1 Samuel 12:20 (NKJV) Then Samuel said to the people, "Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord"
God has always been a God of grace. When we sin, He wants us to be in His presence even more. For most of my life, I never understood this. Before I became a Christian---and many years after---I had this image of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. Perhaps it was the famous movie released back in 1956. Never the less, I always had this image of Moses smashing the stone tablets to bits because the people had built a golden calf to worship. I can still see the three thousand people who died that day (Ex. 32:26-27).
The movie implies that God destroyed the people because He was jealous. Really, the people brought about their own destruction. The Bible tells us after the people made the golden calf, "Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on the Lord's side--come to me"" ( Ex. 32:26).
This is a point that seems to be overlooked. After the people worshiped the golden calf, God still gave them an opportunity to choose Him. The ones who did not choose God were the ones who died.
God is holy. Unholiness cannot exist in the presence of God's glory (Ex. 33:16-20). The Old Testament is loaded with teaching about unholiness. Repeatedly in the Old Testament we read, "If you obey God's commandments, you will be blessed---if you do not, you will suffer destruction. A good example is provided for us in Exodus chapter 28. This chapter reveals forty-one curses for disobeying God.
God has always provided a way out. There was only one problem with the Old Testament system---we continually sin. We need continual redemption. Jesus became our once-for-all sacrifice (Heb. 10:12). As a Christian, we have the easy way out.
As a New Testament believer, I have continual protection from my sins. Sin can no longer separate me from the presence of God (Rom. 8:39). Since sin has no effect on my connection to God, He can saturate me with His Spirit. All I have to do is, "believe in Him whom He sent"
Without God in my life, I was below average in many ways. With God in my life, my whole existence is above average. God is not out to punish anybody---He never was and never will be. He has a desire to see you do amazing things. Stay connected to God---especially if you sin, He is a God of grace!