“But regarding Israel, God said, ‘All day long I opened my arms to them, but they were disobedient and rebellious'” (Romans 10:21, NLT).

For most of my life, I pictured God with arms crossed, foot tapping and a less than welcoming look on his face. I guess legalism does that to you. Worrying about disobedience and the resulting punishment skewed my perspective of many aspects of God’s character.

While much of the Old Testament seems to revolve around the cycle of laws given, laws broken, people punished then forgiven, laws broken again – God’s loving nature is evident throughout. He wasn’t anxious to punish his people; on the contrary, he held out loving arms to them again and again, waiting for them to accept his love and receive his blessings. But like many today, either out of guilt or fear, they ran the other way and experienced the consequences of their sins. His arms are always open and a smile is on his face, welcoming all to his loving embrace.