Friday, April 23, 2010

Joshua 11-12: Where's the Love?

It's hard to understand all the death and dying in some of these Old Testament books.

10:37 They took the city and put it to the sword, together with its king, its villages and everyone in it. They left no survivors. Just as at Eglon, they totally destroyed it and everyone in it.

10:39 They left no survivors.

10:40 He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of all Israel, had commanded.

11:8 . . . until no survivors were left

11:11 Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed . . .

That's a lot of dead people. Isn't God a God of compassion, slow to anger, abounding in love?

I'm trying to get my head around this, and here's what I've got so far.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve rebelled against God and his laws.
God punished them, but maintained his relationship with them.

Over time, over generations, the relationship faded, and the people's rebellion increased. God is holy, and he decided to put an end to all of it. His compassion reached to Noah, who found favor in the sight of the Lord. He delivered Noah and his family from the floods that destroyed the rest of the earth.

All of these people, whether from Abraham's line or not, are descendants of Noah.
The rebellion has grown.

All these people, including the people of Israel, deserve God's wrath.
But God shows his compassion, his love, through Israel.
He calls them to live a holy life.

And when the time is ripe, he will bring a deliverer for all the nations, through Israel. (Jesus)

Sometimes they do, and then he blesses them.
Sometimes they don't, and then he punishes them.

Sometimes men or women from other nations choose to follow the holy God of Israel. Think Rahab, in Joshua 2. And when they do, God shows his compassion to them as well.

I've been sitting here trying to think of a way to close this post. I really want to figure this thing out, but the thing is, none of us deserve compassion. In fact, Ephesians 2 tells us that we were all objects of God's wrath until Jesus delivered us, by grace through faith that came through God. Romans 5 tells us that God shows his love by sending Jesus to die while we are still sinners.

Basically, it seems like both Israel and the people in the land have rebelled against God, but God chose to reveal himself to Israel and offer them an opportunity to serve him, to be a part of his plan to redeem the whole world.

For God so loved the world that he sent his only son into the world to save the world. (John 3:16)

Okay. That's all I've got.

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