“So Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including all the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you.’ “
We today cannot imagine a good God condoning violence, let alone promoting it. But think back. Mankind was quite barbaric in the centuries and millenniums before Christ. God never runs very far ahead of mankind, or else mankind would not understand, would get discouraged and then not even try to follow God. By the time Jesus came, God was saying, “No more violence.”
In this scripture for today, God was telling Joshua to attack people in the Promised Land ~ Canaan. This brings up another question: Why would a good God allow one group of people to kill off another group of people? God told Abraham centuries earlier, “In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Genesis 15:16).
In Leviticus 18:24, 28, God warned the Jews through Moses, “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled….And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.” So God warned the Jews that, if they got at bad as the previous people in Canaan, he would drive them out too.
Further, in Old Testament times, God often punished people immediately. Why punish them? Partly to get them away from the good people. And God used armies of believers to do the punishing for him.
Today God does not expect us to do the punishing. Romans 12:19 says, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ says the Lord. On the contrary, If your enemy is hungry feed him….Do not be overcome buy evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Thank God, he has taken the terrible task of vengeance away from us. We can just forgive our enemies and hand things over to God to take whatever steps need to be taken. In the mean time, we can read the Old Testament and learn that God takes notice when people are doing bad things to us. God does take care of us. God does love his children.