“Not a man moved his tongue against any of the people of Israel.” (Joshua 10:21 ESV)
That has to be the understatement of all time. Joshua and the people of God are trampling city after city leaving them in utter destruction as “devoted to the LORD.” Killing, burning, and stoning men, women, children and livestock. It is not a pretty picture.
I suspect that many students of scripture read over those kind of stories with haste. After all, who wants to linger and relish in the notion that the God of the Universe has a people who are so weak that they cannot resist pursuing other gods? Therefore, their God must eliminate all who would have a contrary belief and collection of idols.
Of course, based on your interpretation of Revelation, God will do it all again. It is almost too much to understand.
Why would a holy God be involved in these kind of actions? Is it a mark of true belief on the part of anyone when in fact the “competition” is eliminated? Of course, you cannot have what someone else has until it is taken away from them – in this case land. So eliminating the inhabitants is one way to acquire it. Apparently there is no hope of converting them, so the only choice is to cut them out like a cancerous sore.
Modern day folk, including myself to some degree, find this a difficult history to understand. Just as we cringe at Hitler’s massacre of the Jewish people, just as we shrink back when we learn of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, just as we recoil with horror at mass atrocities in the Sudan, just as we cringe at the millions of abortions each year, it all seems too much to understand.
Modern day atheists want to know what kind of God is this that people could place their faith in him? This theocratic killing machine deserves no homage, no allegiance. The so-called elite also say they want no part of this kind of god either.
So what say we – those who believe in the God of the Bible? How do we neutralize those objections or come to terms with God’s business of annihilation? We cannot. It is beyond our scope of understanding how a Holy God would do anything that seems so unholy. Even the sacrifice of His only beloved Son for the sin and rebellion of mankind is beyond our grasp. It is precisely because God is God that He will act as He chooses.
It is almost too much to understand. Indeed it IS too much to understand.