God never ordered anyone to slaughter anyone

God never ordered anyone to slaughter anyone else. How do I know? Because God is exactly like Jesus. There is nothing unchristlike in God. Jesus is the perfect revelation of who God is. Jesus said, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” And, “I and the Father are one.” And, “I do always those things that please the Father.” God is exactly like Jesus and Jesus forgave his enemies, refused retaliation, and rejected violence as a solution.

Yet, in the Old Testament, we have passages where it says God ordered genocide. How can that be? In the Ancient Neareast (of which Israel was part), you honored your god by ascribing all victories to him/her/it. The ancient Jews did the same. They claimed YHWH slaughtered the Canaanites, Hittites and Jebusites. Of course, they knew right well that they did the killing. God told them to possess the land. They assumed that the only way to do was to invade with swords drawn. There’s evidence that if they’d simply trusted God, God would have persuaded the people who lived there (people created in God’s image; people God loved) to move on their own accord. Instead, the ancient Jews invaded, slaughtered, and gave the God of cruciform love the credit.

Jesus also invaded Canaan. In Matthew 15, the story is told of Jesus in Syrophoenicia. Jews and Syrophoenicians didn’t get along, mostly for economic and cultural reasons. A Syrophoenician woman begged Jesus to heal her daughter. Using a bit of street theater, Jesus acted exactly as any Jewish rabbi would be expected – he ignored her. She pressed in. He said he had been sent to lost sheep of Israel. She said even dogs get crumbs. Jesus ended the theater and responded as we knew he would, with grace, love, acceptance, mercy, and healing. His Jewish followers had to be astonished. 

Joshua and the ancient Jewish tribes invaded Canaan with sword and genocide. Jesus invaded Canaan with cruciform love. A new kingdom has come. 

About Dr. Larry Taylor

Radical Anabaptist, Jesus Freak, Red Letter Christian, sailor, thinker, spiritual director, life coach, pastor, teacher, chaplain, counselor, writer, husband, father, grandfather, dog-sitter

Posted on May 23, 2023, in anabaptist, Bible, Christianity, Jesus, Kingdom Life, kingdom of God. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Mary Hatzenbehler

    Dear Pastor Larry,

    I understand your discourse. Yet I found 1st Samuel chapter 15. Samuel could hear God speak directly to him, since early childhood; audibly. Verses 2-3 are quite ghastly, attributed directly to God.

    I understand and embrace the compassions of God, shown in Jesus the Messiah, to all who believe. I know He died for the sins of everyone! Past, present, and future, He bought the whole field to obtain the pearl hidden in it, which I think is the church.

    I treasure the everlasting kindness of God displayed in Jesus, and I gratefully claim His promises by faith.

    Yet Jesus, Himself, the only qualified Judge of all, was speaking in Mark 9:43-48. It’s quite a ghastly scene He describes.

    I had more to say, but I remember that Apostle Paul thought it was futile for a woman to try and teach a man. Yet, the Bible verses speak for themselves.

    I know a lady who cut-off her son for being gay. She pays his school costs, but refused his choice of orientation in a strong way.

    Frankly, I’d rather see her theology turn to lenient mush than to see that boy forsaken by his mom, under some supposition that loyalty to God demands withdrawing affection from the boy.

    I’ll attach his photo, with his mom before he went to Stanford for a PhD program. At Stanford, he met a male companion.

    His mom and dad are in a very zealous church group.

    Years ago the mom in the photo came to St. Louis and rescued me financially. At 60, I had terrible trials finding jobs, and my little boat was sinking. Her elderly mother had a reason to be grateful to me, back in the 1980s, when I stayed with the then teenage girl. The teen started high school in Sacramento while her mother went back to Taiwan.

    Long story short, and adding God’s faithfulness, their family helped me, and I made it to age 62. Retirement followed.

    Anyway, in St. Louis, that former teen, having raised two kids, became a strong Republican. We discussed my preference for Bernie Sanders as a candidate. The pro-gay stand of Bernie was odious to most Christians, but incidental to me. It wasn’t my reason for liking him. Meanwhile, I got an earful of homophobic vitriol.

    Sometimes I wonder if my friend’s extreme disgust with gayness wasn’t partly responsible for influencing her son to make friends with those ostracized people.

    There is pity for the underdog to be seen in Jesus. It makes some believers reach out to the marginalized and despised ones.

    The boy’s sister, also shown in the photo, eventually couldn’t meet the standards of her parents, either. She came home pregnant, unsure which man was the father. Her parents rallied around her, unlike their reaction to her brother.

    Sin is sin, but the girl got compassion and a wall went up against the boy. It’s interesting, in a tragic way.

    I’ll attach the baby’s photo from half a year ago. This boy is the joy of his grandma’s heart! (I never know where the grandpa stands. He must have an opinion, but I never hear it.)

    This family needs prayer, as do so many these days.

    Go with God, Mary


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