How can God say love your enemies and also say wipe out all the Canaanites?

Episode 94

How can God say love your enemies and also say wipe out all the Canaanites? God sure seems angry and mean in the Old Testament and a lot nicer in the New Testament. There just seems like there's a lot of death and destruction in the Old Testament... how do we understand all of that?

Links to the books mentioned in this episode:

The God I Don't Understand, by Chris Wright

Is God a Moral Monster, by Paul Copan

Bible Passages in the episode:

God's Love in the OT

Exodus 34:6-7 -  And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Psalm 86:15 - But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Psalm 103:8 - The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Psalm 145:8-9 - The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all he has compassion on all he has made.

God's Wrath in NT

Romans 1:18 -For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

Colossians 3:6 - For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,

Destroying and Driving Out the Canaanites:

Joshua 10: 40 - Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings. He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the Lord, the God of Israel, had commanded.

Leviticus 19:33 -’When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.

Exodus 23:28-30 - 28 I will send hornets ahead of you so that they will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites before you. 29 I will not drive them out before you in a single year, that the land may not become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. 30 I will drive them out before you little by little, until you become fruitful and take possession of the land.

Judges 2:21-23 - 21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

Judges 3:5 - The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; 6 and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

Deut 7:4-6 - For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. 5 But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. 6 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Genesis 15:16 - In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”


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