As mesmerizing as it may seem to some of us in the twenty-first century, the God of the Hebrew Testament is an ancient Near Eastern God. That is, God reveals into a human historical context that is far different and more mysterious than our own. It seems to me that it couldn’t have been otherwise if Israel and others were to have any knowledge of him. This ANE God is portrayed as a Warrior, King of the earth, and the Lord mighty in Battle, to mention just a few metaphors, or anthropomorphic―theologically packed expressions. After all, it appears that God is dealing with barbarians, thugs, and louts, which requires severe, yet contextual measures. He represents himself, therefore, as a powerful Egyptian Pharaoh or Mesopotamian King entering into Holy war and he is out to bring about redemption and justice.
The progressive unfolding of the revelation of God in Scripture adds many new metaphors that apply to an understanding of his mission for the whole world. Keeping these in mind will help us to not play off one image against another, as we seek to come to grips with the God of love, truth, justice, and mercy.