Lessons From Canaan, Lev 25:23

I heard a man accuse God because of what Israel did to the inhabitants of Canaan when they entered the promised land. If you happen to agree with this fellow, you might want to consider a few things before you, too, accuse God of wrongdoing.  

The land of Canaan is God’s land – Lev 25:23; Deut 11:11-12.  He can give it to whomever he chooses.

The land of Canaan is Israel’s everlasting possession.  God gave Canaan to Abraham and his seed [Gen 12:6-7; 13:14-15; 15:18-21].  His seed, listed as the recipient of this promise, is Isaac [Gen 26:3-5]; Jacob [Gen 28:13-14]; and the twelves tribes of Israel [Deut 1:6-8].

The land of Canaan was inhabited by wicked nations.  They committed horrible sins and abominations [Lev 18:24-28; 20:22-24; Num 33:51-53].  The nations of the land knew God opposed their wickedness because God had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah [Gen 13:13; Ezek 16:49-50; Gen 19] for these things.  Nevertheless, God put up with these nations (Amorites) four hundred years [Gen 15:13-16].  Yet they continued to do their abominations.

When Israel came to Canaan, they destroyed these wicked nations – Num 21:1-3, Arad, the king of Canaan; Num 21:21-30 Sihon, king of the Amorites; Num 21:33-35 Og, king of Bashan.  These kings brought the fight to Israel and they were defeated.  Balak, the king of Midian, also tried to defeat Israel by hiring Balaam to curse them.  Israel destroyed them and Balaam [Num 31:1-8].  So, you can’t blame God for Israel defeating their enemies against whom they defended themselves.  All those nations who attacked Israel in Joshua 10 and 11 were completely defeated.  God avenged their wickedness on their own heads.

Yet Israel spared Rahab and the Gibeonites – Jos 2:9-13 – Rahab sought for protection against the coming attack.  The other inhabitants of Jericho knew they didn’t stand a chance against Israel.  Yet, they didn’t seek mercy.  And they didn’t volunteer to leave.  They stayed until they were destroyed.  A prudent man forseeth the evil and hideth himself.  In Jos 9:15, the Gibeonites cleverly deceived Israel and made a league with them for their own protection.  God honored this league even in the days of Saul [2 Sam 21:1-3].  Instead of following the example of the Gibeonites, the other nations fought against them and Israel protected the Gibeonites and destroyed the other nations that attacked them.

Thus, God is absolutely righteous.  He gave his land to his chosen people according to the covenant that he made with Abraham.  The inhabitants of that land before Israel arrived had totally defiled the land, knowing that God’s wrath had already been poured out on Sodom and Gomorrah for doing the same things.  Yet they persisted.  So, on the one hand, Israel defended themselves when they were preemptively attacked by Arad, Sihon and Og.  On the other, they attacked and cleaned house to execute God’s vengeance on those who had defiled God’s land with abominations.  Those who sought his mercy received it and those who opposed him died in the fight.  

Conclusion: You should take note that God’s wrath is against you for your abominable sins.  Yet, he has provided mercy for you in Jesus Christ and he is willing to save you and forgive you of all your sins.  However, if you refuse him, you should be aware that he will return in vengeance and destroy you [2 Thes 1:7-9].  And the fault will be yours, not God’s.