A friend from church pointed me to this presentation on the problem of violence in the Old Testament. It isn’t something that deals with any specific passage for this week, rather I bring it up as a response to difficulties that arise from many passages we’ve now covered in past months of Year in the Bible. Follow this link to Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and click to listen to the talk by John Dickson. It is about 25 minutes, so maybe save it to listen to later today.
Some of his point is that we should not approach the Old Testament thinking throughout that Israel is some sort of paragon of morality and holiness. Just because Israel performs an action or one Israelite performs an action, and such actions are recorded, does not mean that those things are right and good for us to emulate. Much of what is recorded is the sinfulness of God’s people, further showing to us the continued dependence we all should have on God’s grace. Not now and not ever have we been able to rely on our own righteousness. But Dickson does concede that he is troubled by some passages, and we should not avoid such feelings.
But don’t just read to my summary, go listen. He’s got an Australian accent, if that further encourages you to give it a shot.