God and the Old Testament
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
The desperate struggle to disprove that God is the Almighty judge of all people after death, is gaining momentum by the day. The enemies of God try to prove that He is unfair and cruel as if He can be judged by an international court. If Saddam Hussein had been found guilty and hanged, why not God? Let us look at the charge sheet: God is a mass murderer because he commanded Joshua and his army to annihilate the entire town of Jericho, with the exception of Rahab and her family (Joshua 6). The inhabitants of many other towns in Canaan (Joshua 10,11) were also annihilated.
But let us consider God’s rules of war for the Israelites in the Old Testament.
When the Israelites were on their way to Canaan, they were forbidden to attack or harm the Edomites, the Moabites and the Ammonites (Deut 2:4,9,19). These people were distant relatives of the Israelites.
When they were marching to war, they had to make the people they were going to fight against, an offer of peace. If accepted, the people would serve them. If rejected, then war. The men were killed, but the women, children and livestock were taken as booty (Deut 20:10-15).
When the Gibeonites deceived the Israelites and made a covenant of non aggression with them, they became the servants of the Israelites. In later years, when king Saul (an Israelite) put some of them to death, the Israelites were punished for breaking of the covenant, and 7 of Saul’s sons were hanged (2 Sam 21).
When the Israelites entered the land Canaan, the inhabitants took up arms (Deut 10,11). God gave the command to annihilate them completely. The reason was that the Canaanites were a corrupt people (Deut 20:16-18). They were given 400 years of grace by God to mend their ways, but like Sodom and Gomorrah they refused to repent (Gen 15:13-16).
God gave the command to annihilate the Amalekites who attacked the weak and elderly while the Israelites were travelling from Egypt (Ex 17:8-15).
In the Bible one sees that God is fair and just. He gives all people a chance to repent. If they choose to reject God, they are punished - either in this world and the next, or only in the next. God’s message is to fear eternal punishment in hell, not in this world, because this will pass - hell will never pass.
To the enemies of God, the Bible is used in an inconsistent way to suite their needs. For the liberal theologian the record of the Old Testament is filled with errors. For the atheist it is myth. But when it suits them, they use Biblical data to discredit God. In one sentence, God does not exist, in the next He is evil. This inconsistency clearly shows the weakness of their arguments.
What is God’s opinion about all this? It is clearly proclaimed in the Bible - God is Creator, Owner and Judge of all. It is not possible for mere human beings to accuse or condemn an Almighty God, especially since they deliberately distort the facts.
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