While reading the book of Joshua, I find my focus shifting. I either excited about the tremendous victories of Joshua or disturbed by the brutal violence. In fact, the two stand in such opposition that I am questioning who God is. One is good and the other horrible, right? How can he be responsible for both? My heart hurts for the lost cities. It hurts for all the people killed. I struggle to celebrate victories that are won because of the mass destruction. I want it to be different. However, a closer look reveals that my perspective is short-sighted.
Consider for a moment that you were Jabin, the king of Hazor. You just received the news of Joshua’s great victory and the utter destruction left in his wake. Not just the destruction, but the ruthless hanging of five kings (Joshua 10:26). It’s obvious who is next on Joshua’s list. You are! Think for a moment about the two choices you have. Make peace with Israel, or take them out. Their choice is documented in verse 19. “There was not a city that made peace with the people of Israel except the Hivites.” Simply put, Hazor chose to protect his own kingdom rather than come under the authority of Israel. What other choice does Joshua have? What other choice does God have?
Do you see how Hazor and Israel correlate with our own lives? Think about it, God shows up, all powerful and sovereign. While stand, silently, watching his work, we get to choose. Will we make peace with him, or will we fight? Unfortunately, like Hazor, we often choose to build and protect our own kingdoms rather than come under His authority. How long should we expect God to watch us? You see, He has a choice to make too. For Hazor and his buddies, God’s compassion had a limit. As a result, He hardened the hearts of the five kings after they proved to be fully against him. It is important to note that God has not changed. In fact, Romans 1:25 reminds us that when we exchange the truth of God for a lie, we too will be given over to our sin. Its the same thing! Make no mistake, when that happens, death and destruction is on our horizon. This is not what God wants. He is not planning destruction for us. In fact, He wants us to live, fully, with him.
Today, God is offering us hope in the name Jesus Christ. It is written:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17 (ESV)