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God's Justice in Judgment #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green
The Truth Network Radio
April 6, 2023 12:00 am

God's Justice in Judgment #2

The Truth Pulpit / Don Green

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April 6, 2023 12:00 am

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Don Green

On what moral basis do the people of God go into a land and kill everybody that was there first?

How is that just? How is that consistent with the righteousness of God? You've heard some people say that the God of the Old Testament is harsh and judgmental, while in the New Testament he's kind and forgiving. But on today's edition of the Truth Pulpit, as Don Green continues to teach God's people God's Word, Pastor Don will explain why there's really no such bifurcation when it comes to God. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hi again, I'm Bill Wright. We are continuing our series titled, The Justice and Deliverance of God, with part two of Don's message, God's Justice in Judgment. Last time we looked at the early chapters of Joshua to see how the promise God made to Abraham nearly 700 years earlier was to be fulfilled. It was a good reminder that centuries are no impediment to the Lord's purposes and will. Don pointed out that we too are awaiting a promise made long ago, but we can be sure of its fulfillment. Today our teacher will help us understand the total devastation that came upon the inhabitants of Canaan at the Lord's instruction.

So let's join Don now in the Truth Pulpit. Let's lay out the physical aspect of what is about to take place in the book of Joshua. Israel had to eradicate, eliminate, eviscerate, how many e-words can I get going here?

I don't know. Israel had to eradicate the Canaanites so that they would not corrupt the people of God with their false religion, and the eradication was to be severe, and this is where some of the challenge, the theological challenge of the book of Joshua comes up. Look at Deuteronomy chapter 7, we'll go back now. Joshua is commanded to go forth and into the land here in Joshua 1. Well we're going to do a little bit of a flashback now to the book of Deuteronomy, and turn to Deuteronomy chapter 7.

So we have an appreciation of what it is that Joshua was called to do. We'll look at three passages, we could and probably should look at several others, but time will fail us if we do. Deuteronomy chapter 7 verse 1. I love the way all of this fits together. I love the fact that things that you read as you go through your Bible reading plan that just kind of seem disconnected.

I love opportunities like this to bring it all together, and we see the harmony and the continuity of Scripture right before our very eyes in undeniable ways. Deuteronomy chapter 7 verse 1. When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, here it comes, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them.

Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them. You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods. Then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and he will quickly destroy you. Turn to Deuteronomy chapter 12 verse 2. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.

You shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods and obliterate their name from that place. Chapter 20 verse 16. Verse 16 especially sets it in stark terms.

Sorry, let's go back to verse 15 just to help set the context there. Thus you shall do to all the cities that are very far from you which are not of the cities of these nations nearby. Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes, but you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the Lord your God. So there's utter destruction. There is going to be war and in that war these people will be obliterated. Israel is commanded to annihilate them and kill them and eliminate them.

That's pretty severe. We're not necessarily used to always thinking about the God of the Bible that way and this raises a challenging question for us, challenging question that some raise. There are writers who would say and have said that the God of Joshua is nothing like the God of the New Testament. This God of war, this God of a locality and a God of battle is nothing like the God of the New Testament revealed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, what do we say to those kinds of things?

Here's part of the problem. Some, perhaps some of us, in our weakness and before we've really thought through things, it would be easy to picture these Canaanites as unsuspecting folks who were merely minding their own business when suddenly a hostile foreign army shows up and demands to take their land from them. Someone might picture Omar the Canaanite standing on his patio and flipping camel burgers in his backyard grill and suddenly an army shows up as if the Canaanites were suburban Americans just trying to mind their own business without giving much thought to God. On what moral basis does Israel slaughter the nations? On what moral basis do the people of God go into a land and kill everybody that was there first?

How is that just? How is that consistent with the righteousness of God? How are we to think about these things?

Let me give you three points to kind of hang your thoughts on as we go through this, but let me say this. Apparently, the glory of God is more important than the life of men. Apparently, the fidelity and sanctification of God's people is more important than the nations that would undermine that sanctity. As we've seen in the passages, God says that these nations need to be exterminated so that their corrupt religion will not corrupt you as my people. And while unbelieving people might come with a hostile attitude toward the Bible and say men shouldn't be treated this way, that human perspective is totally the wrong way to look at it.

It's totally going at it from the wrong starting point. The correct starting point is not, what about these Canaanites? The correct starting point is, what is the glory of God?

This is how we have to start. We have to align ourselves with the character and the purposes of God and what God in His righteousness has purposed and what God in His righteousness wants to occur by definition is the preeminent priority and by definition it is righteous. By definition it is righteous. Let's just lay out three aspects of this situation that gives the moral basis for it so that we feel strengthened in our faith and have a sense of proper understanding so that we see this from God's perspective not from a humanistic perspective that has gotten so bad that parents aren't even supposed to spank their children anymore. If you got a problem with spanking children, imagine the moral cataclysm it is for people to encounter the holiness of God in display of the annihilation of nations. Our culture is totally unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with these issues. You know, save the trees and kill the babies. You know, it's crazy.

But whatever. First point, remember the sovereignty of God. Remember the sovereignty of God and this really cuts right to the chase of all of it.

This is why men object. They do not want God to be free and sovereign in His reign of the world that He created. God is the Creator. Therefore, by definition, He has authority over His world and over His creation that He has made. God is the Creator of man. By definition, God has the right and prerogative to determine the destinies of men and the destinies of nation. That is His free prerogative that man is not in a position to challenge and say, why do you do it this way? God has authority over nations.

Scripture says that He bestows authority on whom He wishes. Daniel chapter 4 verse 17. Daniel 2.

I won't have you turn there. Daniel 2 verses 20 and 21. Daniel 2, 20 and 21 says, let the name of God be blessed forever, forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epics. He removes kings and establishes kings. And so God is so sovereign. God is so much the King of creation that it is His prerogative and His alone to determine when a nation rises and when a nation falls.

It is not the place of any man anywhere in any time to question that, to question the righteousness of God in what He does with His creation. We must step back as it were when we come into this realm of His sovereignty. We step back and say, God, that's your realm. I step back. I withhold my judgment.

I silence my tongue. As Habakkuk 2 says, let all the earth fall silent before Him. We fall silent before the sovereignty of God and we tremble in fear when we see on the pages of Scripture or played out in our own lifetimes where God says it's time for this nation to come down. That's His prerogative because He is sovereign and it is not our place to say, God, why are you doing that? As if God had to answer to our moral standard, as if our pattern of thinking was that which would subject the reign of God to our dictates. That is utterly sinful to think that way. People that think that way need to totally abandon their whole mindset, their whole set of priorities, their whole prism through which they interpret life. They have to have a radical reorientation of their thinking before they can begin to think properly about such things. And so this is an immediate conflict with worldviews.

And as Christians, as those who desire to be faithful to God, faithful to the Christ who saved us, faithful to the Word of God that we love, we can't back away from declaring that. We engage this conflict. I have a friend who is a Navy SEAL. He loved talking about military tactics.

He's a fine Christian man, pastor in Colorado now. One of the things that he said is that when you come under sniper fire, enemy forces are firing at you, you start firing your own weapon and go straight to the source of the conflict. You don't run from it. You don't hide from it.

You just go straight into the line of fire and you fire back with your own weaponry. When we see this conflict come up, when we engage this in books or the thinking of neighbors and friends and whoever we might interact with, we need to assert the sovereign prerogative of God to rule his creation as he sees fit. And if God commands his people to go into a nation and dispossess a land, then we are on God's side because God is sovereign and we as born-again Christians have bent the knee. We have received him as our own sovereign Lord and we gladly acknowledge his sovereign reign over the totality of creation and to allow him the prerogative to determine the destinies of men, of nations, he sees fit. That's how great God is.

That's how powerful he is. And so we begin our thinking by recognizing the free prerogative of God to deal with nations as he sees fit. That's point number one, the sovereignty of God. Now point number two. Point number two, the self-disclosure of God. The self-disclosure of God by which I'm referring to the fact that God has made himself known. He has revealed himself.

And this is going to be hopefully very helpful. Despite what some critics would have us to believe, God, while he has the sovereign right to be arbitrary if he wants to, God was not arbitrary in his judgment of the Canaanites. What came upon the Canaanites was the proper fruit of their chosen lifestyle and Scripture makes this very abundantly clear and history confirms it as well.

Here's what is easy to miss. If you've read through the book of Joshua a few times, it's easy to have missed this. The Canaanites had heard the Word of God and they rejected it.

Very clear, it's very evident. Look at Joshua chapter 2. Joshua chapter 2. They had a surprising amount of revelation given to them and they bucked against it.

They tried to silence it. Joshua chapter 2 verse 1. Then Joshua the son of Nun sent two men as spies secretly from Shittim saying, go view the land especially Jericho. So they went and came into the house of a harlot whose name was Rahab and lodged there. So Joshua sent spies ahead in the human dimension of the battle so that they know what to expect when they begin the invasion.

Now watch this. Verse 2. It was told the king of Jericho saying, behold men from the sons of Israel have come here tonight to search out the land. The sons of Israel. There were representatives of the living God on their turf. And what did he do with them?

Verse 3. The king of Jericho sent word to Rahab saying, bring out the men who have come to you who have entered your house where they have come to search out all the land. He intended to kill them. Bring them out. He says they're spies. He says bring them out and we're going to execute them.

And so here they are. He knew who these men were and he wanted to stop them. Well how much did the people of Jericho know? They knew a lot. They knew a lot. They knew enough that they should have known better than to oppose these men. Look at what Rahab says in verse 8 and I'm presuming your knowledge of the story.

Rahab hid the spies. Verse 8. Now before they lay down she came up to them on the roof and said to the men. So Rahab, a citizen of Jericho, comes and tells them what she knows about them and about their God. He says, I know that the Lord, and she uses the name Yahweh, the covenant-keeping name of God, I know that the Lord has given you the land and that the terror of you has fallen on us and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. Verse 10. We, not just I, we as people, we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan to Sihon and Og whom you utterly destroyed.

When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you. For the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. They knew who God was to the extent that he had disclosed himself up to that point in the progress of Revelation at that point, God had made himself known to these Canaanites. They knew him by his covenant-keeping name of God, of Yahweh. They knew that God had delivered Israel from Egypt. They knew the miraculous deliverance.

They knew that he had powerfully worked and protected and acted on behalf of his people. But they didn't repent. They didn't come except for Rahab in a in a drop of God's mercy on this people. He shows mercy to Rahab, but as a people they did not come and say, oh tell us about your God. We realize we're a wicked people. We realize that that God has made himself known through you. Come and let us be saved too.

Let us join with the people of God. When they had representatives on their soil, they wanted to kill him. That's culpable.

That's morally culpable for them to respond in that way. Rahab shows that the inhabitants understood for many years the redemptive acts of God on behalf of Israel, and yet they still rejected the spies and would have killed them if only they had found them. There was no sense of repentance. There was no receptivity to this God who had obviously distinguished himself in the actions of nations, in his power to overthrow kingdoms on behalf of his people.

They didn't repent. Further, there's another aspect of this, the passage that we go to often. Turn over to Romans chapter 1 for a moment. Romans chapter 1.

There's more coming here. Romans chapter 1 beginning in verse 20. They had not only the testimony of what they knew from historical reports, they had the testimony of creation written on their hearts as well. Notice how the Apostle Paul puts it in a time reference that would include the Canaanites. For since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood through what has been made so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish art was darkened. Cannot blame God that the Canaanites rejected what they knew, fitting that they should be judged for rejecting the truth. This gives us a sense. And it shows us how the fact that this is even an issue, the fact that some of you are probably even struggling to accept what I've said here about this point, it shows how much we have been conditioned to diminish the value of the revelation of God.

They had heard and yet they didn't respond. When God's revelation comes to people, even though they don't take it seriously, even though they don't turn to it, what you and I need to understand is that there is a great moral act that is taking place there. God comes to a man and makes himself known, makes his revelation apparent, brings it to the attention of the mind. When someone just flicks that away, treats it as something common and profane and unholy and unworthy of their time, oh, oh, oh, it makes me shiver in fright to realize that that is what the majority of people do with the revelation of God.

God is sovereign and he has not been silent. We are all accountable to know of his revelation. Pastor Don Green will have part three of his message, God's Justice in Judgment, on our next program. And we hope you'll join us then on The Truth Pulpit.

But right now, here again is Don with some closing words. You know, friend, I listen to a lot of Christian radio myself and I know how the game is played at this stage of the program. People have something to sell to you or they make a strong ask for your support.

Well, that's not what I want to do today at all. I just want you to know that our perspective on this ministry is this. The Truth Pulpit exists for you to minister God's Word to you.

You do not exist in order to make this ministry possible. We trust the Lord for his provision and he's been very generous to us. So please know that we love you, that we want you to benefit from our program, and we have no expectations of what you're going to do in response. We just want you to hear God's Word, receive it, understand it, and obey it. And we trust that God will bless you and us as that process takes place. Thank you, Don. And friend, we hope you'll visit thetruthpulpit.com soon to learn more about our ministry. That's thetruthpulpit.com. I'm Bill Wright and we'll see you again next time when Don Green again teaches God's people God's Word from the Truth Pulpit.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-06 04:58:13 / 2023-04-06 05:06:58 / 9

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