Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Character of the Canaanites cult Justifies the Command to Destroy Them.

We know from the Bible and from experience that God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, forgives rebellion and sin. The Bible tells us that again and again.
A question I’ve seen asked here on Facebook goes like this. “Why the heck would we want to believe in a God who commanded his chosen nation to annihilate the other nations and a savior who promised to come back with a vengeance to destroy those who did not believe in him?

The divine command to exterminate from the face of the earth all men, women, and children belonging to Canaan is one of the most frequently raised objections to seeing God as just and loving in the Old Testament. How can God's fairness and mercy be seen in such blanket and wholesale condemnation of entire nations? It’s important to be able to answer to this question.

In Deuteronomy 20:16, 17 God gives these instructions to Israel. In the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and the Jebusites, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Read also Deuteronomy 7:1-6.

First of all God gave the Canaanites 400 years to repent while Israel was in Egypt and 40 more years while Israel wandered in the wilderness. The point is that the Israelites' possession of the Promised Land had to wait. It had to wait more than four hundred and forty years, because that was how much time God gave the Canaanites and Amorites to turn back from their evil ways. God was not impatient. The characteristic of God is seen in the patience and the long suffering of God.

Second the Canaanites had access to the truth. The Canaanites knew about the complete destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. They knew Sodom was a warning to the nations that God would judge evil. (2 Peter 2:6) They were wicked not ignorant people. We know that they had heard of these events, for Rahab confessed that some of these events had terrorized her city of Jericho and that she, as a result, had placed her faith in the God of the Hebrews (Joshua 2:10-14).

What was going on in Canaan that was so bad that God singled them out and even ordered the children killed? The judgment on the people in Canaan, was similar to the Flood or Sodom and Gomorrah. The Canaanites were not everyday people. God told Moses that the nations that the Hebrew were replacing were wicked. (Deuteronomy 9:5)

How "wicked" were these people? The text tells us that they were burning their own sons and daughters in sacrifices to their gods. The victims were not only infants; children as old as four were sacrificed. (Deuteronomy 12:3) When a person starts to burn their children in honor of their gods and practice sodomy, Incest, bestiality, the land itself begins to "vomit" them out. (Leviticus. 18:23-25, 20:3) Probably the ultimate sexual depravity is intercourse with animals.

The religion of these people was a fertility cult. They turned their women into temple prostitutes. Canaanite religion, was a fertility religion that involved temple sex. The Canaanites broke every moral law. In other words, they put their false gods before the well being of their wives and children.

The Canaanites worshiped other gods, which the Old Testament frequently denounced as no more than sticks or pottery made by human hands that could not “see or hear or eat or smell” (Deuteronomy 4:28 NIV). The Canaanites were literally destroying themselves with their sin. They were doing things that were just awful and hideous. They were cut off to prevent Israel and the rest of the world from being corrupted (Deut. 20:16-18).

Moses spoke these 'Last Words' to the Israelites before he hands over the leadership of Joshua, and then dies. Notice particularly what Moses says. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. 10 For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you.

The Canaanites become a Snare to Israel After Not Being Fully Destroyed as commanded. Israel's failure to fully exterminate all the Canaanites is a good object lesson in the fact that they should have been removed. Because they came back time and time again to haunt the children of Israel until the Canaanites led them to idolatry and pulled their hearts away from God.

Israel’s failure to fully exterminate all the Canaanites as God commanded them empowered them to adopt the sin of the Canaanites and thereby procure God’s judgment on them. For God does not show favoritism. Israel was warned not to let the Canaanites live in their land, but to completely destroy them (Exod. 23:33; Deut. 20:16–18), lest the Israelites learn the Canaanite ways (Exod. 34:15–16). If they did not destroy them, the land would “vomit” them out just as it had vomited out the Canaanites (Num. 33:56; Lev. 18:28; Deut 4:23–29, 8:19–20).

Instead, the Israelites worshiped the Canaanites’ gods and “did evil” (Judg. 10:6; 1 Kings 14:22; 2 Kings 17:10). They had “male shrine prostitutes” (1 Kings 14:22), committed acts of “lewdness,” adultery, and incest (Jer. 5:7; 29:23; Hos. 4:13–14; Ezek. 22:10–11; Amos 2:7), and even Solomon set up an altar to Molech (1 Kings 11:5, 7–8). But instead of repenting when things went badly, they concluded in their way.

In Judges 3 we read of the Jews falling away from God through relations to the Heathen Canaanites. And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. (Judges 3:5-6)

Because the Israelites were not zealous about carrying out our Lord's commands it cost them dearly. The Psalmist has this to say. They did not destroy the peoples, Concerning whom the LORD had commanded them, But they mingled with the Gentiles, and learned their works; They served their idols, Which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons And their daughters to demons, And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with blood. Thus, they were defiled by their own works, And played the harlot by their own deeds. Therefore the wrath of the LORD was kindled against His people, So that He abhorred His own inheritance. And He gave them into the hand of the Gentiles, And those who hated them ruled over them. (Psalms 106:34-4)

The nation of Israel was familiar with the history of Canaan and why God commanded them to completely destroy them and they still adopted their customs after God warned them not to go after other gods. Deuteronomy 6:14 "You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you

God strongly warned the nation of Israel and they still played the harlot with other gods, (Judges 2:17). They were backsliders and the fear of God was not in them" (Jeremiah 2:19-20) Please read all the chapter.

So the Lord said that Israel became “like Sodom to me” (Jer. 23:14). In short, Israel was canonized. God sent prophets to warn Israel of their coming destruction, but they didn’t repent and He visited destruction on Israel for committing the same sins. So now we understand from scripture, why the destruction of Israel was more than just the rejection of their Messiah.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10:4–5, we don’t fight with “the weapons of the world,” but “we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (NIV). In other words, in knowing the truth about God, we are now waging war in the realm of ideas that says God is not a just God. Because when all the evidence is gathered in a good attorney has a closed case.

God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithful, to his words even in the times of judgement.