Wednesday, October 22, 2008

mid-life crisis?

Joshua 6-15

I've always had a little trouble with the way the people of God took over the Promised Land. Why did God want them to destroy everything and especially everyone? I've always understood the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, these cities were extremely wicked. So God brought fire down upon them. But was Jericho and Ai and Jerusalem filled with wickedness? Why were they not given a chance to repent? Why weren't they offered a treaty?

This directive given by God is very different than the God of the New Testament. God is Love. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Where is that God in the Old Testament?

I don't think I have it all figured out, but here is my take for now. God is God. He is in control. He did not have a mid-life crisis somewhere before the New Testament was written. He is still the same God. He is still the same today. He was and is still a holy God. He is incapable of sin. He must punish sin. One of the pillars of the Law is that you should have no other gods before God. I believe that God was compelled to destroy those cities because of their idolatry. In the Old Testament dispensation there was no other way. This sin must be punished. Now since Jesus has been in the world there is hope for everyone. God will allow us to live today so that we might choose to accept the gift of His grace. I don't see any other reason why He would be so harsh in the Old Testament time and why He would be so loving now in the New Testament era. Now there is an alternative. He is still the same God, but with more options.

May I ever be aware that God is a holy God. May I ever be aware that God is a loving God.

7 comments:

Levi said...

A verse that was pointed out to me tht kinda explains this a little (well at least to me) is genesis 15:16 in the promise to Abraham God says, "In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not reached its full measure." To my understanding the here is the promised land and that God held back His wrath for all those who would change, could but, when it reached it's full measure He dealt out wrath through Joshua and the Israelites coming back to claim the land. Tell me what you think?

two rivers church said...

hmm. i had not made that connection. i need to go back and look at it. so abraham is in the promised land at that time? is that the land that God tells abraham to leave? then calls the israelites back to that same land after the exodus? so the people in joshua's time are incurring the wrath of God which dates back to the sin of the amorites? was that the sin of idolatry?

Aaron (Blog Moderator) said...

Levi's nailed it. You get hints all through the OT. I've just finished going through 1-2 Kings, and you see all the references to the Ashirim, to gods like Baal and Chemosh, to "making their sons pass through the fire," to Topheth, etc. The sin of the Amorites was grotesque, brutal idolatry... and God showed tremendous grace by waiting so long. Good call, Levi.

david said...

aaron- it was very cool hanging with you the other day. what a great conversation we had about the church. can't wait until you are closer.

my question still remains to you and levi...

essentially is the wrath of god poured out because of idolatry?

Levi said...

Maybe it was multiple sins and idolatry was one of them or the major one that led to others. (worshiping with human sacrifice, orgies for their god or gods, etc.) I think we could classify all sin as related to or because of idolatry not the bowing down to a graven image but definitely because we are serving another whether that is self or something material.
So to give you a straight answer yes I think it was idolatry.

Levi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Levi said...

After reading your question I'm saying the people who possessed the promised land are incurring the wrath of God through the Israelites coming to claim the land in the time of Joshua that was told to Abraham way back when.