"I'm more righteous than God", was his claim.

Glenn Addington By Glenn Addington, 2nd Mar 2018 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3bzob1b5/
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

An explanation for God's command to destroy the nations which occupied the Promised Land.

Introducing "Rick"

I never personally met "Rick", but was simply told about him. He was a young professional working in a small town in mid western America. He was egotistical and arrogant. Whenever the topic of Christianity came up, he would smugly declare that he was more righteous than God. God was responsible for the command to Israel to massacre all the inhabitants of the land when going in to take possession of the Promised Land.Rick said he had never had anything to do with the death of another human being, so, in his mind, this justified his statement about being more righteous than God.

The commands

Exodus 34:12-16 says, "Watch yourself that you make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land into which you are going, or it will become a snare in your midst. But rather, you are to tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and cut down their Asherim --for you shall not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God--otherwise you might make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land and they would play the harlot with their gods and sacrifice to their gods, and someone might invite you to eat of his sacrifice, and you might take some of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters might play the harlot with their gods and cause your sons also to play the harlot with their gods."
Deuteronomy 7:25 "The graven images of their gods you are to burn with fire; you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, or you will be snared by it, for it is an abomination to the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 8:19 "It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish.

The result of disobedience

2 Chronicles 36:15-16 tells us, "The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent word to them again and again by His messengers, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place; but they continually mocked the messengers of God, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, until there was no remedy."
One of the last statements that Joshua made in his book, was"choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we should serve the Lord." God was intent on Israel's obedience and not involvement in the worship of idols. Anyone familiar with the book of Judges knows of Israel's disobedience. There was a continuous cycle among the people of disobedience, followed by subjugation by their enemies who had been sent by God. The people would cry out to God, and he would send a deliverer to them to help them overcome their enemies. They returned back to their obedience of God for a while, and then would once again be guilty of worshiping idols. And the cycle would continue.
Shortly after the dividing of the kingdom into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom, which included Judah and Benjamin, the northern kingdom immediately began the worship of idols. God repeatedly sent prophets to them to warn them to turn from their idolatry and seek His blessings by their obedience. The Scripture passage referenced above from second Chronicles explains the reason for the nations being swept away into captivity. Throughout the book of Jeremiah, Jeremiah repeatedly called on the people to turn from their idolatry. The northern kingdom was swept away into captivity by the Assyrians. Sadly, the nation of Judah, though having seen the northern 10 tribes swept away, continued on the path of disobedience and idolatry, and around 100 years later were taken captive by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar.
It should be noted that after the return from captivity, idolatry was never the huge problem that it had been before. Another result of the captivity was eventually the birth of the group known as the Pharisees. While often times they were troublemakers during Jesus' ministry, not all of them were bad. Their purpose or goal was to try to keep the people on a straight path in obedience to God's word so that there might never be another captivity experience.

"The inhabitants will become a snare to you."

The truth of this statement was demonstrated in the book of Numbers, chapter 25.
Verses 1-3 tell us, "While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel." The ultimate result of this was, among other things, a plague, and 24,000 were slain.
Manasseh was king over the nation of Judah for 55 years. During that time, he reintroduced the idol worship that his father had sought to destroy. He placed altars inside the house of the Lord, and built altars for the worship of sun, moon, and stars in the 2 courts of the house of the Lord. For the worship of Moloch he "burned his sons as an offering", and practiced witchcraft, sorcery, used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He put a carved image of an idol which he had made in the house of God. By his leading and example, he led the nation of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to do more evil than the nations which Israel had displaced when they came into the promised land. The Lord spoke to Manasseh and his people, warning them against their idolatry, but they paid no heed to the warning. The Lord brought the commanders of the Army the King of Assyria against them, and captured Manasseh and took him to Babylon. Greatly distressed by this, he cried out to God and humbled himself before God. God was moved by his petition and responded, allowing him to come back to Jerusalem to rule. Second Chronicles chapter 33 verse 13 ends saying, "then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God." In verse 15 of that chapter, we're told that he removed the foreign gods and the idol from the house of the Lord, as well as the altars which he had built on the mountain of the house of the Lord and in Jerusalem. He basically did an about-face, and in addition to what has already been said about the changes, he set up the altar of the Lord and sacrificed peace offerings and thank offerings on it, and ordered the people to serve the Lord God of Israel. He was never able to completely undo the damage that he had done. After he died, when his son became King, his son sacrificed to all the carved images that his father had made, and worship them.

Does this help explain why the nations in the land had to be displaced?

God knew ahead of time that all these things would happen. The nature and character of the peoples in the land often showed up in the sexual immorality that was a part of their worship. This could be seen in the Numbers passage cited earlier.
God knew that His people could easily be swayed and swept away by that kind of behavior. God's desire was to protect and preserve His people. Behind all God's commandments was the underlying thought about the coming Messiah, who would teach His people, and would ultimately be their Savior, dying on the cross for their sin. This last concern was paramount in God's thinking. If His people turned away from worshiping Him and were lost in idol worship, there would be no means to accomplish His plan of redemption for lost mankind. To show His people that He meant business regarding the prohibition of idol worship, He brought in foreign nations to carry Israel and Judah away into captivity, after they continuously disobeyed and continued in their idol worship.
Though many are grieved by God's command that whole people groups be slaughtered, they must realize that, though it grieved God to give such a command, He was looking to the future, and was intent on preserving the bloodline through which Messiah would come.

Tags

Gods Purpose, Idolatry, Obeying Gods Covenant, Warnings To Ancient Israel

Meet the author

author avatar Glenn Addington
I am an American, former Viet Nam veteran, and a Christian, living in East Tennessee. I am now retired and am pursuing a writing career. I would welcome writing assignments.

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Comments

author avatar Len Addington
7th Mar 2018 (#)

Good later article. I will be post a related article later this week.

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