READ: Joshua 10-12
THINK: Some people base their opposition to the Bible on the assumption that it contains contradictions of historical content and even God's character. Many objections can be dispelled with correct interpretation in proper context. But some issues are harder to handle. For example, how could God order the mass destruction of entire populations and people groups? How are these orders consistent with God's love, righteousness, justice and hatred of evil? In reality, the destruction of the Canaanites is evidence of God's right judgment on desperately wicked people who had become so morally corrupt that they never would have turned to Him (Genesis 15:16; Deuteronomy 9:4-5). Had these societies carried on any longer, they would have only sank deeper into sin, spreading their evil influence and ultimately bringing more judgment on themselves and future generations. In addition, God knew that if those ungodly nations had remained, the Israelites would adopt their immoral worship practices and completely abandon Him, jeopardizing their crucial role in God's plan to bring spiritual salvation to people of all nations. Ultimately, the destruction of the Canaanites demonstrates this basic principle of judgment: when people's sin reaches the point where they are completely closed to God, His mercy gives way to judgment. (For more thorough consideration of this issue, see article on The Destruction of the Canaanites, p. 285 in the FBSE.)
RESPOND: Why didn't Joshua and the Israelites need to fear the Amorite kings and their armies? (See 10:8 note.) How did the Israelites gain victory over these enemies, and what did God do to assure it (10:9-11)? Why was it obvious that God was responsible for the victory? What miracle did Joshua pray for as the battle neared conclusion and how did God answer? (See 10:12 and 10:13 notes.) How can this example challenge and inspire Christians today? Why did Joshua leave no survivors in the cities he conquered, and how is this compatible with God's character and compassion for people? In reference to the Canaanites, what does it mean that the Lord himself "hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally"? (See 11:20 note.) Why did God do this, and does this mean that God forced the Canaanites to resist without a choice? Why or why not? How did God's actions expose their wickedness and rebellion? (See 11:20 note.) Why is the list of Israel's conquests a credit to God and a testament to His purpose, power and promise?
PRAY: Give thanks for victory over spiritual enemies through faith in Christ. Praise Him for His incomparable power, which far exceeds any challenge or difficulty you'll ever face. If you need a miracle, ask God, then trust Him to do what's best.
ACT: List five victories God has given you in the past. Beside each, describe a sacrifice you made or a lesson you learned. Then list two current situations in which you need spiritual victory. Beside each, describe what you sense God asking you to do or what He may be teaching you. Keep the list where it will remind you to pray and respond to God with obedient faith.
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