Summary: This sermon addresses the question that if God is a God of love and mercy, why does the Bible seem to suggest that God is more like a bully that He is friend.
• Last week we talked about whether it is possible for God to change His mind. And we learned that God’s heart is set to move to
one of two positions depending on man’s reaction….judgment for wickedness; mercy and forgiveness for humbleness/repentance.
• In today’s passage, Joshua 11, we read a historical account of warfare between Israel and the nations of Canaan. And one by
one the enemies of Israel are being slaughtered and destroyed. War is an ugly event, and it is God who is leading the way.
• Our difficult verse is found in verse 20 – “For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that He
might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as the LORD had commanded
Moses.” Where is the God of mercy, love and forgiveness?
• Ill: No one likes a bully; everyone sides with the underdog victim. This is the reason for the great disagreement in the Travon
Martin/George Zimmerman trial.
Is God a Bully?
I. God is Absolutely Perfect – He Cannot Sin!
• A sinful God is a god like man!
i. Deut. 32:4 – “The LORD…The Rock! His work is perfect
ii. Matt. 5:48 – “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
• A bully God would be a sinful god. “bully” – someone who is habitually cruel and mean to weaker, smaller people. A bully
implies a nature of meanness; only looking out for self at the expense of hurting the weaker person.
II. Sin is Absolutely Bad – It Deserves God’s Judgment!
• The Bible always views sin as evil and worthy of death. Gen. 2:17 – “…for in the day that you eat (disobey/sin) from it (tree of
the knowledge of good and evil) you will surely die.”
i. Adam and Eve sin = an animal is killed (Gen. 3:21)
ii. Flood = all of humanity die except 8 (Gen. 6-7)
iii. Israel’s rebellion = death from the golden calf, plagues, captivity
iv. Canaan’s conquest = God used Israel as an instrument of war/cleaning as the best platform most conducive for
righteous living on the part of His people.
v. Cross = Jesus’ dies the death of a criminal for sin’s debt Rom. 6:10
vi. Hell & Lake of fire = final separation for all those who reject Jesus. Rev. 20
• There is no references in Scripture were sin is viewed in a positive light. Sin is a universal problem that ends in sorrow and
death. God is always judging sin!
III. A Revealed God Demand’s a Verdict.
• Rejection: Pharaoh Exodus 5-14
- Ex. 3:19-20 – God is omnipotent (knows all, even future), He prepares Moses to understand that when Pharaoh is
introduced to Himself (Jehovah), his reaction will be to reject or harden his heart.
- Ex. 7:3 – God tells Moses that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart implies not that God is doing something to Pharaoh that
Pharaoh has no control over, but rather the more powerful the miracle, the more stubborn Pharaoh will become toward
the things of God. (same can be said with Jesus’ miracles & Pharisees)
- Ex. 14:4-ff – God knows that pride is a great spiritual cancer, and in order to received the greatest of all glory and praise,
Pharaoh must follow his heart to the very cliff of death = total rejection of Jehovah! He will not settle for second place.
He will proof to the world that he can destroy God’s people.
- 1 Samuel 6:6 – “Do not harden your hearts as Pharaoh did…” meaning human are responsible creatures to choose
when confronted with God.
- Just like Pharaoh, the Cannanites when they are presented with God leading His people across the desert, they did not
repent or humble themselves (like Rahab and Gibeonites, but chose to stand against God, harden their heart, and live in
darkness. Ill: Neh. 9:16-17 – “Israel and their stubborn necks…”
- “Harden” means to be strong, stubborn, arrogant, even made heavy. Really speaks of pride. When God presents
Himself to people they will either response with hardening or softening; and ultimately God is responsible because
He chooses to make Himself known to humans. Heb. 3:13 –“ Let us not harden our heats by the deceitfulness of
- Positive examples: Noah/Abraham/Rahab (Joshua 2:9)/Job/Ruth/Paul
IV. God Always Keeps His Word.
• Those who reject will be judged for sin! Deut. 7:16 – God prepared Israel for the battle of annialation, because of their sinful,
rejection of God’s laws.
i. Hardening is produced when grace that is freely offered is constantly rejected and removed = leads to God’s judgment.
ii. God did not create one person to go to hell. Man goes to hell because they love sin more than a Savior. We all deserve