"'The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin'" Exodus 34:6b,7a (NRSV)
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." Deuteronomy 6:5 (NRSV)
"Moreover, the Lord will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live." Deuteronomy 30:6 (NRSV)
"You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." Leviticus 19:18 (NRSV)
Many of these statements in the Old Testament are followed by threats of punishment. These are qualifications which have been added on to the statements of God's benevolent nature by frightened prophets.
An example of this practice appears in the New Testament. In Luke 14 the story of the wedding banquet stops after the multitudes attend the banquet. In Matthew 22, however, there is an additional sequence in which those not having an appropriate garment are cast into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
This clearly demonstrates that additions of punishment were added to some sections of the Bible.
The law of the Old Testament is telling Israel how they should live in the world. It enjoins us to live honestly, truthfully, with love and compassion for our fellows.
This is the spirit of the law which came to us out of Moses love for his people.
It is a manifestation of God's love for the world.
(Scripture quotations (marked NRSV) are taken from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission. All rights reserved.)