a incarnate/redemptive Christ. What is spirit is spirit, what is flesh is flesh, and the two minds are at complete enmity with each other. Spiritual God is having to use fleshly matters to convince the fleshy mind of the accuracy of a hated spiritual message; not only for the Israel of that time but, also us who are reading this now as well.
The awkwardness of these difficult passages may also arise from the fact that modern readers are trying the Bible from a self help viewpoint. One then must ask how does this difficult portrayal of God's nature help me? We thereby exclude the grander contexts of what God had to get us to a point where He could help us, what He had to stick to, what He had to insist upon, what He had to battle through to get us to a point of realizing our truly reprobate sinful nature. Difficulty here does not reveal so much about difficulty with God as it reveals difficulty with us.
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