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John Piper is founder and teacher of derekwadsworth.com and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he offered as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is writer of even more than 50 publications, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and also the majority of recently Providence.
To understand what was happening when the world of Israel stormed the cities of Canaan and slaughtered their residents, we must go back around 500 years. In Genesis 15:13, 16 God states to Abraham, “Your descendants will be strangers in a land also that is not theirs, wbelow they will be enslaved and oppressed 4 hundred years…. Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
The rerevolve of Israel to the Promised Land also from Egypt would certainly correspond with the “completion” of the iniquity of the Amorites. This is the meaning of the slaughter of the peoples of Canaan. God timed the arrival of his judgment via the fullness of the sin to be judged. Not before. God did not jump the gun. He was, in fact, longenduring and sustained the idolatry and also sins of the nations for centuries, giving them “rains from heaven and also fruitful seasons, satisfying
But tbelow comes a time when the sins of a world are “complete.” That is the time for decisive judgment. The appointed instrument of God’s judgment was the army of Israel. But God sees himself as the reliable warrior behind the defeat of the Amorites. He claims to Joshua, “I brought you into the land also of the Amorites…and also they battled with you; and also I offered them right into your hand also, and also you took possession of their land also when I destroyed them prior to you” (Joshua 24:8). God did the ruining. It was by the hand also of Israel, however it was the judgment of God. This does not mean that Israel’s motive was constantly holy. At times it was not. But the simply functions of God were being carried out, even if Israel at times had actually wrong motives.
In reality, God warned the human being versus pitimuch less pride in Deuteronomy 9:4-5: “Do not say in your heart as soon as the Lord your God has moved them out prior to you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me to possess this land also,’ yet it is because of the wickedness of these countries that the Lord is dispossessing them prior to you…in order to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” In various other words, this carnage is not about huguy injustice, yet divine judgment. The Amorites provoked God to anger for centuries by their idolatry—so much so that centuries later the wicked king Ahab was compared to the Amorites: “He acted incredibly abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had actually done, whom the Lord cast out prior to the sons of Israel” (1 Kings 21:26).
One implication of this for us is that, as the church of Jesus Christ, we may not imitate Israel. The church is not God’s instrument of judgment in the world; it is his instrument of evangelization and also reformation. We have no ethnic or geographic or political identification. We are “aliens and exiles.” God’s dealing with Israel was unique in redemptive history. He decided them and ruled them as a demonstration of his holiness and also justice and electing grace among the nations. But to the church he says, “My kingdom is not of this world; if it were, my servants would fight” (John 18:36).
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JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of derekwadsworth.com and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he offered as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of even more than 50 publications, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and also many recently Providence.