Daily Thoughts : September 9th
Josh 8:28 So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day.
There are people who look into the Old Testament and wonder at the awfulness of the destruction of the people of Canaan and wonder about God. We need the facts to bring it into perspective and to help us realise – no alternative!
The people of Canaan were given three alternatives: leave the land, join Israel and become part of the people of God, or stay and fight. Some left, some joined Israel (see the Gibeonites) and many stayed to fight. The only trouble with the people who stayed to fight Israel was that they were idol worshippers and even sacrificed their children to their gods. We really don't know and can't comprehend the awfulness of their pagan worship. Thus, essentially, God's warning to them was leave, leave these false religions and follow me, or die, for there is no room for falseness in this land that I have chosen for my people.
Thus when we come to Ai, we find a people who have set their hearts in resistance. They knew Israel were there. They would have heard about the destruction of Jericho and each victory of Israel was like a further plague back in Egypt, a warning to repent. Each town or people group could have repented at any time and joined God's people, but they didn't and thus they became a threat to Israel, not so much a physical threat (although that was true), but a spiritual threat, a people who might seduce Israel and lead them away from the Lord. That's what sin does. Destroy it.
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