According to Richard Dawkins:
According to Richard Dawkins:
"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." 
One example he finds grievous is the jealousy of God in the Old Testament, which he attributes to insecurity. The caricature Dawkins’ describes is a deified infant, violently incapable of coping with humanity’s free will.
When taken as a whole, the Old Testament contradicts Dawkins’ hermeneutical train wreck. Over and over again, the stories echo of a God willing to pursue His chosen people out of love for them and the entire world (Genesis 12:3), despite suffering rejection. Anyone with a basic understanding of the covenantal relationship between God and His people understands the natural consequence of Israel’s infidelity was exile and loss of intimate fellowship with God.
Without the bigger picture, the consequences of Israel’s spiritual adultery may seem extreme. Given a more nuanced hermeneutic, the pain Israel suffered as a result of their actions was actually God’s providential method of getting their attention to guide them into renewed relational intimacy. God does not punish out of insecurity or abusiveness but with a corrective posture.
C.S. Lewis honed in on this truth in The Problem of Pain when he observed, “No doubt Pain as God’s megaphone is a terrible instrument; it may lead to final and unrepented rebellion. But it gives the only opportunity the bad man can have for amendment. It removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.” One of the most cogent Scriptural examples of this concept can be found in the prophet Hosea’s relationship with his unfaithful wife, Gomer.
Hosea and Gomer
The prophet Hosea ministered sometime in the eighth century to the pre-exilic Northern Kingdom of Israel. God instructed him to take a “wife of harlotry” with whom he was had three children (1:2, NASB). At some point, a cataclysmic shift in their relationship occurred and she left him, likely due to a relapse into her old ways. Even though Hosea felt confident in saying their relationship was over (2:12), God instructed him to “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress” (3:1a). The text never reveals what specific exploits Gomer had gotten into, but she was in slavery when he found her. Nevertheless, this was not a rapturous reunion at first. Gomer had to be broken of her habitually unfaithful behavior by being forced into seclusion (exile) before the relationship could be restored (3:3-4).
Hesed: God and His Adulterous People
The unfolding drama in the book of Hosea is symbolic of God’s love for His idolatrous people. The purpose is to show God’s hesed. This Hebrew word can be found in 2:19 where God says, “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness [hesed] and in compassion” (emphasis added). The NIV translates it as “love,” while the NLT says “unfailing love,” and the ESV chooses “steadfast love.” Although these are certainly good translations, they miss out on the fullness of the word. The more complete understanding is in the covenantal picture of a “life-long, faithful marital covenant.” In light of this, God is depicted as “jealous” in Hosea (13:4-6; also see Exodus 34:14 and Deuteronomy 4:24). Yet, it is not a petty jealousness derived from psychotic narcissism. Rather, this jealousy is based on the violation of a sacred, covenantal relationship, making it wholly valid. If a husband is not jealous of his wife’s marital unfaithfulness, it is a cause for concern because it proves a lack of real love. So it is with God and His people.
Hesed as an Apologetic Tool
 Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), 51.
 Ibid., 278-79.
 C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain in The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics (New York: Harper One, 2002), 605.
 Elizabeth Achtemeier, Minor Prophets I, New International Biblical Commentary (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996), 28.
 Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2009), 35.