When the Israelites entered the Promised land, its cities all had high, fortified gates and walls. This was because the culture of the time was very destructive. Wars included total extermination or enslavement of the men, women and children. This was the culture that the people of the time lived in and understood. Later, we will see God start to change this thinking with the Israelites as he made specific laws about how to treat each other and how to respect the belongs of other people.
So, when we see the Israelites totally annihilating a city, that was in line with how people dealt with these issues at the time. It seems extremely excessive to us and hard to understand. It was the only thing the Israelites understood and that’s why we see God using these methods to complete his will.
Getting rid of cultures that were committed to worshipping pagan gods should have also helped the Israelites avoid being enticed by the allure these other gods had…..but we read that often the Israelites still strayed and paid the penalty for their lack of commitment to the One True God. God was trying to teach the Israelites to hold themselves separate from the pagans. But they didn’t always get it. Sound familiar?
All of the fighting and devastation in the Old Testament sounds gory and unforgiving to us…..until we remember the righteousness and holiness of God. He is perfect. He is always right.
Just because we don’t understand all of it doesn’t make it not true. When we believe that God is in total control and that he is perfect, we can accept the reality of God working in this savage time as the right thing to do.
This is where faith kicks in.
Our 3 1/2 pound brain is limited.
God is limitless.
So we accept and believe….
OR we get all hung up on things that are beyond our comprehension.
Dear Father God, We believe you are perfect and righteous and holy. Please help our faith grow in the areas where we don’t understand – in the areas where we will never understand. We thank you for your truth. In the redeeming name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.