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Why Utter Destruction?

Apologia Marketing | October 22, 2019

“…and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.”  Deuteronomy 7:2

Every Canaanite was to be killed by this command. It seems so unlike the God we worship today. Why was God so adamant about completely destroying these people? This was an act of capital punishment and, in the case of the Canaanites, very justified. Recall the bigger picture of salvation history. During the time of the Canaanites, Israel was in a fight for its very survival (as it has been many times since). Since the Jews were the chosen ones to carry the lineage of Jesus Christ, it was imperative they survive!

God worked out salvation in the history of humanity by this nation—they were selected to bring the kingdom of God to earth. God did this by working His sovereignty amid free will. How this happens is yet another mystery our finite minds can’t fully comprehend. He is God and we are not. Try as we may, we won’t figure out everything. But there is much that can be known.

It’s been over three-thousand years since this war occurred between the Israelites and the Canaanites. We must understand what life was like back then, in the genesis of the civilized world. It certainly was not so civilized! What we know of the Canaanite people should leave us with little questioning as to God’s motives. One theologian describes the Canaanites as a “people who would make Hell’s Angels seem like Sunday school teachers.”[i] The gods these people worshipped were demons who inspired the Canaanites to sacrifice their own children on a burning platform, as they beat the drums to drown out the sound of their sizzling children. Is it any wonder why God demanded war against these demons?

Think Divinely: The Canaanites worshipped demons that wanted to destroy Israel

in a futile attempt to stop the Messiah.

[i] Albert H. Baylis, From Creation to the Cross (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 25.

Lisa Quintana is a Christian Apologist and blogs at She is a former broadcast reporter and left her career to stay home and raise her two children. She also homeschooled her son during his middle school years, while earning a Master’s degree in Apologetics at Biola University (Dec. 2017). She now teaches classes at her church in Madison, Wisconsin, and has been happily married for over 26 years.
Make sure to visit Think Divinely and read more on learning to love God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our MINDS: to Think Divinely!

If you enjoyed this devotional by Lisa Quintana, you might enjoy reading Prep Work.