Job asked questions of God that were not answered (at least in the book of Job). Like Job, I have questions about God’s love that annoy me.
I am not expecting an answer to these questions beyond the pat-answer replies: “God is sovereign; God is good; You just have to trust God.”, etc. The reason some of the questions I have trouble me is I try to interpret God’s actions in the Old Testament through the image of God in Christ. When I try to do that, things get murky.
We are against abortions. We will even support defunding Planned Parenthood, which offers much more than abortion services, just to prove our support for life. We will send mass e-mails against a president that is “pro-choice” because that ”must” mean he is against protecting all life. We will shake our heads and roll our eyes at the idea of following any leader that supports the death of our nations’ innocents, our unborn babies.
We use the Bible to support this. The same Bible that shows our Leader, our God, Jehovah, commanding His people, Israel, to slaughter babies as they invade and inherit the land of Canaan.
Don’t elect any leader that allows abortion, but follow a God that commands mass killing, which includes a whole lot of babies. Oh, and we tell others He is LOVE.
This is another one of the issues with which I wrestle. I struggle with it because we would call any man, woman or leader we know that would encourage the same actions a murderer, a monster or a terrorist. We go to the Bible to prove our point about it, too. Why on Earth don’t we say the same thing about God?
I wish I had THE definitive answer on this one. If anyone claimed they did, I would be skeptical, but still listen.
Reading scripture, I have noticed that God commands things for reasons that we would never understand at the time He commanded them. God operates from a bigger picture, foresight and understanding that I will never possess this side of eternity. The last chapters of Job reveal our limitations on understanding how things work.
BASED on that realization, God working from a bigger perspective than mine, I wondered what good could have come from the slaughter of so many babies in Canaan. I know God didn’t want the Canaanites left in the land because they would seduce Israel to worship the idols. However, orphaned babies cannot lead a nation to idolatry, right? That doesn’t make sense to me.
As I read how easily Israel turned away from God’s way countless times, and some of the brutality recorded in Judges, I see a people that was pretty unstable and NOT the posterchildren of morality. Based on how nations treated their captives and slaves, how would Israel treat the orphaned babies of Canaan if they kept them alive? How brutal would the Canaanites’ lives have been had they all lived? In Judges you still had entire towns that were so carnal that they would spend an entire night raping one woman, leaving her dead, only to have her body cut up into 12 pieces and mailed to the tribes of Israel to “get their attention” (Judges 19). Did God know something about the hearts of Israel that we don’t? Could they have easily become as debased and wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah before its destruction?
When I read how conquered women and children were treated in history, killing the babies of Canaan may have been the more humane option instead of keeping them alive (or, the lesser of two evils).
I wrestle with the “why” of God commanding something that we would no way on Earth consider moral or loving in any leader today. However, scripture reveals that God never commmanded something based on a whim or speculation. God knew a whole lot more than we do about the people He was leading. Maybe God’s command to kill the children of Canaan was an act of mercy. I know we screw up big time when we think we are making merciful choices, but we are not God. If He commands something, He knows How things will work out.
Why serve a God that commanded His people to kill scores of babies? I still serve Him because God knew things about the heart of Israel and how they would have treated those enslaved babies had they not. That is what I believe anyway. There are many questions that can be thrown out about this situation, and I will bring up more myself down the road.
For now, I do believe whenever God had a child killed, it was most likely an act of mercy that we could not foresee.
Okay, I will open the Pandora’s Box: What do you think?