The following is a reprint of notes sent to me from my youngest son Jarred
I like it . . . a lot
(Dad check out these excerpts from the book I’m reading, “The Holiness of God”, by RC Sproul- I HIGHLY recommend the book!)
Hans Kung, the controversial Roman Catholic theologian, writing about the seemingly harsh judgments of sin God makes in the Old Testament, says that the most mysterious aspect of the mystery of sin is not that the sinner deserves to die, but rather that the sinner in the average situation continues to exist.
Kung asks the right question. The issue is not why does God punish sin, but why does He permit the ongoing rebellion of man? What prince, what king, what ruler would manifest so much patience with a continually rebellious populace?
The key to Kung’s observation is that he speaks of sinners continuing to live in the average situation. That is, it is customary or usual for God to be gracious. He is indeed long-suffering, patient and slow to anger. In fact He is so slow to anger that when His anger does erupt we are shocked and offended by it. We forget rather quickly that God’s patience is designed to lead us to repentance, to give us time to be redeemed. The SUPREME FOLLY IS THAT WE THINK WE WILL GET AWAY WITH OUR REVOLT.
We must face the difficult question of the the quest for the “Promised Land”. There God explicitly commanded the slaughter of men, women, and children. The Promised Land was given to Israel by a bloody sword, a sword dripping with the blood of infants and women. God directly issued the order for the bloodbath:
“1 When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you- 2 and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. [a] Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.” (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)
WHY DID GOD issue such a command? How could He have ordered the slaughter of women and children? People are always attempting to soften this event! Curriculum for students try to explain that in light of the New Testament revelation of God’s love we know that God did not ever issue such a belligerent command… The Old Testament is merely the record of a primitive warlike group of Hebrews who tried to justify ruthless policies by attrubuting them to a divine sanction.
These kind of interpretations overlook some vital aspects of the matter. First, there is a historical precedent that is far more severe than the conquest of Canaan- THE FLOOD. In the Flood God destroyed the entire population of the world except for Noah and his family. The Flood was a “conquest of Canaan” on a grand scale. More important is the failure to understand the nature of sin. The assumption of most people (including myself before God revealed these ‘nuggets’ to me), is that God wiped out INNOCENT people in Canaan. In fact there were NO INNOCENT women or children in Canaan. The conquest of Canaan was an explicit expression of God’s RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT on a wicked nation. He made that point clear to Israel. He also made it clear to ISRAEL that she was also not innocent. It was not as if God destroued a wicked people for the sake of a righteous people. To the Canaanites God poured out justice. To the Jews God poured out mercy.
“4 After the LORD your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The LORD has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is going to drive them out before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.” (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)
God did not choose Israel because Israel was already holy. He chose them to make them holy. God ordained a scorched-earth policy to purge the land for future salvation. THIS is “Holy Justice”.
(These are excerpts from the book I’m reading, “The Holiness of God”, by RC Sproul- I HIGHLY recommend this book!)