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August 22, 2007 / Daniel

Is God Unjust? 4

Here’s some more of my old sermon on God’s command for Israel to destroy the Canaanites. 

The Means of the Ban

In Deuteronomy 7, Moses instructs Israel on how this quarantine is to be carried out. He says:

Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the LORD’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire (Deut. 7:2b-5).

There were basically four parts to the quarantine: no treaties, no mercy, no intermarriage, no idols. Now each of these four parts needs to be understood and qualified within the context of the book of Joshua. Joshua shows us how the quarantine was actually carried out. From the book of Joshua, we can see that there was actually an exception to the rule. Now how do we know that? Primarily, from the story of Rahab. Here we see how the Israelites let Rahab and her family live even through they were Canaanites. Nowhere in the Bible do we find out that what they did was wrong. In fact, the Bible overwhelmingly approves of the fact that Joshua showed mercy to Rahab. Rahab was a Canaanite prostitute that finds grace in the midst of the destruction of the city of Jericho. And later, we find out that she marries an Israelite man. (That shows us that the command to intermarry for religious reasons and not ethnic.) Not only that, but she is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus and is praised for her faith in the book of James.

The Only Exception

So what was the exception to the quarantine? Repentance from sin and faith in the LORD God and in His covenant promises. If a Canaanite turned from this wicked, pagan religion and trusted in the LORD God and His covenantal promises, he would find mercy and grace and become part of God’s covenant people—Israel.

God Is Still the Same

The same is still true today. People live in complete rebellion toward God. They worship things like money, sex, and worldly possessions. This is too idolatry and God is still righteous in His judgment of sin. Romans 6:23 tells us that “the wages of sin is death” and as long someone continues to reject God, to reject Jesus, and refuses to turn from their sins, that individual deserves God’s judgment. There will be no mercy for those who love sin and hate God. There is only one exception, and that’s Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). When someone turns from his sin and embraces Jesus Christ as his Savior and Treasure, that person will find grace and mercy in God’s covenant people.

More to come…

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