could a "merciful" God order Israel to destroy certain peoples
am halfway through Genesis, and quite appalled by the disgraceful behavior
of all the characters involved, including God."
Old Testament reveals God ordered Israel to attack and destroy certain peoples
and cities. In every such case, the people or city targeted for destruction
had been rebuked by God hundreds of years before and urged to repent. As
their Creator, God was not so much being cruel and unusual in punishing
them through war, but gracious and patient in giving them multiple generations
in which to seek his forgiveness.
God's specific punishment of these peoples and cities through the use of
the armies of the nation of Israel was accomplishing something else. It
was working to bring Israel to the place, condition, and circumstances in
which the Messiah (mankind's way of salvation) would arrive. Even Israel
was not above being punished by destruction or captivity by other nations
when it was found in unrepentant and persistent rebellion against the Lord.
That happened numerous times.
that it is not God's intent to exercise infinite patience with humanity,
or tolerate limitless rebellion against his authority. That is a lesson
which is taught in at least half the books of the Bible. In his own words
of wisdom, writings by Thomas
Jefferson, now found on the walls of his memorial in Washington,
D.C., mindfully warn our own forgetful nation of this limit to God's patience:
Can the liberties
of a nation be secure when we have removed the conviction that these liberties
are the gift of God? I tremble for my country when I reflect that God
is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever.
Isn't religion to blame for
most of history's killings?