Think noble things of God!

I went back and forth on whether to do this piece. It fits in with what we've been covering in Joshua, but it deals with some heavy things that disturb our sensibilities and calls for a deeper dive into Scripture than we can fully do in this limited space. But since fools go where angels fear to tread . . . 

You may have noticed the spiritual emphasis in the "battle" of Jericho. The soldiers didn't do any soldier-like things, the emphasis is on the ark of the covenant, the priests and the sounding of the trumpets. In fact, the whole event looks more like a religious ritual than a military battle.

That was all by design because from God's point of view, this was a holy conflict (herem). He wasn't callously empire building when He had Israel conquer CanaanHe was bringing judgment on the people who lived there (Genesis 15:16 and all of Leviticus 18). In light of the rampant wickedness and impenitence displayed there, God brought total destruction on them (think Sodom and Gomorrah). He did not want Israel to be influenced by their anti-God, anti-life ways (Deuteronomy 7:1-6). Perhaps He also wanted them to see what the wages of sin looked like.

We're not pleased that God totally destroyed everything and everyone. That's not a bad thing because He wasn't either (Ezekiel 18:23)! (Still, should we be upset with God or the utter sinfulness of sin as it manifested itself in the Canaanites and ultimately in the crucifixion of the sinless Christ?) Nonetheless, God did what He judged needed to be done in that particular time and place. We have to make up our minds whether He knew more about it than we do. The innocents who perished (they weren't "punished") went from their abusive environment into His presence.

For those who want to frame this as genocide rather than a spiritual/moral judgment, don't forget Achan and Rahab. Achan violated the ban on devoted things and was treated like the Canaanites. Rahab put her trust in God and as treated like an Israelite. Strange behavior from a supposedly racist God!

Finally, we need to keep in mind the God who brought this judgment is the same God who so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son for its sins. We need to, as Jim McGuiggan likes to remind us, "Think noble things of God!"

Will not the judge of the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25)


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