Conquering of the Promised Land: Is a War Ever Holy?

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Why Would God Choose a Military Campaign and Relentless Slaughter of People for His Judgment?

Many people struggle with war. It is one of man’s worst evils. So why would God use war against people and slaughter whole groups of “innocent” people.

Because these people were not innocent. They were sinners and 400 years prior to Joshua, God had promised Canaan to His people. The sins of the Canaanites caused them to forfeit the right to the Promised Land. History shows the Canaanites as engaging in some of the worst sins such as child sacrifice, butchery, and sadism.

Furthermore, the Israelites were susceptible to outside influences as the golden calf showed. God wanted all unbelievers gone to eliminate this threat. As we’ve just seen, however, the Gibeonites have been spared–a disobedience that as Judges tells us will lead the Israelites astray.

The Crusades and Beyond: Holy Wars Today

The wars of the Old Testament were specifically ordered by and guided by God. We know God eliminated these peoples because they were sinners, and God chose war to do so.

Then along came Jesus who chose to suffer and die rather than kill others. His weapon was the Good News, leaving the judgment of all peoples until the Last Days.

For us today, our weapon is the same. We follow Jesus. He chose non-violent means to win people’s hearts. And so must we.



People of the Promised Land: Rahab

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Only God could make a prostitute an ancestor of Jesus.

In two separate places in the New Testament (Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25), she is commended. Her profession and the lie she told to protect the two spies (Joshua 2:4-5) is ignored in favor of the fact she saw things differently than all the other inhabitants of Jericho.

Having heard all about the Israelites’ God, she abandoned her gods and stood against her own people.

Josephus¬†mentions that Rahab kept an inn but is silent as to whether merely renting out rooms was her only source of income.¬†It was not uncommon for both an inn and a brothel to operate within the same building; thus entering Rahab’s quarters was not necessarily a deviation from Joshua’s orders. Indeed, as Robert Boling notes, such an establishment might have represented an ideal location for spies to gather intelligence.

Fun Fact about Rahab, the Prostitute:

Rahab was the first recorded Gentile convert.

What Can We Learn from Rahab, the Prostitute:

  1. Rahab was a pagan who converted to God like the Gentiles.
  2. Rahab was saved by her faith in God (us in Jesus).
  3. Rahab showed true faith by taking action (obeying the spies’ directive to hang a scarlet cord from her window). There’s only one way to Jesus.
  4. Rahab’s life began anew with a life in God. Similarly, Christians’ slates are wiped clean when we come to Jesus.
  5. Rahab is the picture of God’s amazing saving grace and the abundant life we have in Jesus.

Great article HERE on Rahab.

Little else is known about Rahab, but we don’t need to know more. All we need to know about her is her faith.

Her faith is what stands the test of time.

Will yours?