Remember playing those war Lego sets with your friends when young? Or playing war based RPG games? Maybe that’s how God feels.
I was reading Dr. Claude Mariottini’s blog, where he spoke of how Joshua (In Joshua 11) defeated the Canaanites despite their lack of army strength. It was a story of a hero – the famous warrior who, led by God’s wisdom, survived the odds and conquered an army that “were as many as the sand on the seaside”. The power of God displayed in all its glory.
Yet behind all that glory lies a gory scene. Hazor (the city) was burnt. “All the people they put to the sword until they completely destroyed them, not sparing anyone that breathed.” (Joshua 11:14)
Does God encourage violence? Did the Israelite army revel in their victory whilst their bodies were soaked in sweat, bathed in the blood of their enemies?
The strangest part came in this verse, “For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord commanded Moses.” (Joshua 11:20) I shiver when I think of a God that could be this merciless – like a child playing Lego, building an army and then knocking them flat with a sweep of his hand just to gain this feeling of power, for the sheer fun of it all. Are we just Chess pieces, manipulated and swung around as part of His entertainment? What happened to His unconditional abounding love, His gentle mercies, His love that never fails? Who is this scary God? Does He have more faces than one? Why does He keep sending mixed signals?
How can God be a God of peace, when He’s the one encouraging hardening the hearts of the cities to make war against Israel? Isn’t each life precious to God? Are the Canaanites worthless to God now that they’ve disobeyed and angered him?
It sometimes makes me wonder – what kind of God am I serving?