There’s a lot of violence in the Old Testament, but isn’t God loving? How do we make sense of all this?
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
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.
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If you would like to dive deeper, use these Scriptures and questions for personal study or small group discussion.
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