Joshua 6:17–21 (ESV)
“And the city and all that is within it shall be devoted to the LORD for destruction. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall live, because she hid the messengers whom we sent. But you, keep yourselves from the things devoted to destruction, lest when you have devoted them you take any of the devoted things and make the camp of Israel a thing for destruction and bring trouble upon it. But all silver and gold, and every vessel of bronze and iron, are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.” So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. Then they devoted all in the city to destruction, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys, with the edge of the sword.
This passage troubles people. So does the above award winning photograph.
The cold truth is that almost every living creature meets its end in the jaws of a predator. Everyone who worships the creator of the universe must come to grips with the fact that this is the universe He chose to create. That includes things like carnivores.
The command to devote to destruction everything and everyone in Jericho seems extreme. However, the people there did things as wicked as burning their children as human sacrifices.
“When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD.” — Deuteronomy 18:9–12a (ESV)
That passage lends some justice to what is about to happen to them. But note that the penguin above was a carnivore itself. In an analogous way, this won’t be the first time that the people of this land have been completely dispossessed. As we read in Deuteronomy 2.1-23, the Canaanites had a history of brutalizing, oppressing, and displacing one another.
The point is that God determines what’s right and what’s wrong. We don’t get to decide.
Those who worship a God who would never have created this world, don’t worship the One who did.
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.