Let's be prepared (1 Peter 3:15) to answer a most difficult question:
Why did God destroy complete nations in the Old Testament -- even innocent children?
Before I answer, let me warn you that no answer will completely satisfy this question because we can't understand all of God's ways (see Isaiah 55:9; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Corinthians 13:12).
But keep these truths in mind:
1. God knows the intentions of every heart (Revelation 2:23).
And He's eager to spare the genuine seeker and the godly (e.g. Lot, Rahab).
2. No one is "innocent" (Romans 3:23), but most Christians believe there's an age of accountability and young children go to heaven.
3. God always, always, always gives men time to repent (Genesis 15:16; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 2:21). We must put these Old Testament stories in that context.
5. Justice is an essential element of genuine love (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
6. God grieves when men fail to repent (Genesis 6:1-6).
7. Our faith allows us to trust God's goodness and love even when we can't understand the circumstances (Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 1:5).
To see all 14 questions in this series, check out the Be Prepared Archive.