Father God is the star of the Old Testament; it explains his expectations and shows his care
The story arc in the Bible is God’s relationship to us: the creator and his creation. Most people of faith – the Christian faith, that is – understand God as Trinity, as three persons in one: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is an abstract concept, but one we embrace, or at least we accept, in faith, as truth.
God the Father is the star of the Old Testament.
After a casual read of the Old Testament, an easy conclusion is that God is a mad deity; humans need to cower from him; he’s poised to punish people if they so much as blink wrong. A more careful read, however, reveals a patient God. Though he has specific expectations for behavior, he wants his people to succeed, to have a relationship with him.
Yes, a fear of God does come across in the Old Testament (whereas love is the theme of the New Testament), this is a holy fear, a reverent fear.
To understand a healthy fear of God, I consider fire. Fire can warm us, cook our food, purify materials, and mesmerize us. Yet this same fire can burn and even kill if we are not careful. We appreciate fire for its many benefits, yet we respect it for its dangers. Fire awes us. The same applies with God the Father; he awes us.
For a more specific comprehension, a personal understanding, look at God’s relationship with some of the people in the Old Testament: Adam (who walked with God), Abraham (who placed his faith in God), Moses (who looked at God and spoke with him), David (a man after God’s own heart), Elijah (who taunted his enemies because of his complete confidence in God’s power), and so on.
For others, we see their devotion to God and the way he took care of them and blessed them. Consider Joseph, Ruth, Daniel, and Esther.
We can look at the Old Testament to discover grand themes of God’s character. And we can look to the Old Testament to inspire us through the specific stories of his relationship with those who seek him. We need both to fully comprehend him.