God-Hardened Hearts

“For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that He might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:20).

One of the most bitter complaints of critics against the Bible is its portrayal of the severity of God, especially in His command to Moses to destroy all the Canaanites. “When the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee: thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them” (Deuteronomy 7:2). This seems more severe than ever when we read in our text that God Himself hardened the hearts of the Canaanites so that Joshua could destroy them.

But the notion that God is merely a kindly grandfather figure is a self-serving figment of man’s sinful imagination. The New Testament reminds us that “our God is a consuming fire,” and “the wages of sin is death” (Hebrews 12:29; Romans 6:23), and God doesn’t change. “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thessalonians 1:7,8).

As far as the Canaanites were concerned, God had given them 400 years to repent (Genesis 15:13–16), but each new generation had gone further away from God than the one before, and they were practicing (as archaeology has revealed) every form of debauchery known to man. It was an act of mercy by God toward all those who would come in contact with them in future generations to decree their destruction now. They had already irrevocably hardened their hearts toward God, so God now hardened their hearts against Israel. Thinking they could destroy God’s people, they only hastened their well-deserved end. HMM

The Latest
TESTIMONIALS
Our Culture’s Deepest Needs
Hi, I’m Christy Hardy, and I serve as an editor at ICR. Our country has so many needs and worthy causes. How do we decide which nonprofit organizations...

NEWS
Intact Starch Granules in "Ancient" Plant Fossil
by Jeffrey Tomkins and Timothy Clarey* Fossils keep revealing biomolecules that should be completely deteriorated and disintegrated if they are...

TESTIMONIALS
Refuting Ape-Men Myths
I’m Brian Thomas, Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research. My wife and I have five college-age kids. We look forward to the day...

NEWS
Horned Dinosaurs Created as One Kind
A recent paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B may have inadvertently confirmed what the Bible revealed to us all along: Kinds only...

NEWS
Homo naledi Bones Not Ritually Buried
Since Lee Berger and his team announced their discovery of Homo naledi,1 they have been claiming that the bones found in the Dinaledi Chamber, South...