17 February – Additional Notes


Unlike the old days when nurses experienced everything in their training then specialized later, our daughter had to choose between paediatric nursing, adult nursing, mental health, midwifery etc., before applying for the degree course. What a wide choice when you’ve not experienced any! As it turned out, it wasn’t long before we could see that she would be just fine. Her harrowing stories of vomit, dysentery, blood, and maggot-covered ulcers, were enough to put me off eating for weeks! But she takes it all in her stride. I wonder if this is how doctors, psychologists, social workers etc. remain sane. They have to remain calculated over the facts and choices, then act decisively with their clients.

The need to look at the facts, assess the current damage, ascertain an accurate prognosis of further damage if left or if stopped, has made me think about my last three Breadcrumbs. The stories during January that included the worldwide meltdown in a global flood, an entire population disbursed at the Tower of Babel, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; then during February, the downfall of Ancient Egypt and now these kingdoms of the Amorites, aren’t about a destructive God.

When Infection is Incurable

Today’s chapter isn’t barbaric genocide related to land and possession, power or wealth. Instead, I want to suggest to you that these stories are all surgical incisions that have been monitored through their deterioration, then carefully planned to remove tumours; and this after taking non-invasive measures for centuries in the hope that extreme intervention could be avoided! In this context, our Creator God gave a prophecy to Abraham six centuries earlier:

“In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” [Genesis 15:16]

I don’t understand how humans could have willfully descended into such corruption, like a parallel to incurable Ebola, which forced their Maker to intervene so shockingly. But if Moses was right, and the Creator God has shown us His greatness and His strong hand – such that no-one has been proven to do the deeds and mighty works that He has done [v24], and that He is willing to carry us as a Father carries a son[a], then there must be a missing piece to any equation when it doesn’t add up. Surely these chapters were enough to break His heart for another couple of millenniums – His apparent recovery period between intervening measures so far.

Today’s chapter is the third in a recap given by Moses to this newly formed Nation of Israel. Currently homeless, they just spent 38 years in the wilderness after escaping slavery in Egypt. All those who were 20 years old and over when they left Egypt, have now died in the desert, and it’s time now to enter into their “promised” land. But to move forward, you need to fully understand the present and the past. So Moses spent time telling the nation how their Creator God had cleared the way for them by not only killing Og (king of Bashan) and his sons, but also destroying every one of 60 cities and many villages. No-one, not even children, survived! [v1-6]

Now many readers at this point, will want to “get off the train”. They won’t understand how a text as clear as this, could be anything other than genocide; and, all such killing (especially of children) is barbaric! There is absolutely no excuse for it. Therefore, the God who told them to do it, must not be followed under any circumstances.

I can’t force you to continue on this journey with me. I can only hope that you do, because there really is a good reason for His calculated choices and decisive action – just as there is a very good reason for doctors who have no alternative but to cut off someone’s legs, in order to save their lives. For one thing, the Creator God from the beginning has had a Global Masterplan. This plan includes Abraham becoming the Father of Nations, and that all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[b] Because of his commitment to obedience, all families on earth will be blessed through his offspring.[c] His descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky; and by all this, all nations on earth will be blessed.[d]

That true, then anything that looks like a contradiction to this global masterplan has to be carefully weighed before the Creator Himself is thrown out. The fact that the text clearly states that God Himself gave these orders (and that it wasn’t a group of humans doing their own thing), makes it all the more reason to find out why He’d do such a thing – particularly after describing Himself as…

“The LORD, the LORD the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin…” [Exodus 34:6-7]

The apparent discrepancy is in the second half of what He just said: “…maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet He does not leave the guilty unpunished; He punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”[e] He can’t leave the guilty unpunished. This would not be loving (or just) for their victims!

Yet just as a doctor can’t spell out every disgusting detail of the destructive process in a disease limb, but restricts his explanations to how amputation was the only way forward, so this epic storyline is about Father God, His Plan, and His relationship with those He created to be like Him. It doesn’t fill in the gaps with the disgusting behaviour, or horrific evil, that everyone else is doing – nor the harrowing stories from their victims.[f]     FAITH then, is trusting Him for the bits we do know. So, for example, the Hebrew term for “destroy” refers to the “irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them”. That may not soften the blow when children have just been killed, but it shines light enough to take another step on this lifetime journey towards our Maker. For one thing, this isn’t about taking over a country out of greed. It isn’t hate-based genocide. This was about handing over a people group (at their Maker’s command) to meet their Maker.

So then, here is another golden thread woven into the fabric of our Maker’s ancient storyline: King Solomon of Israel once said that when we die “…the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it…” [Ecclesiastes 12:7] If so, then the story for this population hasn’t ended. It’s very likely that none of them “died” but instead passed away, returning to their Maker for final judgement. That true, we can’t delve in with limited judgements and reject the Creator God based on half the picture. As far back as Abraham, it was known that the Judge of all the World will deal justly.[g]

As it happened, just as their Maker had previously predicted, the sin of the Amorites had reached its full measure. It couldn’t be hidden that they knew about the global flood, and they saw what happened to their neighbours (Sodom, Gomorrah and the cities of the plain) just beyond the Jordan. And yet during the next centuries, they made no effort to change. Important to note is that this region was the central junction point in the Ancient world. It was a strip of land linking the two greatest civilizations, Ancient China with Ancient Egypt, via the Silk Road. If incurable corruption incubated here, at the heart of everything, it would spread swiftly to infect the world. While this may sound dramatic, it potentially risked history such that humanity’s decline would have been swifter, and it’s hinged on the reference to a concentration of ancient DNA in the Rephaim. [v11]

The Rephaim that I mentioned in yesterday’s Breadcrumb seem to have the DNA of the Nephilim before the flood.[h] Their parent mix is notably different, but exactly who they were is a matter of speculation. All male-dominated suggestions come from Western intellectualism stemming from the Romans and Greeks. With no female input nor the knowledge of DNA and chromosomes, all theories speak of fallen angels having children with female humans. This would account for their size and their aggression. But this theory fails when angels (fallen or not) are eternal not mortal, spiritual not physical; and such a parent mix, would land it in the realm of mythology. The resurgence of this DNA after the flood was not immortal. So, if they had asked me, I would have suggested a pre-flood ape (as scientists believe existed before the mass extinctions), which was so closely related to humans such that it was possible to birth offspring. This would account for their size, while a ‘wild’ undomesticated mix contributed to their inhuman behaviour. Given the corruption that sickened Father God in Genesis 6:1-6, and knowing that humans today have sex with animals, it wouldn’t surprise me what they got up to.

Whoever they were, I suggest that we stick with the footnotes of the Jerusalem Bible that the biblical author intended the Nephilim to be an “anecdote of a superhuman race”. Superhuman, in this context, refers to the extremity of their wickedness. Their presence seemed to cause a swift deterioration so that our Maker’s heart was deeply troubled, and He regretted having made human beings on the earth.[i] After the flood, the “infection” from their DNA, seemed to spring up again in this region – the land of the Rephaim [v13] – and was possibly handed down genetically through the family of Noah’s son Ham, the father of Canaan.

If these huge men became kings, as they did – Og’s double bed was 14 feet long [v11] – then of course they could rule aggressively as a law unto themselves. As kings, they could have many wives (spreading their DNA further) and their behaviour could corrupt their entire population. Whatever they did before the flood that was so incredibly bad, it’s happening again.

Like a strain of untreatable spiritual Ebola, the infectious corruption – that was evident in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah – gave way to untold horror stories from two neighbouring kingdoms. And, once again, divine intervention had become absolutely necessary. So, what’s happening in today’s chapter isn’t a new thing. Other nations were moved into the area in the past[j], probably because of Father God’s efforts to stem corruption. This section in this epic drama is, therefore, one of the Creator’s last moves in this region. With Og being the last of the Rephaim [v11], Israel is given his land. [v12-20] Four centuries earlier, Jacob (renamed Israel) predicted this for his twelve sons.[k]

To put into context this apparent diabolical behaviour from a seemingly barbaric god, today’s chapter closes with a change in subject via an interesting exchange…

The Creator had previously told Moses that He couldn’t enter this “promised” land, but Moses pleaded with Him to change His mind. [v23-25] And here I notice something more. Like any ancient king whose decrees are absolute and cannot be repealed or revoked[l], the Creator’s word is absolute. Hard as this is for Moses (or for us), I’d rather stand on a rock than shifting sand. Our Maker isn’t a puppet for us to toy with – disobeying one minute than asking for forgiveness the next. When He decrees something, He gives plenty of time before it comes to pass. Moses had known for 38 years that he couldn’t enter the promised land.[m]  Depending on the situation, this time is often about giving us a chance to change, but His word cannot be revoked. This was why an end was pronounced and judgement fell, on these two kings whose kingdoms seemed broken beyond repair.

From what I’ve come to hear and understand of my Maker is that, as Father God, He has an abundant store of grace and compassion. He is wanting to mend, redeem, and restore, but He helps us through His discipline. Like any Father, He responded to Moses: “That is enough. Do not speak to me anymore about this matter.” [v26] And yet, like any loving father, He then graciously gave Moses a substitute – to see with his own eyes every part of the land that he was not to enter. [v27] This is undoubtedly a supernatural empowering on the part of a compassionate God, because it isn’t possible to see every part of modern-day Palestine without being in an aeroplane. So, to end these three chapters with an almost random piece of information, puts everything confusing over the last three Breadcrumbs into context.

The one that Moses was following wasn’t some deranged killer bend on destroying whole populations. While His Word is as true as steel, His justice is mixed with mercy and He is willing to provide a substitute by His grace. This is a moment that has no intrinsic value beyond simple satisfaction for Moses at the end of a forty-year journey. In light of this, our Maker’s other behaviour has to be processed through that same character and nature of patience and grace. If He is Father to Moses (and clearly shows controlled fatherly discipline sandwiched in grace) then He is Father in the same way to us all – including behaving as both Father yet Supreme Lord, over nations in irreversible decline.

CLICK to return to today’s “Daily Breadcrumbs”

[a] Deuteronomy 1:31

[b] Genesis 17:4-5 & 18:18

[c] Genesis 22:18

[d] Genesis 26:4

[e] Exodus 34:7

[f] Genesis 18:20-21

[g] Genesis 18:25

[h] Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33

[i] Genesis 6:6

[j] Deuteronomy 2:10-12;v20-21;v23

[k] Genesis c49

[l] Esther 1:19 & 8:8

[m] Numbers 14:30

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