As a kid, Joshua 6 was one of those cool part of the Bible. They army marched around the walls and the walls fell down! We would pretend to blow our horns and shout! Anytime you had permission to shout in church it was a cool story.
We never did talk much about what happened after the walls fell down. We didn't talk about the fact that God commanded them to kill everyone, except for Rahab and her family. So know you know what God did, how do you judge God?
Now there are bound to be people instantly respond that you don't judge God. God is God and can do whatever He wants. Yeah, that doesn't work for me and I know it doesn't work for others who have rejected God precisely because of stories like this. They can't logically make sense of God is Love and a God who tells them to kill everyone.
So whether we like it or not, people won't always just accept things and move on. There are people, like me, who want God to make sense. God has to be more than a collection of stories that sometimes seem to suggest a contradiction in God's character. Some will provide a simple answer is justice. Certainly it plays a part, but let's not be coy. Lives are at stake here.
Let's establish some ground rules. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are all one. They are also different. How does that work? I don't know but the evidence in scripture is overwhelming. God did not create Jesus, rather Jesus was always here from the beginnjng and was a part of the creation process. That means you can't assign the bad stuff to God the father, and the good stuff to Jesus. Jesus was at Jericho. Jesus was a part of what happened. How do we merge what we know about the Jesus who gave His life for us with the Jesus who ordered everyone killed except for Rehab the prostitute? Not as easy now, is it?
Let's go back to justice. What we don't know is what happened between God and the people of Jericho. We don't know how many times God warned them. We don't know how or if God revealed himself. That's the thing. If you simply read the words and don't take time to discover the full possible story, then you don't get the full picture. The writer of Jericho was interested in the view of life from the perspective of the Isrealites. He didn't take time to interview the people inside Jericho before they were killed. Interesting enough He doesn't even seem to have interviewed Rahab. She does give us a glimpse.
When the Israelite spys came into Jericho, she hid them and lied for them. She had heard about their God and she feared God. She asked for God's protection in exchange for protecting them. Rahab and her family were the only survivors. It was due to her faith in God. God didn't kill everyone. Those that believed were spared.
Let's go back to Jesus. How could Jesus let anyone die if His purpose is to save everyone? The truth is that while Jesus desires to save us all, that He is our judge. Like with the people of Jericho, we hear about God and we are given the opportunity to respond. But eventually there will be a day when we stand before Jesus.
On that day, we won't be able to buy our way into Heaven. We won't be able to secure passage because of the good things we did. We won't even gain access because we prayed a prayer asking Jesus to come into our hearts and save us.
Imagine Heaven, where everything is perfect. The way God created it to be. There is no pain from sin. Yet, what would it take for such a place to exist? The reality is that such a place can only exist if each person present loves God more than anything else and loves their neighbors as Jesus loved them. That means with a love that is willing to sacrifice. It means a selfless heart rather than a selfish heart. Many will cry out to Jesus to be saved but they do so for their own sake. They do it to save themselves. Imagine of even one selfish person made it into Heaven. They would destroy it. Only those whose hearts have been transformed by Jesus to love others will find eternal life. Some call this justice.
Jericho was a barrier between God achieving His plan of completing His Kingdom. I believe God made his presence known. Rahab was the only one who believed. We must remember that this is not always just about us. God is working to save billions of people. If there are a group of people working against Him, then they will find justice. That is that if they do not obey the God who created them, they may find Him destroying them. Don't get me wrong here. I think God loves them and I think it hurts God to do it. All the evidence of the Bible points to God going to extraordinary lengths to save us. But God can't and won't let us destroy what is to come.
How do you judge God? Make sure you give consideration to what the whole picture might have been. Don't forget that Jesus was there too. I hope that you will find God worthy to be your God. If you have doubts, let me know. I would love to have the opportunity to talk through it.