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If God Is Good, How Could He Command Holy War?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
September 23, 2021 12:01 am

If God Is Good, How Could He Command Holy War?

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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September 23, 2021 12:01 am

Skeptics challenge the goodness of God by pointing to His command for Israel to conquer the land of Canaan, leaving no survivors. How should Christians respond? Today, Derek Thomas soberly addresses the justice of God in a world of sin.

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This week on Renewing Your Mind were looking at some of the tough questions Christians face. How is it as a cold dawn look for Joshua not for Israel but for God to command the entire execution. The ethnic cleansing of Canaan and this may be among the most difficult questions to answer. If God is love. How could he command holy war demanding the death of even women and children today Dr. Derek Thomas provide some helpful insight into God's justice and love. Even in war.

His text is the book of Joshua's narrative falls into four aspects. First of all, the encounter at the end of chapter 5 of Joshua with the captain of the Lord's army. This mysterious figure.

I remember he has a sword in his hands. Joshua asks and are you with us or against us. Then in verse two of chapter 6 and the Lordů The covenant name of God on the Lord said to Joshua and the Lord there is presumably the captain of the Lord of hosts.

This figure that's what we've seen at the end of chapter 5. This is this is a theophany. This is an appearance of God in human form and the Lord's said to Joshua C.

I am giving Jericho into your hand and its king, and mighty men of valor, you shall march around the city and he gives these instructions.

Joshua wants to know are you with us or against us on this commander. This theophany disappearance of God says to him, and stop trying to use me submit to me. I am not your copilot Joshua has to take the city and Joshua's concern is how is God going to fit into my purpose but is the wrong question.

Joshua must ask himself this question how I'm I going to fit into God's purpose. The real battle of Jericho was in Joshua's heart will will will Joshua submit to the will of God, and then pertinently for our question this morning, if God is good. Or, since God is good. How can he command holy war because once those walls came down they were to go into that city and they were to show apart from Rahab and her family. They were to show no mercy.

Women and men and children and babies animus. They will also to be slain.

That's not romanticize this story. The subject summarize the story. This story is about blood and disembowel not decapitation with an ancient told by our standards implements of war if God is good, since God is good.

How can he commands the killing of little children and babies. Now the Pentateuch has set this up for us just act on God's part as a unrighteous acts on God's part of this be a clue. Back in this narrative of Abraham in Genesis 15 that Abraham was to be promised the land of Israel, but he would not possess so much as a square inch of because the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

The iniquity of the Amorites who dwelt in the land of Canaan was not yet full and when presumably the iniquity of the Amorites is full when ungodliness reaches a certain level, God would devote them to destruction. Joshua and his men would be the implements index policy of heaven. Holy war devoted to destruction. We say something about the concept of holy war passing over Israel's defensive wars I'm passing over the expansionist wars, under the reign of David. For example, Samuel warned that in asking for a king. A king would then want a standing army, not just a defensive army, but the nominee, the something to do and it would escalate the war in Israel and I'm passing over all of that time I focusing exclusively now on holy war, implying holy here, not moral or ethical sense so much.

But in the sense of sequestration in the sense that this war is set apart only God can declare Kevin holy war. Every soldier every warrior must consider himself consecrated to the Lord. There were certain things he was not allowed to do in the days prior to holy war.

The term Kevin devoted Ben means that everything from human beings from men and women and children in gold and silver on booty and all of it belongs to the Lord, that he might do as he wills. In Deuteronomy 20 where you have the so-called manual of war there is a clear distinction between cities that fall outside the promised land and cities that were within the promised land and cities within the promised land were to be shown no mercy. They were to be devoted to the Lord you will remember in the story of Saul, how Saul's kingship was brought to task by God because he had refused to devote not just the Amalekites but that she to destruction. Remember Samuels what what is this bleating of sheep in my ears, but Saul had not fulfilled the policy of heaven. Remember the consequence of the city of AI immediately after Jericho the story of a king who saw the bubble owner's comments on the wedge of gold on the shekels of silver, and he saw the coveted ID talked how did was full of herbs and brought Israel to its knees. The consequence of one man refusing to exercise the policy of current brought Israel to its knees were talking here about the total annihilation. Holy G hot this the holy G hot against the cities of Canaan. Since God is good. How can he command holy war. How is it ethical within the context of the Old Testament laws do not apply to modern states, and they certainly don't apply to the church in the new covenant we might not take up a sword and engage in a Crusades against whoever there is a radical distinction between heaven laws as it applies to the Old Testament state of Israel and what may apply to the modern state and what may apply to the church in the new covenant? Is how is it ethical within the Old Testament within the narrative of the conquest within the great redemptive story of the gospel as it unfolds in the timeline of the Old Testament. How is it ethical God, but not for Joshua not for Israel but for God to command the entire execution. The ethnic cleansing of Canaan and that not to be genocide if you don't think that's a tough question you're not in the same world as me is a really tough question here is just the Bible answer. It's Genesis 1516 the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full Abraham to exercise restraint because in the providence of God's common grace towards the Amorites that must be filling all of the iniquity of the Amorites before the Ross of God is poured out deluge upon the coven says on this sixth chapter of Joshua God was pleased to purge the land of Canaan of the foul and loathsome defilements by which it had long been polluted the indiscriminate and promiscuous slaughter making no distinction of age or sex, but including a like women and children be engaged on the decrepit might seem on in human massacre, but it had been executed by command of God. But as he, in whose hands are life-and-death can't justly do these nations to destruction. This puts an end to all discussion adding that the decree Calvin adds the decree is dreadful. Indeed, now let me ask you a question at the time of the Congress, the iniquity of the Amorites is full where they were there any more sinful than Southern California or Florida to think that you might find sins and Canaan that you cannot find in modern America or the city to be very careful how you answer the question why was it fair for God to exercise heaven on the Canaanites when he evidently does not do so on us apart of the understanding of this tremendously difficult issue is we must grasp the tediousness of sin.

If you have a like fear of sin. If you have a tolerant view of sin if you can look at sin than just walk away if you can hear the name of Jesus blasphemed amended not to the very core of your being, and I can understand this but God is so holy that he cannot look upon sin goddess is so holy missing cannot simply reel you to be saved. Just like his fingers to salvation.

He has to send his own son. His only son, he only has one son, and in order to save the likes of you read he does not spare the city where Abraham's son spared him, but he did not spare his own son part of the reason we find this ethically difficult to understand this because we have such a low view of sin living things that you what's happening here in Joshua six. What's what's happening in these heroin loss.

It's a breaking in into the world of here and now into this space time continuum in which Joshua lived of the judgment that will be evidenced on the last day.

This is because what you will and intrusion ethic and an eschatological intrusion ethic of the end into the now for temporary. For a special reason because of God's desire to have Israel occupied the land of Canaan within the broad spectrum of the flow of redemptive history so that Jesus would be born and you and I would be saved in the integrity and unrighteousness of his holy character because God is love, but he is also holy life. He is holy life and not spare the ungodly. See difficult as this is just a bigger question is a bigger question why does God, given the fact that millions of unborn children who bear the image of God. Why does God not come to judge us not the oil spill in the Gulf that's child's play. I don't mean to diminish it in any way, but that's that's child's play. I just God not open up the heavens just consume this nation. My friends, if you were to do so, he would be all together just if you don't believe that you don't believe in the God of Scripture because this reference listen. There is coming a day when Jesus will come again on the clouds of heaven, and he will he will separate separate having, having raised this is all to himself. He will separate one to his left and one to his right and you will people say to hundreds of millions of people and women, children depart from me, depart from me into everlasting fire and into the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. My friends what happened in Canaan will be by comparison, reads Revelation 18 of the destruction of Babylon the person sitting in all its show arrogance friends to know what Haran tells us that the love of God is a holy life and a righteous life and it's what every single one of us is the only safe place in all the universe this morning is to be in Jesus Christ to be in union with Jesus Christ to own a good knowledge of him as Lord and Savior, prophet and priest and king, because apart from him that destruction that you see in your chest. A proleptic glimpse of what awaits those who are outside the Jesus water hardening norms, blessing today is a day of grace day when we can call on the name of the Lord is what a wonderful perspective on a difficult topic you're listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Thursday, but I believe web and thank you for being with us. We just heard is a message by Dr. Derek Thomas addressing one of the tough questions that Christians face you know any time that we think about the teaching of the Bible and work to understand it, were engaging in theology we need to study Scripture properly so that our conclusions are consistent and founded in truth. With that in mind, let me recommend Dr. RC Sproul's book, everyone's a theologian.

RC examines the basic teachings that are found in Scripture in a systematic way using time-tested methods of interpretation. You can request the paperback edition. When you give a donation of any about today to look at her ministries but to give your phone number it's 800-435-4343 you can make a request when you cause or you can go online to Renewing Your helping believers think biblically is our main focus here is like in her ministries.

And if you're looking for an opportunity to study online at a deeper level.

Let me commend Reformation Bible college to you. Their courses are carefully designed to help you know, worship and serve God in all of life. You can find course information online.

When you go to Reformation Bible all week.

We have been looking at the tough questions that Christians face and tomorrow. Dr. Sproles will address a question that Christians have always asked how can I be happy in heaven. If I am aware that one of my loved ones is in now.

I hope you'll join us for Dr. Sproles answer tomorrow. Here on Renewing Your Mind

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