The Apple Of God's Eye

January 11, 2010

Why Did God Kill In The Old Testament?

God Allowed Sinful Nations To Be Destroyed In Old Testament Times!It’s probably happened to you.  You were debating God, and someone pulled out the question, “If God is a God of love, how come he killed off so many tribes of non-Israelites in the Old Testament?”  Could you answer this question?

Many have unjustly accused God of being a murderer in the Old Testament because He either killed people or He allowed Israel to kill. However, this is a basic misunderstanding of the character of God, who does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. So why was this practice allowed then, and not now, in the New Testament? Let’s explain!

In I Samuel 15:3, God commanded Saul to “go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” Why did God have to deal so harshly with these people, even down to little children and animals? Was this unjust, cruel, barbaric?

God said: “All who behave unrighteously are an abomination to the Lord your God. Remember what Amalek did to you [Israel] on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God” (Deuteronomy 25:16-18).

Notice how harsh and unfair the Amalekites were. They waited until their enemy was extremely weak, and even then, they attacked from behind, killing the laggers one by one.

But why did God slay all of the Amalekites? Surely some must have been righteous. If so, why didn’t God spare them?

Let’s take another example, that of Sodom and Gomorrah. In Genesis 18:23-32, Abraham asked God if He would spare those sinful cities if as few as 10 righteous people could be found in them. God said yes.

The same principle applies to the Amalekites. God may have spared the Amalekites if there had been even 10 among them who were righteous. But there wasn’t one innocent person among them! So as their Maker, He killed them. And at this point is where the accusations of those who do not understand God begin. His accusers simply fail to realize that even in this act, God was being merciful Understand God’s plan. Are these people lost forever? No!

They will be resurrected to mortal flesh and given a chance to live under God’s government (Revelation 20:12). If they then repent and obey God, they will be given eternal life as members of His Family. God put these people out of their misery, realizing that He would later resurrect them and give them their first real chance for salvation.

How merciful is God (Psalm 103:1-18)!

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