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May 31, 2021 8:00 am
Genocide is an ugly word in an awful thing, but it's exactly what we read in the book of Joshua. How is it possible that a good and loving God would direct his people to do such a thing today on the Bible study our Dr. James Boyce tackles this moral dilemma welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically.
Why does God allow the great atrocities we see in our world seems like a fair question. Follow Dr. Boyce today through Joshua six, and we may discover that it's actually the wrong question. I suppose it's not really possible to preach through the book of Joshua without dealing at some point or other, with what some people it felt to be a great moral problem moral problem lies in the fact that the direction of God. The Jewish people commanded by Joshua exterminated large blocks of the country. God had given them to possess. Today we call genocide is a bad thing.
And people have asked with some perception how it can be possible that a book that pretends to present to us the character of a good and loving God, we could have stories which show God directing his people to do such a thing is one of a class of problems that we find in the Bible in which it becomes the task of apologetics is the defense of the faith to answer in book of mine called standing on the rock. I have a chapter called dealing with Bible difficulties and this is one of the categories of difficulties not the only category. There are so-called historical problems in the Bible. Things that create problems in our thinking.
When we compare what the Bible has to say about events with what perhaps some secular source has decided those have to be dealt with.
There are so-called scientific problems where something in the Bible doesn't seem to agree to the way we understand things scientifically today and those have to be dealt with or are problems that I say had to do with phenomenal language that is language that describes how things appear to us the observer but not necessarily the way things are in themselves.
An example of that would be the rising of the sun. We say the sun rises, the Bible does. But of course that isn't the way things actually are sun doesn't rise, except from the point of view of a an observer on earth can way to handle that is to realize that we use for the animal phenomenal language as well. Just as the Bible does well among these many categories of Bible difficulties. Are these moral problems, and when we read through Joshua any comprehensive study we, inevitably, to the handling of the I suppose this is as good a place as any. Certainly had existed before hand in their examples of similar things earlier, but here the very end of the six chapter of Joshua at the end of the first great encounter in this historic invasion of the land we read that the people Joshua's command burned the whole city and everything in it but the silver and gold, bronze and iron in the treasury of the Lord, but they learn the rest and that is to say they killed the people.
The old beyond male and female adults and children and people say well how can that happen the way that question is usually phrased is this how could God command the destruction of an innocent race course as soon as you hear the question phrased that way you have the first part of the answer to an innocent.
The Canaanites were far from innocent. As a matter of fact they were the most degenerate people. We have a record of some of the degenerate things that went on from secular sources, but I find most interesting.
A description of Canaanite practices is that's found in Deuteronomy 18 in anticipation here at this point of the Decalogue of the conquest that stick, here's what Deuteronomy 18 says verse 10.
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire. This is written to the Jewish people are not to do that. Who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium work, spiritist, or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord and because of these detestable practices, the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, you must be blameless before the Lord. There is a passage that says it is clear languages. One could possibly have that those things that the Israelites were being warned against were actually practiced by the Canaanites people into whose land they were being driven commenting on them just a little bit at first matter.
For example, sacrificing children to the fire. The Canaanites had a God's name was Malik.
He was a particularly cruel God. He had statutes made to him idols generally out of bronze. In this figure where it's been found, is always one that stands holding out both arms in front of him to receive a sacrifice. What the Canaanites did apparently was to teach that bronze statue until it was red-hot and then they would take their children their young children and infants and place them in the red-hot arms. Malik is a sacrifice that was practiced by the Canaanites is matter of spiritualism in the occult doesn't mean quite so much DOS because we have a tendency in our time to treat such a thing.
Likely it's not treated lightly by people who have lived in areas of the world where this is seriously practice. It is of course in portions of America's going to become increasingly a problem for us years ahead. But as I say we don't read it so seriously, though, people who have seen this in practice to Monica's a terrible thing.
You may recall that a month ago and the trumpet there was a discussion of the occult by someone who clearly saw it as it was, was warning against it. Something that is impacting our culture today through the music of the young, you're like, I am much of the words of the music that is popular today is incomprehensible and I I can hardly understand what's being said. But I understand that a great deal of it has to do with the occult spiritism, demons, and so on. Matter fact, some time ago I was talking with Gordon MacDonald who is the new head of inter-varsity Christian Fellowship and we were discussing what to expect on the campuses of the next generation. He was saying that things change so rapidly on the campuses. It's really very difficult for an organization that works with students to keep abreast of it, let alone anticipated.
So I said what if suspect is going to be coming in the next years. He said that's difficult the same course. I'm no prophet but he said it is interesting that recently a pole or survey was done in Canada analyzing the beliefs, aspirations and lifestyle of teenagers those in the three or four years just before entering college. It was a widespread pole. It went from one coast to the other. They found a number of things about the teenagers they found. First of all, that they had no heroes, very significant thing I found.
Secondly, that they had no desire to communicate with the older generations always been a communications gap, but at least it was communication. Now, so they find the unknown even want to talk to those who were older they found they had no agenda. This was a great contrast with the 60s, for example, when those in the counterculture certainly had an agenda they wanted to remake the world I wanted to do away with the things they considered wrong or tacky or sinful or immoral, and then finally it was said of the teenagers that the only thing this particular age group once is affluence that is material things than enough peace to enjoy it. I said that .2 Esther McDonald well is there any point of contact there for the gospel. He said you know. Interestingly enough, there is and it comes in the area of the occult.
One of the things this poll found is that many of the young people are influenced by the claims of the occult.
He said what I think this means for our evangelism in a future generation is that we're going to have to deal with it on the level of sheer power in the past we have tried to evangelize by reason we've said reasons for Christianity or better than the reasons for anything else are we have tried to deal with it on the level of personal experience.
Try it you like to see that God can solve your problems.
He said I think in the future were going to have to argue our God is stronger than your God that's going to put us back into the first Christian century when that is the way the apostles operated with their carrying forth of the gospel. All that was present in a most perverted and dangerous way in the Canaanite culture is incidentally something similar to what existed in the time of Noah my judgment is one of the reasons. One of the special reasons for God's judgment upon that culture as well is upon the Canaanites.
God is in the struggle against evil demonic forces where there is a great outcropping of those in society. God's judgments are particularly swept all of that was true of the Canaanites. They had sexual perversions as well, but I suppose we don't need to take a great deal of time to talk about that because we in our culture could, I suppose. Give the Canaanites some lessons. Certainly they were no more depraved than ourselves when we begin to talk about God's judgment on these people and ask how could this happen. The first answer, therefore, is that they were far from innocent. They work actually most perverted people you know, even to begin to answer that question in that way is misleading and by opinion is misleading.
For this reason, when we say God judge those people because they were sinful. We inevitably suggest probably firmly believe that God's judgment hasn't come off simply because we're better whenever we get thinking that way we are in even more serious trouble than they were running in that respect of the conversation, the Lord Jesus Christ had with some people in his day, as recorded in the 13th chapter of Luke's gospel just the first five verses people had come to Jesus raising a moral question precisely the question that involve the destruction of the Canaanites, though in a slightly different form. They said looked some time ago here in Jerusalem there was a tower known as the tolerance I loan tower fell over one occasion we can tumbled and when it fell over and killed people.
I why did that happen. I did kill those poor people that were just innocently walking nearby.
They said here is another situation some time ago there were some Galileans down from the north to Jerusalem.
They had gone up to the temple to offer their sacrifices.
They were standing there in the very act of offering their sacrifices.
That's to say whatever they were in a right relationship before the Lord was there when they were performing their sacrifices would be like Christians in a communion service, and while they were there doing that for no reason at all. Harris soldiers fell upon them and killed. How can that happen in a universe ruled by powerful and benevolent God. Jesus said something most interesting.
You might've expected him to say, under the circumstances. Well, after all, just a small detail is a very big world after all.
Just think of things that God has to attend to every single second of the day just inevitable that a few things like that happen now and then, you might've expected him to say something like that. But he said nothing of the sort he asked this question, he said, do you think that those people who were killed by the tolerance I loan were more sinful than all the other people in Jerusalem. I tell you know. But unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Then he said you think those Galileans who were killed by the soldiers of Herod were more wicked than all the other Galileans would come to the feast. He answered I tell you no, but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. So you see what Jesus was saying we have to come to grips with this what Jesus was saying in his reply was something along these lines, when you say why did God allow these Canaanites to be killed or why does God allow so-and-so to perish.
Why does God allow the great atrocities that we see in our world. You ask a question like that you're really asking the wrong question question we should be asking is not why does God allow that to happen to other people. But why doesn't that happen to be center but I am why hasn't judgment come to all of us already. Why aren't we all in hell. Every single one of us this very moment when you begin to ask a question like that. You see your brought up once again some supposed injustice in God but with the reality of his mercy, which is what the postponements of judgments are all about. So that's the first part of the answer on the second part of the answer is that although God does as we know, postpone judgments often for long long periods of time.
God is nevertheless the judge and God does and will judge sin. I think here of those key passages in the New Testament the talk about the coming of judgment in which raise this question from the perspective of those who were living in the day. Peter is one of deals with it. Refer to second Peter chapter 3 is talking about the last days there any saying look in the last days scoffers are going to come people who are following their own evil desires and were raising moral questions were saying where's this coming he promised never since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has from the beginning. People like that day. This is prophecy has come true. People say that in our time. Then Peter answers the question.
Those who say where is the promise of his coming. He said he was coming back. Nothing seems to change generation follows generation.
Peter says what they are willfully ignorant, new international version says they deliberately forget that is they want to forget and they make themselves forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and with water and by water. Also the world of that time, God's first deluged and destroyed. Said seat God has given judgments in the past as proof of the fact that he does judge sin. Just because he delays the judgment of sin are generation does not mean that he has forgotten is judgments that will come in due time I think of a second passage returned to Jude something quite similar to what we find in second Peter there.
Jude also is writing about scoffers evil.
Mammon thereto, Jude is talking about the judgment in here. He gives three examples verse five I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but he later destroyed those who did not believe among the Jewish people. Those who actually left Egypt, we would say those were actually within the organized church were those who perished God gave evidence of his judgment. There all who had left Egypt, perished in the wilderness, save Joshua and Caleb verse six and the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home.
These is kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great day. So he says that the judgment of the fallen angels. Verse seven. In a Similar Way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. These serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire. You see what Peter and Jude are saying Peter and Jude are saying we well understand that in this day of God's grace are going to be people going about saying well. None of this is really cool because years exceeds year generation succeeds generation and this promise judgment this thing that the Christians of been talking about for ages hasn't come, and they say it is true final judgment has not yet come. God has delayed his final judgment, but if you look to past history of you look to these great marks of judgments.
These things stand there in history and in the pages of the word of God's warnings. Certainly this is true of the Jewish invasion of Canaan. It's God's way of saying that there is judgment even among the nations. Righteousness exalts a nation to nation that goes way of sin and perversions is inevitably brought down even in history. These things also stand as a warning of the judgment to come. Finally at the end of time. We mustn't think God will be any more different or careful with us Americans when he was those ancient cultures and what I want to close on take just a bit of time to talk about is the fact that although all are guilty and although God does judge sin.
There is, nevertheless, as I said time of God's grace in which judgment is delayed because of mercy. Certainly, we see that in the story of Joshua that very passage that we've read that passage it says they burned the whole city and everything in it tells us about the salvation of Rahab that's therefore a reminder that although this city and this whole nation.
This people. The Canaanites were devoted to destruction was nevertheless one who in the mercy of God and had an opportunity to learn about the God of Israel, and turn from sin respond to him the gospel so far as she knew it and demonstrate her faith by identifying with spies and saving them and eventually identifying the people give another example of that. In those passages. I read from Peter in June, particularly the passage from Peter you find reference to the flood in the days of Noah. Certainly one of the great cataclysmic judgments of history that judgment makes these other judgments relatively minor affairs because portable is the conquest of Canaan may have been from the point of view of the Canaanites was still a relatively small country in one remote area of the world and the same thing is true of other historical judgments. This was not true of the dollars. The deluge killed all who were living on the face of the earth at that time, with the exception of Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives. There is a great manifestation of God's judgment of the great morning.
The reason I turned to that at this point is not for the testimony that gives to the reality of God's judgment, but to the evidence we have in that story, even God's grace in that story. The chapter immediately preceding the one that begins to tell about the flood, there is a list of the godly patriarchs that preceded Noah and in that long list of the godly patriarchs, there's the band who is known to most of us says the man who lived longer than any man on earth. Methuselah lived 969 years very long life. That man is the symbol of God's mercy and is a symbol of God's mercy even in the midst of judgment these reasons. First of all, there's the meaning of his name. Methuselah can be interpreted in different ways.
Some of the liberal scholars take it as meaning the man of the javelin of the man of the weapons, sort of a boastful terms of possible translation of the many meaning in the context of the story, but it's possible translation also come from the word moots which means to dire dad in Shallotte, which means the sender sent taking those two together it would be possible to give a colloquial translation of Methuselah as being less when he dies it will come.
I say that although that is only one of two possible meanings of the word is the meaning that should be preferred because of the way Methuselah appears in the story of these great chapters leading up to the flood cycling that bears upon the meaning of his name, and the significance of this person is the fact that the genealogy given in Genesis 5 can be accurately established by the years which each of the patriarchs was born in the year in which he had his first child, through whom this particular genealogical line is traced. I admit, as I say that some difficulty in dealing with genealogies in Scripture, particularly when were trying to establish time periods by because in some of the Old Testament genealogies. There are names which another genealogies are left out, doesn't mean that those who have left about made a mistake. It simply means that the biblical writers to genealogies a bit differently than we do. We think we have to have each piece in place. They were more or less concerned with tracing the general drift or lineage. For example, Jesus Christ the son of David, many, many generations in between David and Jesus Christ, with proper to say Jesus Christ the son of David, in order to show that genealogical connection.
I say this difficulty in doing that with many of the genealogies I get all that aside, I'm not sure that is true of the list of names. It's given in Genesis fly because for one thing, not only is there no conflict without genealogy anywhere else in Scripture names being added are left out.
As a matter of fact that genealogy appears elsewhere as it does several times in Luke and first Chronicles as well. That was always accurately name for name reestablishes the list we have in Genesis. Moreover, in Genesis. Unlike the other genealogies the actual years are given, that encourages us to put them together and trace it out has giving us these great landmarks in the early centuries of the history of the human race. Now that in mind, let me show you how this works you understand in a minute. These are names that I do not easily keep in my head.
But here's the way it goes.
Adam, the first of the patriarchs born, we would have to say in the year one, created by God at the beginning he lived 930 years when he was 130 years old. He had his first son, Lisa son, through whom the genealogy is traced and his name was Seth, so Seth was born and the year 130 by that kind of reckoning.
He lived to the year 1042 putting figures together in precisely the same way Seth son Josh was born in the year 235 unison son Canaan was born in the year 325 Haleyville Kenan son was born in the year 395 Jared and 460 Enoch in 622 and Methuselah in 687 Methuselah lived a long long time and finally died in the year 1656 by that reckoning. I born from that point Methuselah son of Islamic he was born in the year eight 7040 lived to 1651, Noah was born in the year 1056 he lived till the year 2006, but in the 600th year of his life.
The flood came when you had 600 to the year of his birth.
1056 you come to 1656 and 1656 is precisely the year in which Methuselah longest living man on earth died.
The man, whose name means when he is gone. It shall come. Let me explain it in this way, with useless father was Lena getting it was a prophet in God and revealed we think that God was going to send judgment on the earth. That judgment was going to be by flood were told that he began to walk with God when his son, Methuselah was born. That is what he was 65 years old.
I don't think that means that peanut wasn't a godly man before this, but it does mean that he began to walk with God in a special way and that fateful year, the year when his son was born I would reason that it was in that year, the God gave them the revelation of the coming destruction, and that when he named his son Methuselah when he is gone. It shall, did so by the revelation of God, saying, in effect, this son is a symbol of the sun as a symbol of God's mercy. This man is going to live for a long time.
And while this man lives judgment. But God's promise will be delayed, but when he dies a judgment is going to come 969 years. This was an old man already. When Noah began to build an ark and he was getting on board the year of his death when Noah had the ribs and the siding and the floors laid 960 years 961 years and here's Lola outfitting the cabins down below over the animals are going to come 962 E. putting on some of the superstructure on the back 963 964 906, five, 960 works all done and 960 667 with Lucila dies, the animals come on board the rains began in the floods say that man Methuselah was a symbol of the inevitability of judgment. God is the judge and judgment will come at the same time is a symbol of God's grace because that of course is why he lived so long as God postpones judgment decade after decade, year after year as Noah prepare that arc of the gospel was preached anyone would heated and come in the conclusion of a study like this is simply for you know if you don't think in biblical terms have enough wisdom to see things as God sees them. You look at this world, and especially you look at yourself and you say well it's not so bad. And certainly I'm not so bad mouthing bad's ever going to happen to me why I don't even think it's quite right for God to judge other people, but certainly I don't believe it's right for God to judge me the story like this is meant to open our eyes to see that the way we look at things is all wrong. It's distorted, it's distorted by the devil doesn't want us to face the reality of a coming judgment. God says the fact that the Canaanites kills the fact that those at the time of the fund were drowned is meant to warn you that God is a judge that he does take sin seriously and that you two will be punished for your sin and less they come to Jesus Christ and at the same time. The fact that God delays his judgment is meant as an encouragement to you. It's meant to say loud shout shouts from the housetops. God is nevertheless a God of mercy. Peter says God is patient, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to eternal life and life is found in Jesus Christ.
He is as the song says the bridge over troubled waters. He is the one who gives life out of death, he is still one scarlet cord meant the salvation of Rahab and her family because she trusted God and sent him Jesus that wanted died on the cross as your Savior if you will have an to be your Savior the way you receive them as your Savior is to admit your sins no good to fight against God and say well I'm alright I'm pretty good. I better than so-and-so forget that that's falling face of a holy God. Admit your sin, confess your faults acknowledge that God has every right to judge you, and the judge right now we come to him, not on the basis of your righteousness are the basis of his justice, which can only condemn you, instead, on the basis of his love that Ludwig sent Jesus Christ say I acknowledge my sin but I thank you sent Jesus Christ to die for me and then put your faith and trust him cling that laughter in the middle of the deluge will find that like Noah and his family and the ark Jesus will bear you up over the troubled waters carry you last that peaceful sure which he is prepared in heaven.
Let us pray father. It's hard for us sinners that we are to acknowledge our failures in our sin and very hard to acknowledge that we deserve your judgment. The very fact that we react the way we do. Stories like that destruction of the Canaanites indicates that is so, and yet we are sinners and we do deserve your judgment. Grant our father that no one might leave this place tonight with false ideas of his or her own righteous, but instead our father disabuse each one of that idea in place of that false conceit grant that there might be birth of faith in Jesus as the Savior.
Solomon humble, sincere and permanent commitment to him both the Savior and his Lord, we pray, Jesus, you are listening to the Bible study hours with a Bible teaching of Dr. James Boyce listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place. Alliance broadcasting includes the Bible study hour with Dr. James Boyce every last word with Bible teacher, Dr. Philip Reich and Dr. Barnhouse in the Bible featuring Donald Barnhouse. For more information on the alliance including a free introductory package for first-time callers or to make a contribution. Please call toll-free 1-800-488-1888.
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