It has happened in the course of other discussions, the concern that God might endorse "genocide", as in the destruction of cities like Sodom and others, either through his awsome power directly, or through the use of the Hebrew armies. And then today, as I listened to Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, a caller asked about that very topic of Hank's guest, R. C. Sproul. During the discussions of which I took part, the problem that was raised was one of reconciling such an action with a God who then, in the form of Jesus Christ, preached peace, kindness to enemies, not returning evil with evil, etc., etc., etc. R. C.'s response included justice, which is a point I tried to make, as the people of the town were so worthy of destruction. He also spoke of the children of the town being sinful creatures, since we are all sinful creatures worthy of destruction. He also spoke of how there were definitely others worthy of destruction whom He chose to spare, that being the Hebrews themselves. This is to say that His sparing one group shows how merciful He can be, by contrasting how He deals in retribution for those who do not accept Him and prove it by their behavior.
Then, RC spoke of those who are happy to accept all the goodness and mercy and "nice" things that God so readily bestows upon us, the salvation He offers, but reject the other side of God's nature that is where justice lies. Yet He is indeed a jealous and wrathful God though many don't think that's very "God-like". In an interview on the Dennis Prager radio show, "Bishop" Spong said that very thing regarding the vengeful and destructive aspects of God's nature as demonstrated in those Old Testament stories. Prager replied, "No. You just think it isn't "Spong-like"." The meaning, of course, is that so many simply accept the "nice" God attributes so as to feel good about to whom they give their praise and glory. Regarding my rather fundamental views, I had a blogger say to me, "I want no part of YOUR God!" as if I made Him up out of my own desires. Well, if it were that simple, why would I make up such a "hard ass" to worship, and not the squeezably soft, snuggle-puppy god so much in vogue with the progressive liberal post-modern Christian?
As RC said in a sermon on his radio show this week as well, this is a God who created a being, Adam, gave him the world, literally, with only one restriction, don't eat the fruit of THIS tree, which he then proceeded to do. Since then, mankind has been in rebellion. It is in our sinful natures to be in rebellion. He has every right to take this creation of His and trash it for our impudence, has shown that He can do it anytime He likes, and instead, gave us the Perfect Sacrifice, His only begotten Son, sinless, to carry on HIS back the collective sins of mankind, and then sacrificed Himself for our sakes. If He didn't have it in Him to be so destructive, He would not be a truly just God, but by being so, it shows the true extent of His Love for us that when we deserve as much, He offers us Salvation. Amen.