Inclusion of Everyone?
For the past several posts we have been discussing how God has always had a plan for inclusion, but did this really include everyone? In the last post, we had the story of Rahab and how she and her family were saved and incorporated into Israel. Yet, some of you may have asked why this wasn’t an inclusion of everyone rather than just Rahab. How is a policy of inclusion really inclusion if it doesn’t include everyone? Let’s try and explore that.
First of all, inclusion cannot be inclusion if the one being offered inclusion doesn’t want to be included. Sound like a cop out? Well, not really. To understand this, we need to go back several years—actually, several hundred years. The inhabitants of Jericho were a section of the Canaanite people who were descendants of the Amorites.
The Amorities. We have to go back at least five hundred years. This would be during the time of Abraham. Remember him? He is the one God promised all this land to in the first place (Gn 13:15-17). Yet, he told Abraham that he was going to have his descendants to be slaves in Egypt for about four hundred years (Gn 15:12). Why would he do that if Abraham was already in the land of Canaan? Kind of like going around your elbow to get to your thumb, huh? It would be if it wasn’t because of God’s plan for inclusion. Confused? Let’s look further.
God told Abraham he was going to do this because “the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Gn 15:16). I know that sounds a little cryptic, but what it means is that God was dealing with the Amorites somehow. We don’t have details, but it shows God was trying to get their attention to elicit a decision from them. You see, God loved them and wanted the best for them. Yet, let’s not confuse love with permissiveness. God has standards. He is longsuffering, but ultimately there are consequences. Also, let’s not confuse longsuffering with inattentiveness. God is not pushy. He allows circumstances to give people opportunities to make the right decision. Some make the wrong decision, and because they don’t get zapped right away, they think God doesn’t care or isn’t even there. That is, until the consequences fall, and then, unfortunately, it is too late. God is loving, but he is also a God of justice. Longsuffering is due to his love, but that only lasts for a time. Justice eventually comes.
So, we don’t know what or how God was dealing with the Amorites, but there are some clues. Granted, what I am about to say is hard to substantiate fully, but there is circumstantial evidence. Before the flood, there were giants called Nephilim who apparently came from angels intermarrying with human women (Gn 6:2). Their offspring became men of renown who were all but worshipped (Gn 6:4). This was part of the reason for the flood. Mankind’s genetics were getting infused with fallen angel DNA. This was one of Satan’s plans to destroy God’s plan. He failed. Yet, Satan is relentless. Somehow, Satan became influential with the Amorites. They were known to have abandoned themselves to his worship, such as child sacrifice and sexual religious rites. It is likely they allowed him to lead then into genetic manipulation to produce giants again so he could again obtain something similar to what he had accomplished prior to the flood.
The angels who Satan had used to create the Nephilim were punished by being abandoned to Tartarus, a special place built for these angels in Sheol (2Pt 2:4). I find it interesting that Satan kept himself just distanced enough to not get caught in the consequences. Here, he goes to the line without crossing it. The Amorites, although influenced, followed willingly. The Amorites likely were influenced to intermarry in a way that giants were again produced in the land. Why? To prevent the Israelites from gaining the land of Canaan God had promised to Abraham. How do we know this? Just look at a map where these giants were located. The sons of Anak were giants and the ones who intimidated the Israelites the first time they tried to enter (Nu 13:31-14:10). Ten of these twelve spies influenced all of Israel they could not take the land. These giants lived in the southern and southwest region of Canaan. Then there were giants in the southeastern region of Canaan (Sihon was the king of these Amorites; Nu 21:21-25), and giants in the land of Bashan (Og was their king; Nu 21:31-35), the northeast region of Canaan. Therefore, these giants were almost like sentries around the land.
So, it seems the Amorites refused God’s promptings. God was longsuffering for almost five centuries. Justice was now due. God was now going to fulfill his promise to Abraham through the Israelites and use them to deliver his justice to the Amorites and their descendants who followed their practices. Through Moses and Joshua, God had the Israelites break through the giant barricade and they were now in the land he had promised them. Although justice was delivered starting at Jericho, we also see God’s mercy for individuals who responded to God even if their nation did not. God was always about inclusion. The nation did not agree, but Rahab and her family did.
This helps us see that God has plans within plans to achieve his master plan. We don’t always know what he is doing or how he is doing it, but we can trust him that he wants the best for us and is always looking for ways to include others and offering opportunities for people to make the right decisions. Therefore, that makes it easier for us to respond to him with faith and trust. We don’t have to understand him to trust him, we just have to trust him and allow understanding to slowly reveal itself.