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Breezin’ Through the Bible, Appendix to “Battles”

November 6, 2013

From the sermon, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 — Dr. Rumford, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Santa Ana

Joshua  fit the battle of Jericho, and the walls came tumblin’ down — So we sing, but why did God have Joshua kill each man, woman and child within those walls when He had given the commandment “do not kill.”

Have you ever put clear pure water into a container half full of contaminated dirty water? Did your pure water remain pure or was it contaminated, indistinguishable from the dirty water? In science class did you purify the petri-dish before you put in the culture you wanted to grow? Do you wash your hands to remove harmful bacteria?

God knew the effects of contamination on a people. Each time the leaders would absent themselves, the people reverted to the old ways. They intermarried with pagans in the areas they passed through and began to adopt their customs and their gods, despite the warnings in the commandments, “Have no other gods before me. The Lord is a jealous God.” God wanted to be sure his people would be pure and uncontaminated. Since the time of Adam, people leaned toward evil and easy evil ways. God imposed strict rules and regulations, much more constrictive than the orgies and ceremonies of Baal and other false gods.

The old testament tells the story of how God tried to keep good people from bad people around them. He showed his people his strength and his power when they obeyed Him, and when they disobeyed, he turned away. God insisted on the complete destruction of evil people to prevent evil from contaminating his followers. 

This is a theory, for no one can know God’s motives, but it makes sense to me. It is always difficult to avoid evil, even and perhaps especially today.

It is not until the New Testament in the sacrifice of his son, born of heaven and earth, that God reveals himself as a God of love and forgiveness. How grateful his people are for this revelation. 

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