40) So Joshua conquered all the land: the mountain country and the South and the lowland and the wilderness slopes, and all their kings; he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded.
The book of Joshua is full of statements like the one above. “They killed every one in the city” or they “utterly destroyed all the people who were in the country”. We hear so many times from believer and un-believer alike – that “it seems so cruel of God to do that…”
My first thought when I hear that, today, is I am amazed how flippantly we judge the actions of God. Note that I emphasized the word today in that last sentence. I suspect that I have been guilty of thinking and saying the same kinds of things in years past. However, as I grow and as I study the Scriptures, I find my thoughts are changing. I may not understand, but He knows far better than I what is the right and righteous thing to do.
To look at the action itself and try to discern the reasoning — God was raising up a nation to call His own. To build a nation that is different. They were the first people meant to model Gods way to live. He had given them the Law to show them the best way to live life. It was not to take away all the fun in life, but to allow His people to live life to the fullest.
However, this Law was a threat to the rest of the then known world. God knew the terrible influence that the nations that occupied this place called the Promised Land would have on them. The religions of the world at that time in history were full of idols, fertility rights, human sacrifices, and such. He knew that this small group of “different” people would be sucked in really fast. Annual Fertility rights were going to be much more enticing than to live with one wife for the rest of your life. Continue reading in the Old Testament and you see how quickly and often they did fall.
I think that there is a lesson here for us. We live in a world dominated by the current day “People of the Land.”
The false teachings and leadings of the world overwhelm our senses day after day. Scripture shows us many things that are not right and that we are not to do. And, day after day, the world around us entices us to do them. Lust is rampant via almost every media we can look at. The media constantly tells us that things are right, that the Bible says are not. Homosexuality and abortion being the top couple that come to my mind. Over half of the male, female couples in the country today live together outside of marriage. That statistic supposedly just went to over half in the past year or two. Divorce is more prevalent in the church than outside of it.
And we are constantly being told that we must be tolerant. But the meaning behind their word “Tolerant” is to “accept” these actions and to follow their lead. Don’t be tricked by the word Tolerant – there is far greater meaning behind it.
We can’t and are not called today to eliminate these people as they were in the Book of Joshua. But I believe we are wise to eliminate things to the best of our ability. If Television tempts us – perhaps we need to get rid of it. Or perhaps the 300 cable channels at least. We need to be in the Word of God regularly and expect the Holy Spirit to point out dangers that we need to get out of our lives. Spend time with the God of the Universe with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and expect to hear things that will keep you from dangers in your life. Not eternal Salvation issues, but dangers to your life right here and now.
There is much to be learned: