God is undeniably seen in different ways in different portions of the Bible. He can definitely appear as angry, demanding, and arbitrary. On the other hand, He is also pictured as longsuffering, merciful, and compassionate. Therefore, it is clear that Bible students are challenged to sort out the prevailing or defining characteristics of the Creator.
Many attempt to make God’s character or essence, simultaneously, part love and part hate. God supposedly hates sin but loves the sinner as someone has coined the expression. The problem with this approach is that, in accordance with traditional theology, God’s Love is subjugated to His hate or requirement for judgment. Love in this scenario does not prevail in final analysis. There is little wonder that many throw up their hands and choose to have no part in this confused depiction of God. The institutional church has never dealt in any reasonable way with this obvious contradiction in understanding.
I would suggest then that the one reading the Bible has to make a choice as to which characteristics define God essentially and which reveal Him “situationally”, i.e. merely in the context of the events and circumstances of the moment and as a means to a higher purpose. Biblical situations and events logically work long term to advance God’s ultimate purpose in Christ. Therefore that ultimate purpose should point to God’s essential identity. Did the God represented as angry, judgmental, and rigid send Jesus as the Redeemer; or was it the God of Love and Mercy? Which aspect of God’s representation pointed to Christ? Remember that the God of wrath and punishment could be so and demonstrate those characteristics without Jesus. Only a God of a vastly different character would need to devise the plan that Jesus fulfilled.
Trying to understand God as somehow loving and yet condemning is a lost cause. The Bible itself is clear: mercy and judgment do not mix.