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Reflections Podcast
Reflections Podcast
Reflections • Episode 10
Making Sense of Divine Violence
14m • March 3, 2021

There’s a lot of violence in the Old Testament, but isn’t God loving? How do we make sense of all this?

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There’s a lot of violence in the Old Testament, but isn’t God loving? How do we make sense of all this? In this episode, we are exploring a few key things to keep in mind while looking at the topic of violence in the Bible.

Note to parents: The terms genocide, child sacrifice, sexual fertility rituals, and sex slavery are used in this episode. Before listening with your child, consider if they are ready to be introduced to these concepts and if you are prepared to carefully answer any follow-up questions they may have.

Bible Reading: Joshua 1:1-9

Reflection Questions:

  • How do you see violence at work in your community?
  • Consider God’s character of justice, mercy, and love. How does he want to restore your community?
  • What is one step you can take this week to join God’s justice, mercy, and sacrificial love?

Want to Go Deeper? Check out this episode's complete Bible study to access a video and explore more detailed questions for personal study and group discussion.

Show Credits:

  • Host: Cheree Hayes
  • Message: Dr. Tim Mackie
  • Production and Bible Reading: Dan Gummel
  • Theme music: Grant William Harold
  • Background Music: "Tides" by Some Were At Sea

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2 Chronicles 36:22-23  –  13m
Looking Back to Look Forward
13m
Malachi 3:16-4:6  –  13m
Treasured by God
13m
Daniel 7:9-14  –  13m
There’s Hope in the Nightmare
13m
Esther 4:1-17  –  16m
Who Does God Choose to Work Through?
16m
Ezra 4:1-3, Isaiah 56:3-8  –  15m
Is God Inclusive?
15m
Ezekiel 36:22-36  –  14m
Promise for New Hearts
14m
Lamentations 3:19-33  –  14m
Learning How to Grieve from Lamentations
14m
Jeremiah 4:16-28, 1 Thessalonians 5  –  15m
The Deep Anguish of God
15m
Song of Songs 8:6-7  –  15m
Wisdom from Sensual Love Poetry?
15m
Ecclesiastes 4:4-12  –  15m
One Handful of Rest
15m
Isaiah 42:1-16  –  14m
Power of Metaphor
14m
Proverbs 1:1-7  –  13m
How to Live Wisely
13m
Job 38:1-18, Job 42:1-6  –  15m
How God Replies to Job’s Suffering
15m
Jonah 4:1-11, Exodus 34:5-9, 1 Kings 19:3-5  –  14m
God’s Mercy on Our Enemy
14m
Hosea 14:1-9  –  14m
What God Wants from Us
14m
Isaiah 61  –  12m
What Good News Looks Like
12m
1 John 1  –  12m
Message of the Prophets
12m
2 Kings 25  –  14m
What God Does About Suffering
14m
1 Kings 6  –  14m
Redeeming Disappointment
14m
2 Samuel 7  –  14m
Faithful Through Failure
14m
1 Samuel 2  –  13m
When You Feel Powerless
13m
Ruth 2  –  12m
How God Treats His Enemies
12m
Judges‬ 2  –  12m
When We Walk Out on God
12m
14m
Deuteronomy 30  –  11m
Understanding Ancient Law
11m
Deuteronomy 4  –  12m
God's Wisdom on Display
12m
Numbers 13  –  11m
Trusting God in the Wilderness
11m
Leviticus 25  –  13m
Gift of Rest
13m
Hebrews 10  –  12m
Meaning of Sacrifice
12m
Exodus 19  –  12m
Rescued for a Purpose
12m
Exodus 3  –  15m
When We Cry Out
15m
Genesis 32  –  13m
Wrestling God
13m
Genesis 1-3  –  15m
Why God Gave Choice
15m

Reflect

Once you've listened to the podcast, take time to reflect on these questions.

  1. How do you see violence at work in your community?
  2. Consider God’s character of justice, mercy, and love. How does he want to restore your community?
  3. What is one step you can take this week to join God’s justice, mercy, and sacrificial love?

Go Deeper

If you would like to dive deeper, use these Scriptures and questions for personal study or small group discussion.

Message Question
How did Tim’s message challenge or encourage you today?

How do we make sense of the violence in the book of Joshua? Most readers imagine that God commanded his people to vengefully wipe out an entire nation. But a deeper reading reveals that the reasons for the conquest were more complex, the scope of the battles were smaller, and God’s justice and mercy remained present throughout every detail.

There are many key issues to keep in mind as we approach this difficult topic. While we can’t address all of them in this episode, one key takeaway is that even this story leads us to Jesus. Similar to Joshua, Jesus came to drive corruption out of his creation. But unlike Joshua, Jesus’ weapons were acts of sacrificial love. Joshua’s victory was at the expense of his enemy’s blood, but Jesus’ victory was for his enemies and gained through the shedding of his own blood. In Jesus, the God of Israel himself suffered violence to put an end to violence and death.

Read: Joshua 1:1-9, 2 Corinthians 10:1-5, Romans 8:31-39

  1. Divine violence is a complex topic that we’ve only begun to unpack in this brief study. What feelings does it bring up for you? What is one specific question that you have as you consider what we’ve reflected on so far?
  2. Joshua points to Jesus, the true conqueror of evil, who announces an alternate Kingdom in the midst of ruling powers of evil. When you read today’s passage with Jesus in mind, what do you observe?
  3. The apostle Paul uses the idea of opposing strongholds as a metaphor to describe thoughts that conflict with what we know of God’s character. With this in mind, compare and contrast today’s passage in Joshua with 2 Corinthians 10:1-5. What similarities and differences do you notice?
  4. Compare and contrast today’s passage in Joshua with Romans 8:31-39. What similarities and differences do you notice?
  5. According to Romans 8:31-39, what does it mean to be a “more than a conqueror,” and what do we need to believe in order to live in the boldness of that identity?
  6. How do you see violence corrupting your community? Consider God’s justice and mercy toward your community. How does he want to restore peace? What is one step you can take this week to join him?
  7. Turn your reflections into a prayer. Be honest about your feelings and questions about this topic. He hears you. Express your gratitude for how God conquered violence and death through the power of his love. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what it means to reflect his sacrificial love this week.
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