3:22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
Language is a tricky thing. It makes communication difficult. Something is said or written but the message heard or read can take on a very different meaning. Often, no make that very often, God is misunderstood. He warns us and we take the warning as a threat. As a result we do not see Him as loving but as a tyrant to be feared.
When God speaks of our destruction He is not speaking of something He will inflict as punishment. He is speaking of consequences for a choice or action. True punishment is never about destruction but about rehabilitation. Parents who love their children correct or punish them in an effort to direct them in a safer path for their benefit.
In this way God is often grossly misunderstood. We see His laws as arbitrary acts we must fulfill to appease Him. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus did not come to this planet as one of us to spy on us and find excuses to destroy us. He is not willing that any should perish. He came to offer a way out of this sin sick and dying world. His words were not threats but warnings. They were not for our destruction but for our rescue. His words are life, joy, and peace.
When I observe humanity the happiest people are those who live closest to the principles of God's kingdom. They may not be religious. They may even claim to be atheists. It makes no difference. The ways of God bring happiness, fulfillment, contentment, and lasting joy. Things like generosity, compassion, kindness, gentleness, self-sacrifice, etc... are the ingredients for a meaningful, happy existence. God knows this. He knows love is the only way not because He arbitrarily decided it, but because it just is.
If we don't listen to Him we will be utterly destroyed, not by Him, but by the natural consequences of our own choices.
Love makes no threats. Love warns because truth and honesty are a huge part of love.