Why would God use Israel to judge Canaan


(Gersona Andrianarijaona) #1

With my Bible study group, I am now reading the story of Israel’s conquest of Canaan in the book of Joshua. I understand that God is Holy, Sovereign and that He always judges sin, so I’ve got no issue with the judgment of Canaan itself.
But my question is about God’s method : why would He use warfare and the army of Israel to apply His judgment ? . He could have done the same thing as with Egypt and the plagues or the huge hailstones in Joshua 10 to punish Canaan, but He rather used Israel to destroy, burn and kill people.


(SeanO) #2

@gers That is a good question. I think the one thing we can say for certain from Scripture is that God did not choose the Israelites for this task because of their own righteousness.

Deuteronomy 9:4-6 - After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, “The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness.” No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people.

As to why God would use Israel through warfare rather than sending an angel or disease to kill the Canaanites, we can only make educated guesses. The Scriptures, as far as I know, do not answer that question plainly. But here are a few thoughts that may be helpful:

  • God chose Israel to display His glory. By having them win a military victory over the Canaanites, God showed these nations that He was the true God just like He showed Pharaoh by destroying his armies. By giving them military victory, God was sending a message that He was with this new fledgling nation.
  • To strengthen Israel’s position in the promised land. By giving them military victory, God would secure Israel’s status as a nation to be reckoned with and make their position in the land more secure.
  • Perhaps to give the nations a chance to repent. If God struck them down automatically these nations would not have recognized that they were opposing God, but by working through Israel these nations may have been given a last chance to repent. We know that God is merciful - as we see in the example of Rahab who feared the Lord when she met the Israelites.

Those are simply some thoughts. Do you find any of those helpful? The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom.

Here is another thread you may find helpful: