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Judgment and Mercy - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
September 3, 2023 12:00 am

Judgment and Mercy - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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September 3, 2023 12:00 am

“For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:20).


The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise! Thou the wisdom of my God and King, thou triumphs of his grace!

This is LeSaire Bradley, Jr. inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. Holy, holy, glory, Lord God Almighty, early in the morning our song shall rise to thee. Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty, God in three birth songs, blessed Trinity. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, all thy works shall praise thy name in earth and dry at sea.

Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty, God in three birth songs, blessed Trinity. Recently, a first-time listener told me that as I described the Israelites fighting their enemies and winning the battle, that didn't sound much like Jesus to him. I know that many have difficulty understanding the Old Testament battles and that God would send such judgments. But the fact is that God is a holy God. He established his law and has the sovereign right to judge those who violated. The very first commandment in God's law is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. And these pagan nations were being judged because they violated that law.

They were idolaters. Today we're going back to our series on the book of Joshua, where we left off a few months ago. The subject, judgment and mercy. As we look once more at the 11th chapter of the book of Joshua, there are two themes that stand out to me that we have not covered as yet. Judgment and mercy. God's judgment was upon the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. We read from Joshua chapter 11, verse 20. For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them as the Lord commanded Moses.

There indeed is a description of judgment. Not only did God send Joshua and his army to fight against the inhabitants of the land, he hardened their hearts that they would come against Israel, and therefore would be defeated. And then when we come to verse 23, we see something that I believe is a beautiful picture of mercy. So Joshua took the whole land according to all that the Lord said unto Moses, and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by tribes. Here it is, and the land rested from war. What mercy.

Joshua had been in constant battles for seven years. It must have been a great relief when it came to that time that the land rested from war. Rest is indeed a mercy of God. So first of all, as we think about judgment, we just have to note the fact that God himself sends judgment. Now we've observed already in our studies in the book of Joshua that there was destruction coming constantly in one battle after another on these, the enemies of God's people. Of course, that started way back when the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, and the ten plagues were meted out on Pharaoh. Pharaoh in his arrogance had said, who is the Lord that I should obey him?

One plague after another until finally the death of the firstborn. Then Pharaoh said, you can go. He sent his army after them in hot pursuit, and when those soldiers in their chariots tried to follow the Israelites across the Red Sea, the waters came together and they were drowned in the depths. God's judgment was upon Pharaoh and his army. And then when they came into the land of Canaan, they marched faithfully around the walls of Jericho in chapter 6, verse 21 says, and they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and ash with the edge of the sword. To have looked at that situation from the human perspective, it wouldn't have seemed possible for these people who had been wilderness wanderers for so many years to march around this well-protected fortified city than to be able to utterly destroy it. But as it was said repeatedly, it was given into their hand. It was God himself that was sending judgment upon them.

And then we see the same thing at Ai when they went there the second time. The city was destroyed and burned with fire. And then there were the five kings that set themselves against the people of God.

They took refuge first in a cave where then they were sealed in for a time and when they were brought out, they were all hanged. It says because the Lord God of Israel fought for Israel. That's why there was victory and success under the leadership of Joshua. And then we read about Jabin who got to gather other kings. And so there were a total of ten kings and the people that were with them were described as being like the sand of the sea.

And there were many horses and many chariots. But they were defeated because God gave them into the hand of Joshua. And then in chapter 11 of the 11th verse, we read about Hazor. And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them. There was not any left to breathe and he burnt Hazor with fire.

And then we come to chapter 12. There is a list of 31 kings that were conquered and killed by Joshua and his army. The point we make is that God was sending judgment on these people. Somebody might say, well, it looks to me as though Joshua and his men were bloodthirsty. They were a little over the top. They did more than was necessary.

But that's not the case. They were carrying out God's command. We look at the book of Numbers chapter 33 verse 52. Then shall ye drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you and destroy all their pictures and destroy all their molten images and quite pluck down all their high places. You see, these people were idolaters.

They were deeply involved in false religion. And God says, I want you to destroy all of it. Destroy their pictures, destroy their molten images, these false gods that they had made before whom they bowed and worshiped. Pull down their high places. That was the places where they worshiped their gods.

Pull them down, destroy them. This was God's command. It wasn't given to Joshua to have a council among some of his leaders and say, what are we going to do about this? God already said, here's what you're to do. Deuteronomy chapter 20 verse 16. But of the cities of these people, which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth.

The destruction was to be complete, not to save anything alive that breathed. But thou shalt utter to destroy them, namely the Hittites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites as the Lord commanded thee, that they teach you not to do after their abominations. Now there were several reasons as to why these people were being destroyed. Number one, they were idolaters. Number two, they were corrupt, evil, wicked people. Number three, God didn't want them to remain and be an influence on his people. I don't want them to teach you after their abominations. Now notice the word abomination.

This helps us to get a clear picture of what these people were like. Their sins were abominable in God's sight. I don't want you to be influenced by them, which they have done unto their gods. All of these abominations they have done in the presence of their gods as a part of their religion.

There were evil, corrupt practices so that ye should sin against the Lord your God. So I want them destroyed that you are not influenced. So you see, Joshua really didn't have an option.

He couldn't say, I'm just having a hard time with this. I don't know that it's necessary to wipe out all of these people. I don't know that it's necessary to kill all of their kings.

Maybe I can figure out another plan, something that would seem a little more reasonable. But he didn't have that option. Chapter 11 verse 15 says, As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua. He left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses.

What a powerful statement. He left nothing undone. God gave the commandment to Moses.

Moses conveyed it unto Joshua and Joshua carried it out explicitly. He left nothing undone. How many of us could say that today? Could we say that when we look at the things God has commanded us in his word that we have left nothing undone?

Oh, I dare say if we have a sight of ourselves, we can think of a good many areas where we've left some things undone. How we need to be more diligent in our service to God, to carry out the things that he has commanded, to do what he has commanded and not to add something that he hasn't commanded. We see this principle even in the New Testament as Paul is leaving the church and in Acts chapter 20, the 20th verse says this, And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you. In other words, if there was something that the people might have considered to be unpleasant, some word of warning, some word of rebuke that they might not have wanted to hear, Paul nevertheless was faithful, whatever was profitable, whatever was truth, whatever needed to be preached.

That's what I have done. I've showed it to you and have taught you publicly and from house to house. Verse 27, For I have not shown to declare unto you all the counsel of God. God hasn't called men to pick and choose, selecting those passages that will be received by most and avoiding those that will be rejected. And some would object to them. No, we're to preach the whole counsel of God.

We mustn't base our personal views on our preferences and our feelings. I talked to a lady one day that said, oh, well, my God wouldn't punish anybody. That may have been true of her God, but that's not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible has punished. The God of the Bible is punishing and will punish.

The days of Noah's flood, all that happens to the earth except the eight souls in Noah's Ark drowned or destroyed. We're talking about a God who will punish sin. So if you say, well, I don't like the way God does some things, God's not going to change.

He hasn't asked for the advice and counsel of men. And if you develop in your own mind, a view of God that's not in harmony with what is revealed about himself and his word, then certainly you're not going to honor him and you're not going to know how to serve him. You're not going to know what you ought to believe.

See that in some circles today. They say God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Not one word is spoken about sin. There's no call for repentance. It's just if you want to get on board with a good, happy life here.

Here's the opportunity. You see, that's a distortion. That's not the gospel as presented us in the word of God. We mustn't select our preferences just because there's certain things that we're comfortable with.

We like them. Others are a little disconcerting. Others are convicting and challenging. We must accept the whole counsel of God. Somebody might say, well, I love to hear grace. Well, I love to preach grace.

That's a wonderful theme. But if you say I love to hear grace, but I don't ever want to hear a message on repentance. That's a problem because the doctrine of repentance and the call to repent is very clearly taught in scripture. Somebody says, well, tell me about the love of God, the mercy of God, but I don't want to hear about his wrath. I don't want to hear about judgment. Well, you see, that's in contrast to the attitude that Joshua had when he did all that the Lord commanded, left nothing undone.

He wasn't selective. He just took what God said and did it. And we need to take what God says in his word. Yes, some of it makes you uncomfortable.

Some of it is deeply convicting. Not everything in the Bible was written for the purpose of making you feel good. We find comfort and joy in many portions of scripture and many of the doctrines that are there, but we have to accept the whole counsel of God. Somebody might say, well, I'd like to hear about God's love for me and about how he's forgiven me of my sin, but when I get to that passage in Ephesians 4 and it says, be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Somebody says, now don't talk to me about that.

I've had people be that bold with it when it got to that scripture. Don't talk to me about forgiveness. I can't go there. I've been hurt too deeply.

So here's somebody that's going to pick and choose. I want to hear about God's forgiving me, but I don't want to be called upon to forgive somebody else. Or go to the passage that Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount that says, love your enemies. Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute.

Wait a minute. I have a difficult time loving my friends. Sometimes they can be a little challenging. You've got to love my enemies. Not only that, you've got to pray for them.

You see, we must be faithful to receive and to practice the whole counsel of God. Now the people on whom this judgment came were guilty of abominations. You can't get your mind, well, why all of this violence? Somebody has a real, real problem with that. It just troubles me that there's so much violence in the Book of Joshua.

I can't understand that. But these were not innocent people. Of course, there are none in the human race because we're all related to Adam and therefore we're all sinners.

But these were blatantly ungodly people. First of all, they worshiped false gods. The first commandment that God gave is, thou shalt have no other gods before me. I know in the minds of many people today that seems like a minor point because the idea is that everybody ought to be entitled to having their own god.

That if a person is sincere and genuine and they say, here's what I believe, that ought to be alright. But that's not what God says. God says there's one God.

He is the one true and living God. And thou shalt have no other gods, whatever sort they might be. An idol carved out of wood, one hewn out of stone, an idol of your own heart. The love for some of the material things and pleasures of this life, anything that comes before God is an idol. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. These people were idolaters.

Furthermore, they were guilty of abominable conduct. Leviticus chapter 18 verse 3, After the doings of the land of Egypt wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do? And after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do?

Neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. So it says, first of all, looking back to where they were at that particular time, when that message was delivered in Egypt, they weren't to be influenced by the customs of the Egyptians. And when they would eventually come into the land of Canaan, they were not to be influenced by their ordinances, by the things that they did. Now, the next 25 verses describe some of the sins which the Canaanites committed, the sins of which they were guilty. Most of them were sexual sins. Verse after verse after verse describes the blatant, abominable sins of which they were guilty. So when God was saying destroy them, he's meeting out to them the just condemnation that comes because one is guilty of violating God's law. Leviticus 18 on to the 26th verse, ye shall therefore keep my statutes and thy judgments and shall not commit any of these abominations. God describes the conduct of these people as being abominable. You're not to commit their abominations.

Neither any of your own nation or any stranger that sojourneth among you. For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you and the land is defiled. They are an abominable people.

And so God is sending judgment. Deuteronomy chapter 12 verse 31, thou shalt not do so unto them the Lord thy God for every abomination to the Lord which he hateth have they done unto their gods. Every conceivable sin, every abomination, they've done it even before their gods. It's a part of their ritual. It's a part of their religious exercise to do that which screw up. For even their sons and daughters, they have burnt in the fire to their gods.

That's something that just makes you cringe to think that there were numerous people in those olden times that thought that to appease their God, they had to put their children in the fire, give them as a living sacrifice. God says this is an abomination. And so the fact is God has always punished sin and will punish sin because he's a holy God, because he's just, because he will see to it that that which is in harmony with his character, his holiness is executed and carried out. The book of Naomi chapter 1 verse 2 says, God is jealous and the Lord revengeth. The Lord revengeth and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries.

Now somebody says, wait a minute preacher. I've always been told that God is a God of love. What is this about the Lord taking vengeance? Well, it's another aspect of the divine character of the truth that's revealed in scripture that many times is ignored and overlooked.

But we need to understand the truth about God. Why is it taking vengeance? Because these are wicked people.

Because of their sin, because of their rebellion. Takes vengeance on his adversaries and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. Yes, God is a God of love.

And I love to preach about love and I love to preach about grace and I do that from time to time. But this is also in the book. And we need to understand that God is also a God of wrath. And he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power and will not at all acquit the wicked. God's not going to just say, I'm going to ignore this situation.

Here are rebels. Here are vile, corrupt sinners. I'm not going to execute the penalty. I'm not going to uphold by law. No, God being holy will see to it that he executes judgment.

He will not at all acquit the wicked. The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm. And the clouds are the dust of his feet. Psalm 7 verse 11, God judgeth the righteous and God is angry with the wicked every day. Again, that's hard for somebody to get if they've only had little smatterings of Bible truth presented to them. And I can't imagine that. That God is angry with the wicked every day.

That's what he says. He hates sin because he's holy. And therefore, because of these individuals that are in rebellion against him and continuing a sinful course, he is angry with them. Deuteronomy chapter 7 verse 10, And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them.

He will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face. So we've seen basically something about the judgment of God meted out upon these idolaters, these who lived in abominable lives that were totally contrary to the principles that are in the law of God. But God also set judgment on Israel when they disobeyed. Now he gave them adequate warning. Of course, you know, when the law was given at Sinai and the people had said, oh, yes, we'll do it, we'll do it.

I mean, they were already in violation of it when Moses was on the mountain receiving the commandments. And so warning is given them. Sad to say they didn't heed the warning, but here's what was said back in Deuteronomy chapter 11 verse 16, Take heed to yourselves that your heart be not deceived and ye turn aside and serve other gods. I don't want you to be confused when you come into the land and you are having to confront people that do not believe in the one true and living God.

I don't want you to be deceived. I don't want you to turn aside and serve other gods and worship them. And then the Lord's wrath be kindled against you. And he shut up the heavens and there be no rain and that the land yield not her fruit lest thou perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

If you're sidetracked, you get over there and you don't carry out our commands and you've got these people living side by side and they are influencing you and you want to become like them and you want to fit in and you worship their gods, you'll be destroyed off the land that I've given you. Show pity, Lord, O Lord, forgive. Let all repent in rebellion. In the message today, we have looked at some of the judgments God sent on idolatrous people in Old Testament times. Now someone may say, I don't like to hear about God punishing idolaters or to be told that I am an unworthy sinner. But if you don't acknowledge sin, you can't appreciate grace.

If you don't see your own unworthiness, you'll see no need for mercy. If you don't know what it means to be lost, you won't understand what it means to be saved. How wonderful to know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of lost, ruined sinners. I hope you will write us and until next week at this same time, may the Lord richly bless you all.

Just in death, and if my soul were sent to hell, my righteous law proves it well. The Baptist Bible Hour has come to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. Address all mail to the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. That's the Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. O depth of mercy, can it be that mercy's still reserved for me? O can my God His grace...
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-03 02:08:03 / 2023-09-03 02:17:56 / 10

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