Scripture and Violence

How do you respond to passages in the Old Testament where God commands the Israelites to “totally destroy” the nations that were occupying the promised land prior to their engaging in battle? Is this type of judgment ever justified? See Deut 9:4&5; Lev. 18:24-28
According to Exodus 34:6, the Lord is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love” and the prophet Ezekiel tells us that God takes no delight in the death of the wicked but that the wicked would turn from his evil ways and live (33:16). How do we bring together these aspects of God’s character with what we see happening in the conquest of the promised land?
It is easy for us to mistake God’s gracious patience with our sin for his indifference towards it. Are there any areas in your life where you may be pushing the limits of God’s patience? It is dangerous to think that God being slow to anger means that He has no anger.
Is it possible to reconcile the character of God we see displayed in the Old Testament with the character of Jesus Christ? Is Jesus the mellow, “live and let live” character he is often portrayed as in our culture? What things aroused Jesus’ anger and judgment?