Today's devotion from Joshua 11 & 12.
These chapters deal with battles and victories in the promised land, but Joshua 11:20 is particularly interesting because it basically says that all of this bloodshed is God’s doing. Verses like these are why so many people have a hard time understanding that God has not changed. How is it that this much bloodshed and death is done by the same God “who is love” according to 1 John 4:8?
To be honest, this is within the revealed nature of God. It was love and mercy that spurred God to protect Noah and the faithful remnant against the progressive godlessness of his day. It is the love of that God leads Him to fight for the Israelites against the pagan peoples who would corrupt His worship, lead Israel astray, and endanger His redemptive work. It was love that caused Him to send His own Son to be butchered by the very people He intended to save.
As I was reading about this, I came across a blog post by Dr. Greg Boyd in which he wrote:
The root meaning of the Hebrew word “to harden” (chazaq) is “to strengthen.” God hardens people by strengthening the resolving their own hearts. [www.reknew.or/2008/01/joshua-1119-20/]
God’s love of humanity caused Him to defend us even against ourselves.
To this end, He allowed their resolve to stiffen to the point that they would act on it sooner rather than later, so that the Israelites could know peace sooner, and His redemptive plan could progress.