Deuteronomy - Lesson 13

Ethics of the Conquest of Canaan Deut. 7.1-5, 16-26

How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

Daniel Block
Lesson 13
Watching Now
Ethics of the Conquest of Canaan Deut. 7.1-5, 16-26

Ethics of the Conquest of Canaan (7:1-5, 16-26)

I. Review of the External Test

II. Theological Rationale for Completing the Conquest

A. Promise to Abraham

B. YHWH has identified the land

C. Israel to flourish in the land

III. The Problem: The Land is Occupied

IV. Required Response to the Test

A. Fear not

B. What YHWH will do for Israel

C. What will Israel do for herself?

V. Warning of Moses to the People of Israel

VI. Ethical Question of Israel's Conquest

A. God is sovereign

B. God's plan

C. The ways of God are a mystery

D. Metaphor for scrupulous devotion

E. Not a First Testament issue

F. Stages in herem

G. Judgment on the Canaanites

H. Not a general policy to outsiders

I. Religious not genocidal

J. God's judgment

K. Corporate identity

L. God's hatred of sin

M. Canaanites had advanced warning

N. God doesn’t play favorites

Class Resources
  • The book of Deuteronomy contains the gospel message. Even though there are some laws mentioned, the essence of the book is prophetic preaching. Your presuppositions and principles for interpretation that you use will make a difference in how you view the meaning and significance of the book of Deuteronomy.

  • Deuteronomy is primarily a collection of sermons but its structure is covenantal. The structure of the covenant was commonly used in other cultures in the Ancient Near East during this time period. God tells the people of Israel that he is their God and the people say that they are God’s treasured possession. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same thing. They are used interchangeably)

  • God gave the Decalogue to Moses so they have authority as Scripture. The book of Deuteronomy as whole is also Scripture. It contains the speeches of Moses and narrative passages. It’s the lense through which we view the other books of the Pentateuch.

  • Moses begins by recalling events that happened during their wandering in the wilderness, then recent events as they have gotten closer to entering the promises land from the east. Moses is idealized in the Old and New Testaments and in the writings of historians. You get a different picture when you read his first address. It shows Moses as faithful but flawed.

  • The Law was given to the nation of Israel after they had been freed from Egypt as the way to respond to God’s grace. God gives them the boundaries for right and wrong and a process to restore relationship when it is broken.

  • With the privilege of salvation and covenant relationship comes the call for a righteous response, demonstrated in joyful obedience to the Savior and Lord. A covenant is a formally confirmed agreement between two or more parties that creates, formalizes, governs a relationship that does not exist naturally or a natural relationship that has disintegrated.

  • God’s people are a privileged people; they have been graciously redeemed, and set apart as his special treasure, his holy covenant people. God acts graciously to undeserving people and they respond joyfully with obedience. The is the end of the first speech of Moses, Deuteronomy 4:32-40.

  • The Decalogue is the bill of rights of the people of ancient Israel. It is the ten principles of covenant relationship. It creates a picture of covenant righteousness and provides a foundation for later revelation. The Decalogue contains the features of a typical covenant and conditional and unconditional laws. The addressee is the head of the household because they can be a threat to others.

  • When Moses recites the Decalogue in Deuteronomy 5, there are parts that are similar to the passage in Exodus, and there are some significant differences. He begins with getting the attention of the people of Israel and appealing for covenant fidelity, restates the Decalogue, then ends with a document clause, using covenant language.

  • The Shema is a call for whole-hearted, full-bodied commitment. This passage is a theological exposition and pastoral proclamation to impress on the minds of the people of Israel the special relationship they enjoyed with YHWH. The grace God showed them must be embraced with grateful and unreserved devotion to their redeemer and covenant Lord.

  • God chooses the covenant partner, sets the terms, declares the goal, identifies the sign and determines the consequences of disobedience of the covenant. After Moses explains the purpose of the Law, he explains to the children how the Law was given and that learning it and putting it into practice will bring them life.

  • Moses talks to the people of Israel as they are entering the land, about how they will respond to the external test of confronting and dispossessing the surrounding nations. He reminds them of their special status with God and the covenant that he offers them unconditionally. He challenges them with the theological, ethical and missional significance of the test.

  • How can you worship a God that asks the people of Israel to wipe out the Canaanites? The reason for Israel taking the land is so the people of Israel as a holy people will be preserved so the world will be preserved. God is fundamentally compassionate and gracious, he does what is right and God offers us grace and mercy.

  • When everything goes right, what do you do then? The message of this passage is, “don’t forget.” YHWH provided manna in the wilderness to feed the people of Israel. God was also teaching them in the wilderness that life comes from every word of the mouth of God, not just by eating physical food. Moses challenges the people to respond to prosperity by praising God, not by taking the credit themselves.

  • The enemies in the Promised Land are formidable. God promises to defeat them. Moses warns that people to acknowledge that God is responsible. Even though the Canaanites do not follow God, the reason God chose the people is not because they are morally superior to the Canaanites.

  • Israel’s covenant with YHWH is based entirely on his grace and they don’t deserve it. Moses interceded on behalf the of people of Israel to ask God to not judge them and God is described as, “changing his mind” and renewing his covenant with them.

  • “What does YHWH ask of you?” Moses answers this question, then gives a doxology to confirm it and an application to illustrate it. God wants you to have a soft heart toward him, to live in an attitude of trusting awe and to act in a way that honors the covenant that God has established with you.

  • Moses has given a profound theology of land. He gives the people of Israel instructions for what God wants them to do when they enter the land to confirm their covenant with God. This included using uncut stones and plastering them and writing the Torah on them and then praising God. The land is an integral part of the covenant. The people shout blessings on Mount Gerizim and curses on Mount Ebal.

  • As the people of Israel enter the land, God has instructions for them on how to live in relationship with him and worship him so that it may go well with them and their children. They are to reject the false worship practices of the surrounding nations and accept God’s invitation to come and worship him in the place and in the way he has designed for them.

  • The Levites represent a barometer on where the people of Israel are in their ethical religion. They are not given land as an inheritance so it is the responsibility of people in the other tribes to support them. Moses presents a theology of worship but doesn’t go into detail.

  • This is a warning to the people of Israel to not imitate the materialistic preoccupation and the brutal rituals associated with the worship practices of the surrounding nations when they worship YHWH. There are warnings against following false prophets, someone in your family or people in your community if they are promoting seditious religious practices. The apostle Paul uses similar language in the New Testament when warning people about following people who teach heresies.

  • In contrast to worship with the purpose of satisfying the gods, YHWH delights in fellowship with his people and for them to celebrate in his presence. YHWH encourages his people to eat in his presence and with other people. His guidelines about which foods are acceptable to eat set the people of Israel apart from other nations.

  • A main purpose of the national festivals was to keep alive the memory of God’s grace and maintain their faith in god and their covenant with him.

  • Moses describes the key offices and roles that keep the society going by providing political and spiritual structure. The primary concern is righteousness. The king is to be the embodiment of Torah righteousness. Moses outlines specific steps to achieve this and describes what it will look like.

  • Moses, in his role as prophet, is the commissioned envoy of righteousness to the people of Israel. Moses was a mediator between God and the people of Israel. He warned the people of Israel about false prophets and the danger of adopting the worship practices of the surrounding nations.

  • Moses provides a picture of covenant life and godliness in a way that you can apply it to every situation in life. It’s important to care for the poor and the resident alien and to show justice to them. The resident aliens were invited to participate in the feasts and covenant life.

  • The ideal for the people of Israel was a patricentric society but in often the reality was a patriarchal society. In a patricentric society, the male head of the clan will provide resources and security in a way that gives his family and the community opportunities to flourish. The vision for women in Deuteronomy is different than the world that is described in Israelite narratives.

  • Celebrating God’s goodness and grace in the Land. Bringing an offering from the firsfruits of the harvest is a time to remember how God has provided for the people of Israel in the past, both as individuals and as a community. There are lessons we can learn about worhship and living faithfully. This is the Deuteronomic creed.

  • Some people view the curses in Deuteronomy 28 as a stumbling block to accepting the Old Testament as Christian Scripture because they say it represents God as vengeful. However, this was a common way of writing covenants in the Ancient Near East, they follow a list of extraordinary blessings, they serve a pastoral function and there are similar curses articulated in the New Testament.

  • Deuteronomy 29 begins with Moses recounting how YHWH brought the people out of Egypt and gave them victory in the land east of the Jordan River. Then he describes the curses they will experience when they turn away from the Lord. Chapter 30 describes the eschatological restoration. Deuteronomy 29:29 refers to the mystery of divine grace. (The movie and book series that Dr. Block is referring to is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. The prequel to this series is The Hobbit.)

  • This is the final altar call of Moses to the people of Israel to appeal to them to choose life by living in covenant relationship with YHWH. The revelation of YHWH given through Moses is to be memorized, recited and used as a guide for conduct. It is understandable and doable.

  • The Torah that Moses has been preaching was written down. This is the introduction to the song of Moses and contains the commissioning of Joshua, who will take over after Moses dies. Part of the book of Deuteronomy is the death narrative of Moses.

  • This passage is a poetic witness to the people of Israel of the faithfulness of YHWH and the faithlessness of Israel. Moses was told to teach it to the people of Israel so they could pass it on to their descendants. People could sing it throughout the day and it could be presented as a musical drama at national celebrations.

  • At the end of the sermons of Moses, he pronounces a benediction by saying something specific for each tribe. Deuteronomy 33 and Genesis 49 have some similarities and differences in the way the sons of Jacob and their descendants are blessed. The exordium and the coda frame the blessings by describing YHWH’s care and provision for the people of Israel as their king.

  • This is the last narrative story about Moses in the Old Testament. God tells him to go up on Mt. Nebo where he is able to see the land. Joshua takes over as the leader of the people. There is a eulogy for Moses at the end.  

The Gospel according to Moses. This is a collection of sermons of Moses as the people of Israel are poised to enter the promised land after being in the wilderness for 40 years. Deuteronomy is a special book, calling God’s people to celebrate his grace and demonstrate covenant love for him with action that glorifies his name. Until we recognize the gospel in this book, we will not read this book. (Note: Mt. Sinai and Mt. Horeb are referring to the same mountain. They are used interchangeably)

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Dr. Daniel Block



Ethics of the Conquest of Canaan Deut. 7.1-5, 16-26

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] All right. We're finishing up chapter seven because we have to wrestle with a very significant ethical problem. One of the most common questions that I get I am ask is how in the world can you worship a God who commands Israelites to wipe out Canaanites? This looks like genocide, and it's a problem at two levels. On the one hand, God says he will wipe them out. On the other hand, he says, I am using Israel, our holy people, to wipe them out. And that looks very contaminating to me. It is a huge problem. Now, it wouldn't have been a problem to anybody in the ancient world. It's a problem only in the modern Western world because we've got romantic ideas about. Right and wrong and whatever else. Fairness. But let's let's talk about this, but let's back up a little bit and remind us where we are. We dealt with verses 1 to 16, the external test highlighting particularly Israel's special status. Don't forget this. This is not a blank slate. When God asks Israel to take care of the Canaanites. It is to preserve Israel as a holy people that the world may be preserved. So it's like eliminating a cancer by radical surgery to preserve the rest of the body. This is a part of it. And so what we will deal with now very quickly will look at verses 17 to 26 and then we'll pause and reflect, How can this work? Where is the justice of God in this and where is his mercy? So let's look at the nature of the external attacks. I mentioned before that the external test is framed seven 1 to 16. It's framed by a detailed description of the test of covenant faithfulness 1 to 5 and verse 16 When God brings you into the land that you're entering to possess and drives up many nations.


[00:02:28] Hittites Girgis writes Parasites, divides gem sites and in our context was a Mennonites. Seven nations larger and stronger than you when you offer your hands them over to you. You must devour all the people. That's brutal language. That, Jacqui, your guide hands over. You may not look on them with pity You must not serve the gods for that would be a trap. They'll seduce you. They'll trap you. Well, the theological rationale for the conquest involves completing the covenant triangle. From the beginning, God had in mind our particular people, Abraham and his descendants. In a particular land, the land of Canaan. Abraham didn't know where that was. When God first called. He just got up and went. And eventually this is where he landed. And when he got there, shook him. In Genesis chapter 12, the G.P.S. system kicked in and said, You're there. You've arrived at your destination. This is the land that I promised you. We'll talk about this some more when we get to chapter 27. But the point is this is involves a covenant triangle, because we have to create a microcosm of what a microcosmic redemption could look like. God is after the world. God so loved the world. It's not about redeeming Israel. It is redeeming Israel for the sake of the world. And so in order to paint that picture, we need the covenant trial to be completed. To this point, it still has only two sides. God is covenantal he committed to Israel. But that third member is missing. We'll see how that gets resolved. LAZAR So notice what Moses says about this land. We have seen this in verses 12 to 13. The Gift of Land was one of the anchor Ben of factions promised by Yahweh in his covenant with the ancestors.


[00:04:50] If you remember, the gods pitched Abraham's pilgrimage with God. Over and over there were two anchor promises. There were lots of other promises, but two anchor ones. One is your descendants will be like the stars of the sky and the sand of the sea. So that's one. But the other one is I will give you the land as an eternal possession. These are the two anchor proverb promises. Now, secondly, Yahweh has identified the land and is bringing the Israelites into it. He says, He said over and over again, I am giving you the land that I promised to the ancestors. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived in this land, but their existence was precarious. They were always at the mercy of their hosts. And even when Abraham's wife died, he had no place to bury her. And so we have this long text in Genesis 23 of how he got the cave of Mack Palau at Hebron. And finally, we have a place to bury her. But even that took some doing. But the land has been identified. Third JA for his mission for Israel was to flourish in the land which would function as a miniature Eden and a microcosm of the redeemed world. This is verses 12 to 15 that we looked at. But the problem, the land is occupied. This is occupied territory. It's occupied by other populations who must be displaced. Notice what Moses said about the population. He identifies them by name. There are these seven. They are seven. They are formidable. They pose a threat to the covenant relationship that Yahweh established with Israel. This is the big deal. They pose a threat to Israel's sacred status and mission in the divine program. We've got to take care of the mission.


[00:07:00] Well, as I said, the chapter divides into two parts 1 to 16 and then 17 to 26, where after giving the promise, he he he unpacks how they shall actually carry it out. The second is dominated by promises of what Yahweh would do for Israelites. And then he concludes with a warning. So let's see how this works. As in 620 and 817, there's a shift in address in verse 17. Cast as a question by a hypothetical person, we'd call it, and that person and interlocutor, somebody interrupts Moses presentation is that I got a question here and now, even before he's asking. Moses says, Well, suppose you're thinking. If you should say in your heart. Well, there we got that notion we talked about earlier. Heart. What's the heart? It's the seat of emotion, but it's also seat of speech thinking. This is the Hebrew idiom for if you should think. If you should say in your heart, these nations are greater than I, how can I dispossess them? And of course, catch the tone of voice. It is a note of despair. A hypothetical person in the audience objects. These nations are greater than I. How can I dispossessed them? Presumably the person wouldn't dare to express the doubts aloud. He's imagining you guys are all thinking about this. You see, the the the monster fortresses and the anarchy, the giants of the land. But nobody would dare. Actually to say it. Well, Moses response to that question, he takes it very seriously. He offers an extended response with a series of promises and ending with our warning. Notice how he opens with a thesis statement in verse 18. You shall not be afraid of them. This is the traditional fear, not like the angel said to the shepherds on fear.


[00:09:27] Not for be all is. Good news of great tidings to all people. For under us a child was born. Whatever else, the opens of fear not. But why not? Don't be afraid. You shall not be afraid. Why? You shall. Well remember what the Lord your God did. To Pharaoh and to all the Egyptians. It's who your God is. Now, of course, at Kadir Spa, near 40 years earlier, these people's parents were fixated on the enemy and they despaired of defeating them. We can't do it. It's a great land, if only. Obviously nothing has changed. It's still exactly the same. Nothing has changed. The enemy is no weaker and the fortresses are if anything, they are higher and taller. The enemy is still a whole bunch of nations. More numerous than Israel, stronger than Israel. But now Moses rhetorical goal is to turn the people's attention away from the enemy. And back to the Lord. I think David and Goliath is a picture of what we should have had here. I mean, all the other Israelites were worried about this giant standing before you, before them. And David comes by and he says, That's not the problem. The Lord is on our side. And that means that anybody can be taken down. And he takes them down with with a few little stones and it's and it's all over. Well, Moses does this with three images. He reminds them of Israel's of Yankees past victories. Don't be afraid of them. Remember what the Lord did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. The great trials with your eyes saw the signs and wonders, the mighty hand, the outstretched arm. The Lord got you brought you out. So shall the Lord do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.


[00:11:38] Well, this is a common rabbinic method of argumentation going from the greater to the lesser. And of course, he begins by saying, Look, the Lord took care of fair roll. He's the big boy. Obviously, if he could take care of Pharaoh and get us out of here, these are just mosquitoes. In fact, each cannon, the population of cannon, was of cane and was split up into all kinds of semi-independent subject city as city states, technically all subject to Egypt. They're all vassals of Egypt. They're just they're just puny compared to what's already been accomplished. Come on. Don't forget the big boys been taken care of, and we have the same God still fighting for us. That's number one. Second, this God is actually among us. He is present. Moreover, the law of. More of the Lord. Your God will send the Horde among the mangoes until you hide themselves. You shall not dread them. For the Lord your God is in your midst. Apathetic little figure. But that's not what he says. The grace and awesome am. Of course, in Kanan, they worship the God named Ale. He's the head of the Pantheon, but he's that pathetic figure we saw seated on the throne. That's what they worship. But the real God. Who deserves to have that name capitalized? L Capital. E, Capital L. He is the great and awesome one. He is in your midst. Never mind. And third, he promises the Lord's future action. In the past, he's done it for you. In the present he is with you. The great and awesome God. In the future, he will clear away these nations before you. Little by little, you won't be able to put them to an end completely. For wild beasts would grow to numerous free.


[00:14:01] That's really interesting. The point he's making here is and this speaks to how small the population of Israel. We talked about the numbers of numbers the other day. But here he is saying he is admitting, look, if we wipe out all the Canaanites overnight, the wild animals are going to take over and they will become a threat to you because your population isn't big enough to occupy all the corners of this land. So it'll take a while, but it. Never mind. It's okay. It's a very realistic picture that the Lord paints. It's not a sudden tidal wave that comes through. But the Lord, your God will deliver them before you. He will throw them into confusion until they're destroyed. He will deliver. The king's into your hand so that you will make their name perish from under heaven. No man will be able to stand before you until you've been destroyed. This is the promise. The same God who took care of Pharaoh is still with you, and he will take care of it. This is an interesting reminder of God's action on Israel's behalf. Keep in mind what Yahweh did to Pharaoh. The signs and wonders. Don't forget that he is in the midst of you. He if he can take care of the big boy, these petty rulers are no problem for him at all. So don't be in dread of them. For Yahweh, your God is a great and awesome God. This is the First Testament version of First John for four little children. You are from God and have conquered them for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. Greater is he that is in you than the one who is in the world.


[00:15:59] He's echoing of Moses. Well, then the promises of involvement from the future. He had actually begun these promises already. He will send hornets among them. What is that? Until those who are left and hide themselves will be destroyed. We don't know what these hornets are. Is it intended literally or metaphorically? The image is certainly a reassuring one. God will take care of them. Literally, the words cell are here are denotes a species of wasp whose sting may be fatal, especially if attacked with a swarm. This one is gone and those that escaped then go and hide in the caves. Hey, the hornets didn't get you there, too. I mean, there is this new species of hornets here on the West Coast. Come from Asia. I've forgotten what it's called. The what? The murder. Hornets. Exactly. These are the murder Hornets. I should have got a picture of the murder. Hornets? I have a picture here somewhere. They Asian predatory washed The hornet is. Well. What he means by this. He appears to have preset slightly this image in mind when he changes the identity of the targets from the Canaanite tribes in Exodus 2328 to the survivors who hide from you. And so it's as if having defeated the Army in principle, those who survived are going in hiding and seeking refuge in the caves and the caves. And the Lord sends the hornets after them, and they get them there. When Yahweh sends the swarm of insects after the cave tonight, they will pursue them relentlessly into every cave in bush to which they flee for refuge and sustain their attack until all perished. As had been the case with sea, horn and ogg. The two kings on the other side of the river.


[00:18:06] They're all gone. God took care of them. Well, there are many other possibilities, but this is an interesting way in which God. But there are more promises here. Yahweh, your God will handle over them to you. Little by little, you not be eliminated. But He will deliver them over you, creating intense panic until they are destroyed. We don't know exactly what this means, except it is psychological warfare of some sort. When Gideon was fighting the media nights, remember when he. He blew the trumpets and he smashed the pots? What happened is the many nights were all in a panic, and they started killing each other. What? What this will be? We don't know exactly, but in any case, he says no. This God is the subject of everything. He will deliver them to you. He will create panic. He will hand their kings. In some places the expression used is, I think we have it later in Deuteronomy, he will send his terror ahead of you to discombobulated them. And of course, that is a common ancient motif in Akkadian warfare annals. They have this expression the Malum Mu, which is the awesome terror of Ashur, the God of the Assyrians, which goes before them and and and simply paralyzes the enemy. Emotionally and whatever else. And so it looks like some of that is involved. No, no, no. No man will be able to stand up against you until you are destroyed. Well, let's summarize. What will God do for Israel? He will send hornets after the enemy, whatever that means. He will clear away the nations. He will hand them over to the Israelis. He will throw them into confusion. He will hand over their kings into the hands of the Israelites. But what will Israel do for herself? Now we discover that this is actually a, shall we say, synergistic enterprise.


[00:20:22] When they came out of Egypt. How was Pharaoh defeated? Well by the plagues and ultimately the Red Sea completely by the hand of God. Although the Israelites are said to have marched out of Egypt like a mighty army, they never fought. They never fought anybody. God was totally in charge. It's it's monster Jewish state rescue. Now, when they get to Jericho, how does that work there? It's exactly the same. They do nothing except a march around the city. That's a stupid thing to do. And I can imagine the Canaanites on the city walls watching these guys. They've obviously been in the desert too long. The sand has gotten to their heads, the stupid. And in the end, they blow the trumpets and whoops. And all Israel's left to do is the mopping up operations. God fights for them. That's why I will argue that the conquest of Jericho is not yet a part of the conquest of the promised Land. Because look at what Israel has to do for Israel did nothing there. They must consume the people Zarqawi delivers into their hands there. I shall not pity showing numbers. They must destroy the names of their kings. They must destroy all their kings, which means also their population. Israel is to fight. So it is transformed from a synergistic enterprise or from a minor, just an enterprise involving primarily God as the actor to as synergistic one with God and Israel together. Look at the first verse when the Lord brings you up into the land where you entering and the Lord clears away many nations before you seven. When the Lord delivers them before you, you shall utterly them. Who does it? Israel does. You know. So this is the test. Are you going to engage the enemy as God instructs you to do? Well, this is what Israel is to do.


[00:22:44] But then notice the warning versus 25 to 26. Here, Moses continues, The theme began in verse four. He comes full circle. Why are we to do this care? Take out everything delivered and destroy them utterly. For they would turn away your sons from following me to serve other gods. And then the anger of the Lord would be kindled against you. He would quickly destroy you. Verse 16. Don't look on them with pity, for they will be a snare to you. And now the issue is clearly spiritual, not ethnic. This is not ethnic cleansing. It's spiritual cleansing. It is a sacred operation. Removing the evil. That the whole the index may be sustained. But then look at 25 and 26. The sculptured images of their gods. You must burn in fire. You must not covet the silver and the gold on them. Or take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is abhorrent. That's that word. Tone waver. It is abominable. It's the strongest word in the Hebrew language for something that's utterly repulsive to God. Or you will be ensnared. You'll get sucked into the business. It's seductive. It's abhorrent. You must not bring in abhorrent object into your house or you will be marked for total destruction. Like it. It is utterly detestable. You must utterly abhor it because it is set up for destruction. And of course, now we're thinking Aiken aren't. We know that's exactly what Aiken was doing. Aiken violated this one. And the moment you touch something sacred, it's German fact Colvin hits. It is totally contagious. The evil eye of idolatry is this is the curious thing, and it doesn't seem fair. But in the Bible, evil and the associated germ is utterly contagious.


[00:25:02] But holiness is not. You don't become holy by living next to a holy person. We lived in Louisville for ten years and when we moved in, there was a couple right next door. She was a schoolteacher. He was a contractor, a builder, and he had just finished building his or his last house. He was an alcoholic. And it was consuming him. I use that word intentionally because it's about consumption and. You must consume them or they will consume you. In any case, you had bills. And so it it became a most pathetic figure to watch him just go down within four or five years from a strong builder, a or whatever else, and nothing left. And everybody in the neighborhood was worried because he continued to insist on driving. It was not safe. But I'll never forget about two weeks before he passed away. He was already dead. A walk out basement. And his. His bed was down there. He couldn't. He could hardly get up and go to the bathroom. He was totally immobile. But we went over to visit them. We became good friends with them. And somewhere along the line, I gave him a copy of the NLG. And, uh, apparently they enjoyed reading it. But in any case, we went over there to visit with him and we had shared the gospel with them. But in any case, he was so happy that we came and. I read Isaiah 53 to him and then we prayed with him. And I don't know if the man ever gave in to the Lord. But as we were leaving, he said, You know, Dan, the best thing that ever happened to us was when you moved in next door. I mean, we were good neighbors.


[00:27:12] They were they loved to garden. We loved to garden. And we were back and forth, you know, consulting with each other and borrowing plants and transplant. We're in each other's lives, you know, regularly. But that was a shocking statement. When you moved in next door. Well, I was in a way, I was happy to hear that. But I was sad because. If it were true that piety, holiness, righteousness were contagious. That would be helpful. But it's almost as if he was banking upon the lightning rod living next door. I don't know. I don't know. But in any case, when he died. They asked me to participate in the funeral and she asked if I would read Scripture from my Bible. The lady. And I said I'd be so honored to do that. And so the funeral was in a Presbyterian, very liberal Presbyterian church and whatever else. But in any case, when it came time for the actual funeral, she picked out 73 verses. In the New Living translation She wanted me to read. I wish I had kept that. I didn't keep it, but I wish I had kept it. And then in the course of the sermon, I read all those verses. Without commentary. I just read it's what I call or try to do expository reading. So that in hearing the message, the text, people get the point. With appropriate intonation here. We too were too pressured by time, often just reading it just to get it read. So something's ringing in our ears. After that, between Ellen and me, there must have been a half a dozen people who made comments like. That was the best sermon I have ever heard. I didn't even preach. I didn't even preach. It was an amazing moment, you know, the power of the word of God to touch people, what difference it made in ultimate terms.


[00:29:44] Who are we to say the Lord? We leave it in his hand. But, you know, we did what we could. But here, the point is, evil is utterly contagious. Watch it. It's orderly, and I have no truck with it. Nothing to do with it. Don't even imagine. While this is an idle plated with gold that's melted down, keep the gold. No, it's contaminated the gold. Even if it's transformed into liquid state, it's still the same. Inherently evil. It must be destroyed, utterly detestable. Therefore, had I met, utterly abhor it, utterly destroy it. The language here is extremely strong. You shall not covet the silver and gold on the islands. Never mind. Even if the idols are nothing. As Paul says in Corinthians, they're not really figments of depraved imaginations. But even if they are nothing, the gold is infected. You don't want to touch it. It will ensnare you. This is the word for a trap. It's seductive. It's like that which we put out for the Chipmunks to get them into the trap, and then we stop. It's that shot I got, so. It'll do that. And you have this language of trap all over the place. It is an abomination to Yahweh. That's the strongest word for utterly abhorrent it. If you take it, you will become subject to the principle of haram like these. Talking to Israelites. Where's your doctrine of eternal security in this one? Just because you're an Israelite doesn't give you immunity. You shall utterly detest it. It's shit cutesy, which means utterly detestable, and you shall utterly rejected. Treat it as abominable yourself. It is a and object. And now we talk about the word haram. But we will in a moment. In short, if Israelites will act like Canaanites, Yahweh will treat them like Canaanites.


[00:32:12] There is no special favor for those who reject the covenant of. Yeah. Where your God did you see this? 15 times in this chapter. Your way. Your God, your way. Your God. You claimed the name. You're wearing it. I've got news for you. You can't wear that name. And tolerate the idolatry. Well. This is the policy. How shall Christians deal with this policy applied? They've already applied it to sea on and off. They were haram. They defied the people of God who simply wanted permission to pass through. They told see on and off. Moses, Did we have no ambitions for your land? We just want safe passage to the Jordan River so we can cross. That's all. That's what this wasn't target. And they defied the people of the Lord out doing the Lord's work. They tried to stop the Lord's agenda. And they are headed for it. Well, how shall Christian deal with it? There are these significant texts when we try to answer these questions. Deuteronomy seven one, two, eight and 26 as we have it here, Deuteronomy 20 I said before, Chapter 20 is Israel's war policy. A whole bunch of articles on how to conduct warfare, but most of it is about the Eastern countries. This is in cities. We're talking here about the cities nearby. It's a different policy versus 10 to 18. Exodus 2219. Leviticus 27. Joshua seven. So now let's deal with the. The problem. What do you tell people who say, How can you worship a God who tells people to do this? Uh, in a sense, I don't know how to answer that question. There are a lot of dimensions to the issue that complicated. Nothing is simple here. And don't just dismiss it as a simplistic issue.


[00:34:38] It is a huge issue. And I must admit I don't like the policy. Is it all right for us readers of Scripture, not to like what God is doing? I mean, I feel guilty about it. I find it quite offensive. But I have to say, that's God's problem. Well, what do I say to people who ask the question? Answer number one got a sovereign God can do anything he wants and be right in doing it. He doesn't operate by human assessments. This is what a lot of Calvinists. Very quickly, tell me. God's in charge. And by definition, God does what's right and you can do whatever. And who are you? The pot to say to the pot? Her. Why do you make me like this? That's Jeremiah. No, this is this is an answer that is part of the picture. But I must assure you, it's not the only part. Calvinists will buy into this wholeheartedly. And for lots of people, that's enough. God can do it, but it's not enough for me. I struggle with this? What kind of God is it that treats that acts this way? True, this policy did not originate with politicians or military leaders, but derive from the Lord himself. This makes it even worse. If humans had come up with a policy, then we'd say, Well, they were thinking badly. But nobody no legislature passed this. Third I Now I'm getting into more comfortable territory. The ways of God. Our mystery. I don't get it. And of course, Isaiah reminds us for my ways are not your ways and my thoughts are not your thoughts. And so there are lots of things about what God does that are a mystery. And I ask myself why. I sat with my cousin in the same desk for all the way through elementary school, a one room country school, 14 to 16 kids in the school.


[00:36:53] And I remember one year, six of them were from our family. But my cousin Donald Ham and I, we sat in the same desk. And if you would have asked which of these guys would be most likely to succeed in life, I mean, everybody would have voted for him. Six foot three. Kerr. You know, by the time he was in high school, curly, dark hair, steel, blue eyes, a great hockey player. I mean, he was everything that I, I could never be, partly because my parents were poor and his were he his father was the best farmer in the community. My father was the worst farmer. His heart wasn't in the church. It wasn't on the field is in the church. And so weird. Ours was an embarrassing family, dirt poor. And it was like for Christmas, they'd get all these presents. And I hated going to church on Sunday morning after we open presents because he'd always talk about new skates and new sweaters and everything else. Well, and all 12 of us got a game for Christmas. Or you got the boots that you should've had in the fall or something like. It was embarrassing. But why did God pick me? Why am I standing here in front of you? And he was out there. And when you look at the way our lives turned and about in high school, they went totally different directions. And he spent his entire life. Driving potato. A delivery truck for potato chips. And I have lived the life. The lizard in the King's Palace. I'm writing my life story about the lizard from Proverbs. Well, I've been I pinch myself. I wake up every day. What am I doing here? And not in Portland? This is in Camas.


[00:38:47] Never been to Commerce before. But I get to I get to come here and have this wonderful time. And he spent his life. Far away from God and a great grief to his parents, my aunt and uncle. And I've asked myself all these years, why did God pick me and not him? Same Sunday school class, same family gathering, same time at Grandma's house, whatever. Everything's the same. We lived a half mile apart as the crow flies. How did this work? I have no answer. The mysteries of God's providence, election, salvation, whatever. But the story ended on an amazing, another mysterious note. He died two years ago. His mother was just turning 100. And I always said in my mother's family that my mother lived to 88, but my grandmother was 96 and whatever. Several of her sisters lived to over 100. But Aunt Susie was about to turn 100. And I always said, my last aunt, when she dies, I'm going home for Dawn's sake. I hadn't seen him in decades. Just to see Dawn. Well in the providence of God. 7 hours before? No. 7 hours after my aunt died. My cousin died. Really? And as it turns out, I was overseas when my aunt died, so I couldn't actually have gone any way. But I was determined to be there for him one last time to hug him. But the amazing thing is he died of mad cow disease. Mad cow disease. What's the real word for that? So it has a strange name. But he. He lived up and on on a lake in northern Saskatchewan. He had his home up there and he and his wife, he died of mad cow disease. But I learned from my cousin, his brother, who told my one of my brothers who was at the funeral two weeks before he died.


[00:41:15] He gave his life to the Lord. So what? How does this happen? What grade? On the one hand. What? Grace. On the other hand, what a waste. And you weep. You say. Why do you wait so long? You could have poured out your life for this. But in any case, the ways of God are mystery. And there are some things about God I don't get. On the positive and on the mystery, for there are some people who say this is a metaphor for scrupulous devotion to God. A lot of people these days, including some evangelicals, are said this never intended to be put into practice, literally. It's a metaphor. It's a way of saying rhetorically they have absolutely nothing to do with anything. Pagan. Eliminate it. So but fifth. This is not a distinctly first testament issue. There were other people in the neighborhood who practiced exactly the same thing. We have some ancient texts. Here's one from a Hittite text since the town of Temecula was loathsome to me. And furthermore, because it was an accessible place, I offered Temecula to the storm. God, my Lord, I made it sacrosanct. I established its borders and no man will settle it again. So what do you do to a city? You've conquered it. You have you devoted to that God. And then there's an eternal taboo on anybody occupying the place. But I wrote to the inhabitants of Carmel and to the inhabitants of Jean Prasanna and do not I have come among you seized them and hand them over to me. If you will not see them, we will not hand them over to me. I shall come and I shall destroy you. I shall repel. Who? Who? Isa? To Tarquin, to the deity.


[00:43:09] I shall make it sacred. And it will never be populated again. Notice the language of sanctity here. To devote something to Haram is to devoted to God and make it absolutely a taboo for humans. That's what's involved here. It's in the same semantic field as the word for sanctify. We'll have a text in a moment on that measure. King of Moab. This is a first cousin language of Hebrew. Here it is. Camel said to me, Go take new More from Israel. I went in the night and I fought against it from the break of dawn until noon. I took it and killed its whole population 7000 male citizens and aliens and female citizens and aliens and servant girls. For I had put it to the ban Haram. That's the same word for Ishtar commotion. And from there I took to the vessels of Yahweh and I hold them before the face of commotion. That's his God, the God of Moab. So the more. But you're doing the same thing. So in that world, nobody would have taken offense at it. It was common political policy. Warfare is sacred business. I mean, we used to talk about holy war. We don't anymore. There are reasons for doing it. I think we'll come back to that. But but it is a sacred business. And when a God hands the enemy city into your hands, you treat it as sacred that God owns it or hears us. Sabi, an old South Arabic when he overthrew DHS and whatever that is. These are names for places we don't know the vowels. And he slew 2000 of them captured 5000 burnt and burned their cities, but he prevented carom them from being burnt the whole town and handed it over to and then our mark on the Saba other cities.


[00:45:05] So they're doing the same thing. It's a fragmentary text. Well, how did this system work? We can reconstruct on the basis of biblical patterns and the extra biblical text. We can reconstruct the process, the sacred process of carob. How did they do this? First, military forces defeat a city. Second, they slaughter the population. Third, they burn the town down. Fourth, they solve it with salt. Judges. 945 That is to sterilize the place so that nothing ever grows here again. They pronounced a curse on it. Joshua 626. They consecrate it to Yahweh. That means that it is consecrated to him so that no human hands can ever touch it without being. Subject to the same. It's absolutely doable. Now, this is different from being sanctified. Using the word kadosh. To be sanctified is to be consecrated to God for human service or for for divine service. But some sanctified things are actually put into humans hands to use. I mean, in the tabernacle you've got a sanctified altar which people touch, and you've got sanctified dippers and sanctified vessels of all sorts. But they are set apart for divine use. By human hands. This is set apart for divine use. Never to be touched by human hands. Which is why at the end of Chapter eight, if you touch it, you become contaminated. Like it. Deuteronomy 13, It refers to the process of utter destruction and sacrificial language, burning with fire as a whole. Total offering for your way, total whole burnt offering. Haha Ram Leviticus, here it is. And if a person who consecrated the field wishes to redeem it, then one fifth shall be added to its assessed value which shall revert to the original owner. But of the field is not redeemed, or if it has been sold to someone else that will no longer be redeemable.


[00:47:17] When the field is released in a jubilee, it shall be wholly Kadesh to your way as a devoted haram a field. That's the same word, but it's used in the context of dedication to God. Dedication to God. So that's what we got here. Well, yeah, this is Leviticus 25. 28. Nothing that a person's own that has been devoted to destruction. Haram for Yahweh, human or animal or inherited landholding may be sold or redeemed. Every devoted thing is most holy to Yahweh. No human beings who have been devoted to destruction can be ransomed, for they shall be put to death. So that's an interesting notion here, and that is that this is a sacred. Moment and you are devoting something to God and therefore it's completely burned up so that nothing is left for people to use. Six. According to the biblical picture of the Canaanites, these people were extremely wicked and their annihilation represented God's judgment from sin. In Genesis 15, where the Lord tells Abraham your descendants will be won't be enslaved in an alien land after 400 years when the cup of the Emirates is full. I will bring you back. The cup of iniquity of the Emirates of is for God anticipates a time is coming when the ultimate depravity has to be answered. And he needs to inflict judgment upon a wicked population and he times it with Israel becoming this this vast host in Egypt. The two events coincide at the moment when the Canaanites are most wicked. That's the moment when the Israelites show up. This is in the providential scheme plan of God. It's all synchronized. The Israelites are God's agents of judgment. For Canaanites, Wickedness seven. The Israelites were never to make the divinely prescribed policy about Cain and ICE their general policy toward outsiders.


[00:49:53] This is very long. That's why I kept emphasizing these are seven the seven nations they are named. And they are in this land. This is not about more bikes. It's not about ammonites or Edomites. When David becomes king and he wins control of Moab and Ammon and Itamar, they all fall to him eventually. He doesn't do any of this. In fact, he doesn't even try to make Israelites out of Edomites. He recognizes that the Lord has given the Edomites their land. Their cousins. The Ammonites. The more whites. He makes them subject states. But they are never part of the Kingdom of Israel. The Kingdom of Israel is never bigger than that map of the 12 tribes. The Kingdom of David is a lot bigger. The King of David is from the river of Egypt to the great River Euphrates. That's David's Kingdom. But this is not true of more bites than ammonites. And what's happening here is restricted to that little piece of property. It's very carefully prescribed. Eight. The Korean policy was driven by religious, not genocidal or military considerations. It's to keep Yoko's holy people free from syncretism and idolatry. The plan of redemption depends on it. God has called Israel to be his agent of grace to a world out there. Nine. When it comes down to it. The Canaanites suffered a fate that ultimately all sinners will face the judgment of God. This is true for everybody. And if you're not a part of the covenant community, this is the this is the destiny that faces all. And so ultimately, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and are subject to this same. So that's a part of the answer here. Ten. In biblical times, the people had a sense of corporate identity that's difficult for us modern Westerners to understand.


[00:52:08] And of course, this is answering particular to the issue of men, women and children. That's what troubles us. We don't mind if the soldiers in the army get killed of the enemy. I mean, that's not that that we expect. But how can you wipe out children here? And of course, the issue is the contamination. Remember, Israelites and Israelite head of the household will build and put up an image of another God in your house. What happens to the whole family? They're all contaminated. It's the principle of corporate identity, corporate solidarity. You are. Your identity derives from your social group. And as one goes, so goes the nation. And also our view of children. To us, a child is the product of human decision, human action. And each child is an independent entity. But that's not biblical at all. The biblical perspective on children is that children are extension of the lives of their parents. So that when I was born, yes, there's a new child here, but there isn't a new life. I carry on the life of my father and my mother and my children are the extension of our lives. And the lives are so that this we are all in this together. Which is why the president debates about whether minors, girls who are pregnant need to talk to their parents about having an abortion. I mean, that we even think about that is abominable. They shouldn't talk only to their mothers and their fathers and their and their oldest. They should talk to all their cousins because to eliminate one member of this clan is to deal, is to harm the whole community. But we are so autonomous. 11. We must understand God's hatred of sin and His desire to transform a fallen world.


[00:54:28] God is strong. God has got an experiment going on here in the Holy Land. He wants a holy people in a holy land with a holy mission. And this experiment is to tell the world what grace can do. And the success of that mission depends upon preserving the holy people. 12. Oh, we said that one way to get more points is to say the same thing twice. 13. Oh. Although Kane and I generally were subject to the judgment of God, they had at least 40 years of advance warning. There is grace and mercy in God. Giving the Canaanites an extra 40 years while he was getting rid of that generation of Israelites, retains the Canaanites 40 years. And of course, Rahab got it. She says. We know we've heard what Jacqui has done for you. We know that he is God of Gods and Lord of Lords. Which reminds us then that if any Canaanite will accept Yahweh as God, they're spared. They are spared. Cain, in a rehab, was the lowest of the low. But she trusted in Jacqui, the God of Israelites. And she was spared. So that. That raises the question who is a true Israelite? That's anyone for whom the shimmer is true. Charmaine, Israel, Jacqui Harlow here in New York. We're hard heroes. Jacqui is our guide on the way. And so Ruth becomes Ruth is a small bite, but she's a true Israelite, becomes the grandmother of my savior. Caleb is a genocide and he is the one with a different spirit who is full after your way. Strange expression. He's not even Israelite. He's a convert. And so there's always room. For those who trust in the God of Israel. 14. God really plays no favorites. I have an extended quite technical discussion of this in the book here somewhere.


[00:56:54] The Triumph of Grace. There's an essay on wrestling with. Wrestling with God over the Canaanite issue. And in that and it struck me as I was working on that paper. The emphasis on gods violence toward humans. The overwhelming majority of cases and texts involve Israel. The question isn't how, isn't it? How can God tolerate the wiping out of Canaanites? The issue is how can God tolerate the wiping out of his own people? And there are. Far more texts on that side of the ledger than of the Canaanites. That's a minority. If Israelites will act like Canaanites, God will act toward them as if they were Canaanites. And the thing is, he gives them plenty of warning. No, in the end I've got 12 or a dozen re a dozen considerations in wrestling with this issue. I don't have a solution to the problem. To me, it's still a problem. I don't like the policy, but on the other hand, I leave it in the hands of God. Lord, that's your problem. When Ezekiel confronts the valley of dry bones, the Lord asks, Can these bones live in your chest? Beats me. You know. There are lots of things that beat me. I don't get. But I don't have to get. It's okay. We trust in our God implicitly that he always does. A He is fundamentally compassionate and gracious. B, He always does what is right. And see, I, by the grace of God, have become the recipient of that mercy. All that. I would embody that grace the way he wants me and fulfill his calling for me. I think that's where we have to leave it. I don't have an answer. People have written lots of books on this topic, and I don't think we will get an answer until.


[00:59:17] I stand in front of Jesus and I will ask him, How could we do that? How could we do that? Answer know, I'd like to know the answer. Rationalize it from God's point of view. Other than you are a holy people. The Lord's treasured people. A kingdom of priests that you might show the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. That's the point. Peter had it exactly right. You got it. May we two? It's a call to holiness. I dealt with this a long time, 30 years ago. We were at Bethel yet and I was speaking at the National Conference of the BGC, the Baptist General Conference, and they asked me to do a series on holiness. And I dealt with this text, the privilege of holiness and of course, versus seven and eight. I mean, what in this? Massive and messy world of paganism. There's Israel, my special treasure. Apart from the grace of God, they're no different from any other nations. But God is gracious. Were the flood in Sodom and Gomorrah. Exercises in Harum. They were in effect. Yes, they were. And so that I didn't even bring up that point. God has been involved in this kind of business cleaning house for a long time. The flood was this their every imagination was only evil continually. This was the answer. And Sodom and Gomorrah? Yeah. They in effect, Canaanite cities on the other side of the Jordan, to be sure. But they represented what all of Kanan has become by this stage. Yeah. So I think that's part of the answer here, too. Yeah. Which is why in judges, uh, 1920 and 21, where you've got the Benjamins acting like sodomites. They vow to kill everybody.


[01:01:28] Because they become contaminated like the local population. And that's. Karen. Is the due response. Yeah. Unfortunately, in the end, they blamed God for eliminating one tribe. No, it's not. Don't blame God.