"I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin. But I do not excuse the guilty." -Exodus 34:7
All throughout the Old Testament it seems like the Israelites are being judged. They are good for a while, then they get a bad king, and he leads them into idol worship. Then God sends a prophet to judge and save the nation and they get cleaned up again and worship God. Then they get a bad king and they start all over. It's like being on a roller coaster ride!
I used to think that God was angry and judgmental. I couldn't relate to Him because I thought He was sitting on His throne, furrow-browed and uncaring, judging the world of our sin. I certainly didn't measure up. Finally, I had a REVELATION of His love.
Soon after that, I also had a revelation of judgment. God was angry with the people when they worshipped idols. Why? Why couldn't the people just do what they wanted? When idol worship was happening, sin was rampant. There was more crime, abuse, corruption, greed, sexual promiscuity, and all sorts of craziness happening when a bad king who worshipped idols was in power. (Habakkuk 2:15)
God could not let sin go un-judged, because that would mean the injustice the people did to one another meant nothing. Because God is a God of love and justice, He cares when we get hurt. So, He has to step in and set boundaries so we won't continue to get hurt, continue to hurt ourselves, or continue to hurt others. Most of all, He needed them to know that He was their God, and by following and serving Him, they would experience long life, blessing, and His presence with them. God's judgment was because of His love.
Because of Jesus' sacrifice, God's grace atones for our sin. But, we can choose whether or not we want to live within His protection, experience His healing, and live in eternity with Him. Do you want to live within the boundaries of His protection, so that His blessings can forever follow you? (Psalm 23:6)