Today Tim Frisby and Jo Wells both continued our sermon series on the life of Joshua by looking at the fall of Jericho from chapters 5-6. This passage, and others like it, raise important and difficult questions about how we are to understand the Old Testament and think about the character of God. When we read about the Israelites being instructed to destroy the Canaanites and displace them from their land, it naturally makes us ask the question “how can I square this with the idea of a God of Love?”
This question is too big to deal with quickly, and too important to be dealt with lightly. So rather than address them in our Joshua series, we wanted to provide a few resources to help you explore the question in more depth.
Firstly, here’s a talk I gave in 2013 as part of our Faith Conversations series. It looks at some of the commands in the Old Testament that we may find distasteful, and helps us to understand them correctly, and think about how we can reconcile them with the idea of a loving God.
For those who would like to read more, three books are worth checking out:
Is God a Moral Monster? by Paul Copan looks in detail at many of the hardest sections of the Old Testament, providing plenty of historical background to help us understand the passages correctly.
The God I Don’t Understand by Christopher J.H. Wright takes a broader look at the tough questions of faith, and is very helpful.
Fight by Preston Sprinkle looks more specifically at the theme of violence throughout the whole Bible and will help you to consider how Christianity offers a surprising and challenging alternative.
And finally, this seminar by Amy Orr-Ewing entitled Can I believe in a God who commands killing in the Old Testament? is well worth a listen.