Abraham was willing to leave his familiar surroundings and move to a strange country, trusting God’s promise. In Canaan God made a covenant with him: Abraham’s descendants would inherit the country. That would happen 400 years later, because God was giving the Amorites the opportunity to mend their ways. It is written, ‘the sin of the Amorites [Canaanites] has not yet reached its full measure.’ 1
God wants all people to come to repentance, meaning they will acknowledge Him as the only true God, and live by His statutes. It has to do with eternal life. People must have a period of grace to decide whether they want to change or not. 3 If they don’t, the time comes for God’s wrath and judgement. This happened to the Canaanites.
- The Canaanites worshipped idols, sacrificed their children and were very immoral. They refused to make use of God’s period of grace. So the time came for judgement (
Kill them all, part 3).
- The pattern with the Canaanites is the same for the Noah generation. They were wicked, and refused to change their ways. The result was judgment through the flood.
- Both the Noah generation and the Canaanites did what is explained in Romans 1:18-20. 2 To know if it is true that people suppress knowledge about God, look at the attitude and actions of atheists. They are sure God doesn’t exist. Yet, when someone says something about God, they go into a rage and resist them with all their strength. Why? Romans 1:18-20 explains it: they know the truth but refuse to acknowledge it.
God is accused that He is a tyrant for commanding the Israelites to kill the Canaanites. Yet, God, fathers and governments act in a similar way.
- Fathers normally protect their children from deleterious influences, like drugs and bad friends. They warn them to get rid of the friends who will ruin their lives.
- Leaders of nations refuse immigrants with criminal records who will endanger their citizens.
- God does the same. The Canaanites were a bad influence, 3 and He wanted them removed (as we know, the Israelites disobeyed and paid a very heavy price for it – they were exiled from their Promised Land).
God is both Father and Ruler. He ‘created’ a people of His own, the Israelites. They are His children and His nation. So why is God derided when He protected His family? God knew His people would get into serious trouble if they followed the ways of the Canaanites and worshipped their idols. So God commanded the Israelites to get rid of the evil influences that would lead them astray.
God’s dealing with people all through Scripture is always the same: first mercy and patience; then judgement. That is a lesson just as applicable today as then.
- Genesis 15:13-16
- ’The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without any excuse.’
- Deuteronomy 7:1-6