‘When the LORD your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the LORD will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly. But thus you shall deal with them: you shall destroy their altars, and break down their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images, and burn their carved images with fire. “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.
People will stumble over this passage where God commands the destruction (Cherem) of the inhabitants of the land of Canaan and if they don’t stumble over the passage they try to use it as a club to beat Christianity over the head, as if there is something unseemly in God’s command to utterly eliminate all the inhabitants of Canaan – man, woman, and child.
Keep in mind that this eventual cleansing of the land was long anticipated. Early on in Genesis Abraham is told, in reference to the land that his people will one day inherit, that the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Finally, hundreds of years later, the iniquity of the Amorites was complete and God ordered His troops to destroy the Canaanites.
What was that iniquity of the Canaanites which was a cup that finally overflowed that had to be ended? We get the answer to that in Leviticus 18 and 20. There we learn the perversity and twistedness of the Canaanites that found them being vomited out of the land by their complete destruction.
Leviticus 18 & 20 teaches us that the Canaanites were
Perverted in their sexuality as they
– Uncovered the nakedness of mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle etc. (the most perverse forms of incest).
– Bedded a male as with a woman (Man lies with man).
– Bedded animals.
– Committed adultery with neighbor’s wife
– Bedded fathers wife.
– Bedded daughter in law.
– Married both a Mother and her daughter.
– Bedded one’s own sister.
– Bedded a woman on her period
– Bedded Sister-in-law
Perverted in their humanity as they
– Offered their own chidren to the false God Molech (i.e.They bbq’d their children on the altar of Molech – the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul)
– They cursed their Mothers and Fathers
Perverted in their Religion
– Turned to mediums and familiar spirits.
The summation then is;
“The land(of Canaan/Amorite) is defiled… all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land (Canaan/Amorite) is defiled””You shall not walk in the statues of the nation (Canaan/Amorite) which I am casting out from before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them.”
These were twisted people and after generations of culture and breeding they had this behavior in their genes as well as reinforced by their culture. For that reason God deems them worthy to be destroyed. These people, if allowed to live in the land, would be a contagion which would infect Israel. (A thing that happened eventually anyway since Israel did not completely wipe out all the Canaanites.)
People need to keep in mind that Canaan was to be like the garden of Eden. Israel, as a subsequent Adam was being placed back in the garden and there in Canaan the Lord would reign over Israel, with the promise that God’s blessing would radiate out from Canaan to the whole world. As such the Canaanites were to Canaan what the Serpent was to the garden. Since Canaan was to be Eden rediscovered the vile serpent seed Canaanites were to be treated just as Adam should have treated the first serpent. So you see here one reason why the cleansing of the Canaanites — every man, woman, and child – was a righteous duty that glorified God and so perfectly reasonable.
People have trouble realizing how wicked and animalistic the Canaanites were. One analogy I am aware of is what Hernan Cortez discovered upon being introduced to the Aztecs. Cortez found in the Aztecs a people who were both at the same time cultured (canals, gardens, and Temples) and demonic. The Aztecs ruled over 500 smaller peoples. From these smaller people groups the Aztecs drew, as tributary, a stream of blood as rendered up by a conveyor belt of men and boys whose hearts were cut out of their bodies while they were still alive in order to satisfy the blood lust of their gods. One especially egregious example of the appetite of the Aztec gods was the re-dedication of the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan in 1487. In this ceremony 84,400 prisoners for sacrifice were offered up over four days.
Further, the Aztecs were a cannibal people. They dined on the arms and legs of the multitude of sacrifices offered up every year. Word is that they especially enjoyed leg of human as garnished with tomatoes and chili peppers.
Do you suppose any of the people groups who were subject to Aztec control shed any tears when their Empire was destroyed by Hernan Cortes and the Spaniards? Instead those captive peoples likely partied that such a dreadful enemy had been destroyed.
In the same way instead of condemning God or being puzzled by a God who would order complete destruction upon such a wicked people as the Canaanites we should rejoice that such a people were eliminated. No longer would they be killing their seed. No longer would their perversity cover the land. No longer would their sexual perversity continue from generation to generation. No longer would they consult mediums and worship darkness. The destruction of these people is good news, and hardly the stuff that should cause us to question God’s goodness. Indeed, in point of fact it was the goodness of God that ordered the extermination of the Canaanites. We should lead with this history in our evangelism. God is so good that he exterminated the Canaanites, that He destroyed the Aztec Empire. See how good God is.
There are a couple other observations to put forward
so as to clear God’s name in His excellent decision to wipe out the
First, we would ask why anybody thinks that they have a claim on God’s mercy. The surprise in the Canaanite Cherem is not that the Canaanites were exterminated. No, the surprise is that every man, woman, and child inhabiting the globe wasn’t exterminated. Man is a rebel who is owed nothing by His creator. Indeed the only thing rebel man is owed by God is complete and utter destruction. The Canaanites received what we all deserve and the fact that we don’t get what we deserve should deliver us from indicting God for doing with His own whatever He determines. Instead we should say, when looking at the Cherem (Destruction) of the Canaanites, “There but for the grace of God go I.”
Secondly, and similarly, it is a curious phenomenon
that fallen man thinks he has the place to put God in the dock,
charging Him with the crime of genocide by our twisted standard of
justice. The fact that anyone could charge God with wrongdoing for
ordering the wholesale slaughter of the Canaanites reveals that they
themselves have a heart of a Canaanite. God doesn’t answer to us. God
doesn’t need to provide a defense of His actions to us. If the
Canaanites were only guilty because God said they were guilty that
would be reason enough for them to be wiped out. The Canaanites, like
us today, remain the clay to God as the Potter. The Potter has no
need to explain Himself to the clay. However, God did explain Himself
for His orders to destroy Canaan, and the explanation was that they
were serpent seed and as serpent seed who were wicked beyond naming,
they had to go.
All of this should serve as a warning to us. The West has taken up some of the habits of the Canaanites and the Aztecs after them. We are offering up our children to Molech by way of abortion. We are institutionalizing sexual perversity in the same kind of directions as the Canaanites before us. Indeed, we are even moving beyond incest, bestiality, and sodomy to sex with sexatronic life sized dolls. We now sanction and celebrate the “marriage” of Butt-buddies. The consulting of mediums is on the rise and we are building statues to Satan and placing them in the public square and calling it enlightened. Whereas the Aztecs sacrificed by their 10,000’s we sacrifice our children by way of millions.
I pray daily that the West would repent before their own cup of iniquity has filled and we receive the just punishment of Canaan – every man, woman, and child.
This is our season to turn turn turn. Now is the appointed time. God commands all men everywhere to repent. Instead of going further out, and deeper in to our own personal sin as well as our institutional and cultural sins will we not cast our all upon the only one by whom we can have peace with God. Instead of continuing to carry this sin and guilt will we not discover the grace that is found in God’s provision of one who would, as our substitution …as the one who stood in our place and so close with Christ? Will we not own as our own the truth that Christ took upon Himself the wrath of the Father that belongs to us? Will we not find in Jesus Christ’s death our life? Will we not be amazed that despite our Canaanite and Gomorrah-ish personal behavior and cultural-Institutional behavior that we can still be reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
You want to see the love, mercy, and kindness of God? It is found in the reality that even now He has not yet brought the judgment of the Canaanites upon us and our people. God is longsuffering not willing that any of His people should perish. He is commanding now for you to bow and offer up allegiance and He will extend clemency to you on the basis of the finished work of Jesus Christ. His word now to you latter day Canaanites is to kiss the Son, lest His anger flash and you perish in the way as those Canaanites did long ago.
O Canaanite, if you ignore this Word you will die.