3 Things the Life of Daniel Teaches us about Troubled Times

From foreign rulers invading his home to keeping company with lions, the life of Daniel showcases God’s sovereign control. As the book of Daniel begins, King Nebuchadnezzar besieges Jerusalem and takes many of the young men back to Babylon, including Daniel.

Fast forward a few thousand years and we may not all face lions or invasion, but we do still struggle with a chaotic world.

How can believers learn from Daniel’s actions? Read more

God’s Glory Found in Nature & Poetry

leaf_cropWhen the Old Testament speaks of God’s glory, it usually refers to a visible manifestation of God. For example, the stories of the tabernacle in Exodus or of Ezekiel’s vision of the temple, both expressing God’s intent to dwell among men.

But it’s also related to God’s self-disclosure to humanity. For example, the psalmist wrote, “The Heavens declare the glory of God” (19:1). Read more

5 Things Genesis 1 Teaches About Unity

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Many Christians hotly debate the roles men and women play in church ministry. Yet, ironically, while we’re debating the merits of all the various forms of egalitarianism and complimentarianism (or patriarchal hierarchy), we forget a crucial point in the beginning of Genesis—unity.

1.) Unity in our creation in the image of God—Both males and females are created in God’s image. Genesis 1:27 states, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”[1]

The term image likely has in mind a custon that kings in the ancient near east had of putting up images to “represent their power and rulership over far-reaching areas of their empires.”[2] Putting this thought into the Genesis context, this idea of “God’s image” has the idea of representing God’s power on earth. Read more

Concluding Thoughts on the Canaanite Genocide

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The past several blog posts I’ve been discussing the Canaanite Genocide. If you’ve missed my earlier posts, you can catch up at these links: “The Old Testament and Apologetics,” “Is the God of the Old Testament Merciless?,” “An Overview of the Canaanite Genocide,” “The Canaanite Genocide: The Justice of God Viewpoint,” “The Canaanite Genocide: The Evil of the Canaanites Viewpoint,” and “The Canaanite Genocide: The Hyperbolic Language Viewpoint.”

The questions pertaining to the so-called “Canaanite Genocide” are important issues. It is unlikely that any one proposal by itself is the correct solution for no proposal seems to satisfy all of the issues. I conclude with a summary of three key points: Read more

The Canaanite Genocide: The Hyperbolic Language Viewpoint

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The past several blog posts I’ve been discussing the Canaanite Genocide. If you’ve missed my earlier posts, you can catch up at these links: “The Old Testament and Apologetics,” “Is the God of the Old Testament Merciless?,” “An Overview of the Canaanite Genocide,” “The Canaanite Genocide: The Justice of God Viewpoint,” and “The Canaanite Genocide: The Evil of the Canaanites Viewpoint.”

Today, I want to take a look briefly at “The Hyperbolic Language Viewpoint.” Or basically, the idea that the warfare language in the book of Joshua was hyperbolic. It’s sort of a similar idea to language that native English speakers might use today in athletic competitions like “Take him out!” or “Crush them!” We also see a figure of speech when we say the phrase “break a leg!” to an actress for good luck before a production. In these situations, we aren’t expected to take the words literally. So, proponents of this view say the Bible used hyperbolic language here to help drive the narrative. Read more

The Canaanite Genocide: The Evil of the Canaanites Viewpoint

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In reference to the evil of the Canaanites, some point out that the annihilation was only for one generation. Many other defenses have been pointed out as well from the limited number of cities destroyed to verses and archaeological information about the iniquity of these pagan nations.

It is worth noting that only three cities were completely destroyed (including physical structures) according to the biblical narrative: Jericho, Ai, and Hazor.[1] It has been suggested that these three cities were military forts placed at strategic points along frequently traveled routes from the Jordan Valley to the population centers in the hill country. There is no archaeological evidence that shows that women and children[2] even lived in theses cities.[3] Read more

The Canaanite Genocide: The Justice of God Viewpoint

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The justice and love of God can be described as a paradox. Though not always understandable by finite minds, God is both a God of supreme mercy and supreme justice. His justice demands punishment for sin. However, Eugene Merrill brings up a good point, “Such war was conceived by God, commanded by him, executed by him, and brought by him alone to successful conclusion,” and thus this war was a “holy war.”[1] It was not a war instituted by Moses, Joshua, or the Israelites. Read more

An Overview of the Canaanite Genocide

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This week I’ve been discussing the issue of the “Canaanite Genocide” during the Israelite conquest.

Deuteronomy 20:16 states, “But in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes.”

This is not a new struggle. People have long wondered why God ordered the Israelites to kill all of the Canaanites and many assume that the destruction of a whole people group, including women and children, would not be in the character of a loving God. Some equate it to problems we see today with ethnic cleansing around the world both currently and in the past century in horrific situations such as the holocaust or Islamic jihads. Read more

Is the God of the Old Testament Merciless?

canaanite genocideI had the privilege of serving as an editor for the recently released Evangelism Study Bible done by EvanTell and Kregel. I thought the following article taken from the ESB ties in well with this week’s theme.

In his review of the law in Deuteronomy 20, Moses set out specific instructions regarding the conduct of war by Israel. The goal of conquest was not to kill a city’s inhabitants, but to obtain its peaceful surrender and subsequent service as a vassal (20:10–11). Only if a city resisted and fought back were the Israelites to destroy its army and take the city captive (20:13–15). Read more