Joshua 10-12; Luke 15

Joshua 11:14 “All the spoil and livestock of these cities the Israelites took as plunder; but the people they put to the sword, until they had destroyed the last of them, leaving none alive.”

Joshua chapters 10-12 are difficult reading for modern sensibilities.  They detail Joshua’s campaign – in the wake of taking Jericho – against the rest of Canaan.  The Amorite kings formed a confederacy and attacked the Israelites – what we would call today a “preemptive first strike” – and got mercilessly destroyed for their efforts.  These brutal and bloody passages of the Old Testament induce many – even from within the Church – to play the “How could a loving and merciful God….?” card.

Some thoughts, articulated as well as my barely triple-digit IQ allows; minds much more elegant and equipped than mine have spoken on this.  First, I think we tend to emphasize God’s mercy and de-emphasize His justice.  Child sacrifice for example was one of the charming aspects of Canaanite religious devotion.  Second, there was a practical aspect.  The Canaanites were not going to graciously pack their camels and move from “the land of milk and honey” because the Israelites wanted their real estate.  Our forefathers had the good fortune that America is huge, and we could just tell the native peoples – the ones that didn’t have the temerity to protest and we killed – to move west (and don’t let the doors of your tepees hit you in the ass).  Where we trip up in studying and commenting on Scripture is not considering it in its totality, that salvation history is a pilgrimage from the disaster of the Fall to the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb at the end of time.  The Old Testament is a mess – a poignant mess populated by real people – which Jesus sorts out for us.  We have something available to us that these ancient people in general didn’t have, which was the Holy Spirit to dwell within us.  Pray every day “Come Holy Spirit, come!” and for its gifts to reside in you.

Holy Spirit, I ask you for…

  • The gift of Wisdom that I may know Your divine perfections
  • The gift of Understanding that I may clearly discern the spirit of the mysteries of the holy Faith
  • The give of Counsel that I may live according to the principles of this Faith
  • The gift of Knowledge that I may seek counsel in You and I may always find it in You
  • The gift of Fortitude that no fear or earthly attachments may ever separate me from You
  • The gift of Piety that I may always serve Your Majesty with a filial love
  • The gift of Fear of the Lord that I may dread sin which offends You O my God.

GOD’S ANSWER:  Soften your hearts, repent, and welcome the Holy Spirit!

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