Knowing God's Character [Joshua 8]
1Now the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear or be dismayed Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.
2"You shall do to Ai and its king just as you did to Jericho and its king; you shall take only its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it."
3So Joshua rose with all the people of war to go up to Ai; and Joshua chose 30,000 men, valiant warriors, and sent them out at night.
If all I knew about God were these stories of conquest and destruction, I would have to conclude that God is not so good. However, I have a lot more information about God and His true character through which to filter these particular actions. And I have the cross that reminds me that God is just and must destroy evil. If He were not just, there would have been no need for the cross. No one would have had to die for anything! In addition, the cross also proved that God is love. If He were not love, there would have been no need for Him to die on the cross to save all who will name Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
16"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
In addition, God gave us many Scriptures that define His goodness and remind us that His character is good. It is vital that we keep these things in mind when God's Word doesn't seem to portray a good God.
19And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
3 John 1:11
11Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.
11For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
5Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to the LORD and to His goodness in the last days.
In the end, who am I to judge God and decide whether He is good or not. In comparison to the One who created the heavens and the earth and all of the myriad of stars, I am nothing and can never fathom the works of such a great and awesome God. And so I end with one more thought...
9"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My (God's) ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
God, we praise You that You are good even when it appears from our tiny perspective that you are not. We thank You for Jesus who perfectly reflects Your justice and love in the cross. Cause us to keep our eyes on Jesus as we read these difficult passages and to believe the truth that You are so very good. We can't, but You can.