Charge #2: God condone slavery in Israel.
The thought of slavery is a sensitive issue, back when it was prevalent in America, it was a brutal ugly business. The worst aspect was how a person became a slave, which wasn’t by choice. People were kidnapped from Africa, taken to America and forced into slavery. This was a disgusting practice, and it took a civil war to break from it. Numerous American lives were lost in the war to end slavery.
There are more civilized forms of slavery though, whereas a person becomes a slave by choice. God allowed the Israelites to have slaves from within Israel, but they were required to treat them with dignity and respect. In ancient Israelite communities, if someone became dirt poor, he could sell himself as a slave, then retain the right to buy back his freedom, or would be released on the Jubilee.
They were also allowed to purchase slaves from surrounding countries, but even then, they were not allowed to treat them too harshly. A foreigner who had become a slave could be bought back by a relative, or if he acquired enough money himself, he could buy back his own freedom.
God had strict rules against kidnapping, the Israelites were prohibited from kidnapping people and forcing them into slavery, if they were caught doing that they would receive the death penalty. Therefore, anyone who became a slave did so by choice, and always reserved the right of purchasing back their freedom.
Charge #3: Genocide of the Amalekites
The Amalekites ambushed the Israelites while still waundering in the wilderness. The battle lasted a long time, and even though the Israelites ended up with the advantage, many lives were lost. God instructed Moses to record what happened, so later on the Amalekites could be repaid for their actions.
Perhaps the Amalekites feared the Israelites, so they had in mind to kill them before they would have a chance to settle down somewhere. It is written that when people have fears controlling their lives, those fears will come true. likely in spite of whatever steps are taken to prevent, because they are alive in the heart. Later on, their fears came true, as the Israelites returned to wipe them out, which was because of what they did before, which was because of fears.
Many years later after Saul became king over Israel, God commanded him to pay back the Amalekites by wiping them out. When a nation goes against God, there are repercussions. Even if a nation continues with evil thoughts and actions, without taking specific action against God or his people, this is still working against him, he is sovereign over all of creation.
Before the great flood, God saw that everyone was filled with evil thoughts, except Noah, he was the only righteous man at that time. God also included Noah’s wife, his three sons and their wives on the ark. It took Noah and sons a long time to build the ark, but when completed, people living on earth still did not repent. They didn’t believe earth was going to be flooded, rather probably thought Noah was crazy for building an ark far from the ocean.
There was a similar situation in Sodom and Gomorra, God saw that the cities were filled with evil, so he destroyed them. The only ones saved were Lot and his family, God waited for them to get out of town, and said for them to not look back. But, Lot’s wife did look back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Nineveh was an example where people repented and averted destruction. God had planned to destroy them, but the king of the land led the people into repentance, heeding Jonah’s warning, and because of that, God didn’t destroy them.
Our time on earth is relatively short, but important for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most prevalent is beliefs and choices, which tend to mold the heart, defining who we are or become. Consequences and rewards of choices are not only while still walking earth, but mainly for eternity, some choices have long lasting consequences. We shouldn’t make choices rashly, but use wisdom while considering different aspects of the matter.
God created us, we are in his domain and his responsibility, he is holy. When individuals or societies choose evil lifestyles, there is always consequences. Even the Israelites turned from God and indulged in evil practices, and after doing this for very long time, God judged their nation and had Babylon invade. Most were killed, but many were taken captive.
So, even though God chose the Israelites to be his people, they also faced consequences of evil choices. Since we are currently living under the New Covenant, which is a time of God’s grace, we can enter God’s favor because of the Good News. Believing Jesus stepped out of glory to become a man, sacrificing his holy blood for our redemption, allows us to invite him to our lives and Savior and Lord, which opens the door to the Kingdom of God if we have a repentant heart.
After Jesus’s mission to earth was completed, God restored him to glory, and is now our forever King of kings and Lord of lords. As we draw close to Jesus, walking in fellowship, this pleases our Father very much. We can be friends with God, because of what Jesus did for us.
Access To God’s Love 1 - Favor is Conditional
Access To God’s Love 2 - Accused of Murder