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Why did God judge the Canaanites?

Wringing out belief from rebellious humanity

When I was in seminary, one of the professors gave an illustration about God’s judgements on the earth. He said that sometimes God was trying to wring every bit of belief from rebellious humanity.

God is patient.

God told Abraham that his descendants would be slaves in another land before they came into the land promised to him. The sins of the Canaanites were not full yet. God would wait for four hundred years before these people were judged. (Genesis 15:12-21)

Rahab and the Gibeonites

Even when he judged them, there were those who turned from their sin and false gods to the true God. Rahab told the spies that she knew that God had given the land to the Jews. She hid the spies, lied about it to the leaders of her city and relied on an agreement with them to save her life. She married a Jewish man and became an ancestor of Messiah. The Gibeonites deceived the Jews to avoid destruction because they knew that judgement was sure. The Jews later rescued them from other Canaanites who attacked them. (Joshua 2; 9; Matthew 1:5)

Before he judged the Canaanites, God judged Egypt,

Egypt was the the land where the Jews were slaves. He brought plagues against the land and its people and their gods to demonstrate his power as the Lord of Creation. Even among the proud Egyptians there was belief. Pharaoh’s advisors told him that the signs were from the God after they could no longer duplicate them. After some of the plagues, there were Egyptians who brought their slaves and animals under shelter from the plague of hail. The believed Moses’ warning. Some non-Jews also left Egypt with the Jews.(Exodus 8:16-19; 9:20; 12:38)

God is patient.

He is patient with the unbelief of those who reject him. There will be a day of final judgement but until then he is wringing out belief from humanity. In the New Jerusalem, there will be the thief on the cross, other death bed converts, those who came to Christ on death row after wasting their lives as well as those who had long lives of faith. (Luke 23:39-43; Revelation 21:1-8; 21:22-26; 22:1-15)

God is patient and God is just.

How has God been patient with you?

When has it been hard for you to reconcile God’s love and his judgement?

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