To reconcile our merciful, loving God with the genocide depicted in the conquest of the Promised Land requires a clear understanding of the eternal priority of God and a healthy recognition of the magnitude of sin. God’s priority is the eternal salvation of all who come to Him by faith in His Son. His plan of salvation is for people from all nations, tribes, and tongues. In order to grasp the abundant miracle of grace, we have to first recognize the depth of our depravity and the magnitude of sin. While God doesn’t delight in suffering, His plan is on a scale that makes a lifetime of suffering on earth only a breath or a vapor compared with eternal life.
Understanding that death is the final end of sin (James 1:15) and that eternity makes our fleeting existence on earth a mere vapor (James 4:14) allows us to see the context for God’s direction to devote to destruction all those who had embraced sin as not only a way of life, but a religion. This understanding also gives perspective when we face horror and trauma in our own lives. The death of a child. The betrayal of a spouse. The suffering of a loved one with cancer. As horrible and heartbreaking and painful as our worst moments in this life are, there will come a day when they will be a distant memory, a faint smudge on the far horizon overshadowed by the glory of eternal joy. The sin that swirls around us in this world will ultimately reach maturity in death and complete destruction for those who have embraced it. Our innate desire for justice will be fulfilled by the only One capable of judging rightly.
As you read these hard chapters, may God reveal more of His Grace and Mercy.