I will admit I frequently try to protect God’s reputation without throwing out the Bible. The Bible seems full of wisdom, but one can understand why some may not want to have a relationship with God according to some of God’s actions in Old Testament times. I think terrorist activities today give us some perspective. Maybe nations that surrounded Israel had a lot in common with terrorists today.
God is often accused of genocidal behaviors in the Old Testament. Terrorists today do not conceal their desire or intention to make extinct any people that do not change their beliefs. There is biblical evidence that God was an advocate of freedom and never commanded the nation of Israel to destroy others for not converting to belief in and practices of their God. Many biblical texts suggest God was very willing to live in peace with surrounding nations if only they were willing. When war was necessary there is no evidence God approve of beheadings or burning people after captured.
The Bible is clear God didn’t choose Israel to oppose other nations. God choose Israel and sought to preserve them as a nation so to bless all nations. God desired Israel to be an example for other nations how to best survive and thrive. Can you imagine nations who actually lived by the Ten Commandments! God can only preserve Israel without harm to others if others are willing to live in peace rather than always planning to attack.
What was the big deal about God and idols? God often insisted the Israelites remain separate from others nations that worshipped human-made idols. Other nations developed sacrificial ways to please their gods that often included killing their own sons and daughters. We get mad if God doesn’t interfere with our suffering but don’t respect a God who interferes with our freedom. God knew Israel would be influenced by evil practices and the only way to protect Israel from themselves at times was to insist on not mixing with other nations. Maybe there must always be a first time for God to intervene in this way to set the example for future nations.
There are plausible explanations without throwing the Bible under the bus about certain actions of God. War may sometimes be necessary for self-protection. Terrorists threaten their own with beheadings, rape, and other atrocities. Is it always wrong for a nation to wage war against evil leadership of other nations for the sake of those under the dictatorship? We have seen the dangers of radicalization of those vulnerable in our own lands. There may be wisdom in being separate from those who believe their religion has the right to violate the rights of others based on personal beliefs.