*This is a slightly modified comment I made on this blog some time ago. I think it stands alone as its own post.
If you read the Old Testament with the presupposition that you don’t think the God of Christianity is worthy of worship and/or read it to find ways to shore up your own disbelief, it’s easy to make a seemingly coherent appeal that the OT God is simply awful.
Consider, for example, the amount of killing that that took place either by or in the name of God.
While it is true that God intentionally killed many people in the OT, it’s important to understand that God never accidentally does anything. That being the case, there is always, although we might not fully understand it, a reason for His seemingly objectionable actions.
As nearly everyone knows, to kill and to murder are two different things. Murder is the premeditated, unlawful taking of a life, while killing is, more generally, the taking of a life. Biblically, the same Law that forbids murder permits killing, for example, in self-defense (Exodus 22:2).
In order for God to commit murder (and therefore be the unjust and immoral being many believe He is), He would have to act unlawfully. You must recognize that God is God. His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. He is a faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He (Deuteronomy 32:4; see also Psalm 11:7; 90:9). He created man and expects obedience (Exodus 20:4-6; Exodus 23:21; 2 John 1:6).
The main objection for most people is that executing innocent is, in fact, murder so when God wipes out whole cities, kills, or directs killing, He is committing an unlawful therfore immoral act. This seems like a reasonable objection on its face but, is it?
If one searches the Scriptures they will find no examples of God killing innocent people. In fact, compared to God’s holiness, there is no such thing as an innocent person at all. As the Bible says, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and the wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23a).
In other words, and even though it might be hard for us to understand, God always has a just reason to do everything He does.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”
– Isiah 55:8