But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides; they shall trouble you in the land where you are settling. And I will do to you as I thought to do to them. Numbers 33:55-56 NRSV
These sections of Numbers in which God gives instructions of the complete destruction of the people of the land have always troubled me. I am constantly reminded of the occupation of modern day Israel into areas such as the West Bank - words such as settlement and occupation are words to my ears of injustice and unrighteousness. How can God want others thrown out of their houses that they built, farmland and orchards of years of harvest destroyed or taken over, buildings torn down and lives completely uprooted?
Many Christians say that this is simply Biblical. However, I think to be truly Biblical, the Jewish people would be less secular in their belief systems and all the people and animals in the towns they occupy should all be massacred. THAT is Biblical. I find this section of the Bible to be used as an excuse to take what is wanted - not as a response to God's commands but for a people's own desires.
But before I throw that first stone, I must take a good, long look at my own life and my own actions.
How often do I use the Bible as an excuse to do what I want to do? How often am I capable of using Jesus' own words to get what I want, not what God wants? How often do I reflect my own desires rather than God's commandments?
God, save us from judging others when we have used your very words for our own ends. Help us fight injustice where we are with your guidance and direction. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims