And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. Gen 6:5-6
Yesterday, while looking for a new Bible, I read a Bible review on Amazon from a self proclaimed Atheist stating the God of the old Testament was a cruel, bloodthirsty God who slaughtered innocent women and children. This is a favorite statement from people who are absolutely ignorant of the ways and workings of God and the scriptures as a whole.
The scriptures clearly reveal to us the mind of God:
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Exodus 34:6
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. Psa 86:15
But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. Psa 78:38-40
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17
What the average person fails to understand is that this world is governed by spiritual rules and laws along with the physical, and there is a price to pay for being lawless. You cannot make up your own spiritual laws or righteousness just like you cannot control gravity or the law of cause and effect. God, who is the creator of these spiritual and physical laws, will not be mocked.
These pagan societies, which formed generations after the Flood, had again increased in wickedness and manufactured their own perverted laws, customs and religions. They effectually lowered themselves in corruptions similar in fashion to the ancient peoples before the Great Flood who brought judgment on themselves and the whole world. Only Noah and his family escaped as they were the only ones left who honored God and found grace in His sight. (Gen 6:8)
God later choose Abraham and his offspring, the Hebrews, as His own to be a holy people and taught them His righteous ways to live. They were to be an example to the world of how God's creation should behave themselves. This was for their own good and protection in an evil world, a gift from God their loving Heavenly Father. History shows that man is incapable of properly ruling himself without Godly laws and customs.
It is well known the pagan religions in the area promoted witchcraft, ritual child sacrifice, pedophilia, rape and sodomy, bestiality, prostitution and the list goes on. Ancient writings and archeological evidence also corroborates the facts that these pagan nations followed wicked customs and laws.
God tells the Hebrews in Lev 18:24-30
"Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. For the land has become defiled, therefore I have visited its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and my judgments, and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the stranger who sojourns among you; for the men of the land who have been before you have done ALL these abominations, and the land has become defiled; so that the land may not spew you out should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the Lord your God."
In the account of the city of Nineveh, God gave an evil society a chance to cease it's wicked ways before judgment and turn to Him. And like Noah's example, individuals within these wicked societies are also individually given a chance to repent and change escaping God's judgement; even while the other unrepentant inhabitants feel the full force of God's wrath.
In the book of Joshua 2:8-13 we see another example of God's mercy. Jericho was about to be taken and Rahab, who was a prostitute, hid the two Hebrew spies in her home on the roof. She lied to the inquiring authorities about it; then later, when the coast was clear, helped the spies escape over the wall. While the spies were with her, Rahab said some remarkable things:
"She came up to them on the roof and said to them, I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the Amorites whom you utterly destroyed beyond the Jordan. And when we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord, your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath. Now therefore, please swear to me by the Lord, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with me and deliver our lives from death."
Rahab knew of God's power; she also says that everyone in Jericho knew about these events and were fearful for their lives! The difference between Rahab and the rest of Jericho is that she realized the awesome power of the only true God Himself! She believed in God's power and that the idols worshipped by her people were false; because of her faith, she was saved and welcomed into God's family (see Hebrews 11:31). Surely the other pagans could have believed as she did. Unfortunately, they belived in their false gods and continued on in their wicked, ignorant ways as their judgment followed.
Romans 1:17-2:2 explains this:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, malice; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, with out understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and though they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you and we know that the judgment of God rightfully falls upon those who practice such things."
The Romans passage above describes for us in vivid detail how this can happen to a culture and nation. This is exactly the kind of conditions existing in the Promised Land as the Hebrews approached to conquer this land which God had given them. God makes it very clear to His choosen people the reasons for the extermination of these pagans in (Deuteronomy 9:1-6):
"Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the Lord has spoken to you. Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land', but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn (stiff necked) people!"
God shows us in the scriptures that sometimes morals deteriorate so far that a nation or a people reach a "point of no return". There is just no way back; things have gone too far for too long. The story of the Genesis Flood is the first example in the scriptures of God destroying a culture of evil people followed then by Sodom and Gomorrah. The wicked pagan nations living in the Promised Land were living the same corrupt, immoral, lives as their ancestors causing the same age-old dilemma before God when the Hebrews arrived to possess the land. To settle God's people in the midst of these depraved societies with their evil actions, customs and influences would be flirting with disaster as the Hebrews would eventually become as corrupted as their pagan neighbors. Israel would fall away from their God and deliverer. Ironically, as we read later through the Old Testament, we find this is exactly what happened; because while the Hebrews removed most of the pagan inhabitants of the land, they did not remove all of them and were eventually corrupted also and likewise faced judgement by their righteous God.
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