As today’s reading shows, Israel has a great number of families by time they arrive in the land of promise. As we continue through Israel’s conquest of Canaan, let me add yet another layer of truth to help us understand God’s work in this book: God’s right to use Israel to remove, judge, and punish the Canaanites is equivalent to God’s right to do the same through other means. YHWH”s rights as creator, sustainer, and judge accord with Him sending a flood upon the world, destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, and expelling the Canaanites. No human being ever creates another; rather, we can only procreate. No person sustains another in every single moment and every single breath. No man or woman is pure and good in all their ways. As creator, sustainer, and a being uniquely righteous, God has a holy and heavy right to give and take away (Job 1:21). When God decides to take, He has the right to use floods or warfare or whatever means He pleases.
I hasten to add that though this truth should undergird our reading of Joshua, if we consider this important theological point alone, we easily can miss an opportunity to better understand God’s work and character in this part of Israel’s history. If we stop at this truth and don’t pay attention to what God is doing in Joshua, we might begin pitting God against Jesus. The God of Joshua is the same as the God of Jesus. God is love, and He also is judge who has rights to judge how He pleases in both Old and New Testaments. Tomorrow, I will clarify how this sort of reasoning does not mean God’s judgement of right and wrong is arbitrary.