When we read a chapter like Joshua 6, some of us may relate with the people inside the city of Jericho, and we might feel angry, discriminated against, and unfairly treated by God. Why would God kill a group of people?
We can read Joshua 6 only by understanding God’s justice and God’s loving-kindness. We have to hold both together – one does not outweigh the other. It is because God is righteous – He does nothing wrong. Nothing. Everything God does is just and fair (Deuteronomy 32:4). And God is love (1 John 4:8). God’s love – hesed in Hebrew – is a love that will not let us go. God’s love is so great that His Son took the punishment for our wrongdoings (Isaiah 53:5).
While most Bible scholars focus on God’s justice, I cannot help but wonder about God’s mercy towards Jericho’s citizens. From far away, it seems like a futile activity to blow the horn and march around a city for six days. But each day, those who shut themselves inside the city had the opportunity to recognize that God’s judgment was about to come. They had the opportunity to turn to God and ask for God’s forgiveness, just like the people of Nineveh. Sadly, only one family turned to God and was saved.
When we live our life selfishly focused on ourselves and exploiting other people for our needs, we can be sure that our loving God will give us numerous opportunities to turn to Him and change our way. If we do not repent, we can be sure that He will hold us accountable for our thoughts and behavior.
Why did God judge the people of Jericho at this time and in this manner? We will not know the answer to that question until we meet God, after our life on earth. But while we are living on earth, we can be sure of this:
God’s deeds are perfect.
Everything God does is just and fair (Deuteronomy 32:4).
Nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries for tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38).
Hold both these truths together, always.