Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #118. I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to help you better understand the Word of God — both the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is the story of the Covenant which God made with His chosen people Israel. And the New Testament is the story of the Cross which signifies the fulfillment of the Old Covenant with Israel and the formation of a New Covenant with redeemed people from many nations.
We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is from Joshua 7:6-15 which reads: “And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord God, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan! O Lord, what shall I say, when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear of it, and shall environ us round, and cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do unto thy great name? And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face? Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the Lord God of Israel, There is an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you. In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, that the tribe which the Lord taketh shall come according to the families thereof; and the family which the Lord shall take shall come by households; and the household which the Lord shall take shall come man by man. And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.”
Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “It is evident, from those tokens of humiliation and sorrow, that a solemn fast was observed on this occasion. The language of Joshua’s prayer is thought by many to savor of human infirmity and to be wanting in that reverence and submission he owed to God. But, although apparently breathing a spirit of bold remonstrance and complaint, it was in reality the effusion of a deeply humbled and afflicted mind, expressing his belief that God could not, after having so miraculously brought His people over Jordan into the promised land, intend to destroy them, to expose them to the insults of their triumphant enemies, and bring reproach upon His own name for inconstancy or unkindness to His people, or inability to resist their enemies. Unable to understand the cause of the present calamity, he owned the hand of God. The answer of the divine oracle was to this effect: the crisis is owing not to unfaithfulness in Me, but sin in the people. The conditions of the covenant have been violated by the reservation of spoil from the doomed city; wickedness, emphatically called folly, has been committed in Israel, and dissimulation, with other aggravations of the crime, continues to be practised. The people are liable to destruction equally with the accursed nations of Canaan. Means must, without delay, be taken to discover and punish the perpetrator of this trespass that Israel may be released from the ban, and things be restored to their former state of prosperity.”
Today’s quote about the Bible is from Ulysses S. Grant. He said: “Hold fast to the Bible. To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future.”
Our topic for today is titled “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 10” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.
Perhaps the most famous figure in the book of Judges is Samson. His great strength is legendary, and everyone knows that it was connected with his hair. The fact that he was a tragic character whose fate was entwined with a woman adds to the mystique. However, there is a lot more to the story.
Like all the other episodes in this book, it begins with the observation that Israel did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord. This time the oppressors were the Philistines. It is interesting to note that the people suffered for forty years—yet they did not ask God for help. Rather, they feared irritating their oppressors. The story picks up with Manoah, a man from the tribe of Dan, whose wife was barren. We are told that the angel of the Lord appeared to her and told her that she was going to become pregnant. However, specific guidelines were given for her pregnancy and for the soon-to-be-born boy, for he would be a lifelong Nazirite. Manoah asked for verification, and the angel appeared to him and verified the message. In due time, Samson was born.
As a young man, Samson became intrigued by Philistine women. His first act was to insist that his parents arrange a marriage with a woman from Timnah. Reluctantly they did so, and as they made the trip to Timnah, they ran into a lion. When Samson faced this beast, he was specially empowered by the Spirit of the Lord, and he killed the lion with his bare hands. On a later trip, he noticed that the lion’s carcass had dried up and bees had taken up residence in it. He then took the honey from the dead body and ate it, violating part of his Nazirite restrictions.
As the marriage arrangement continued, they arrived at the weeklong celebration, normally a time when alcoholic beverages flowed freely. It seems as if Samson was also imbibing, given that he made a wager with thirty Philistines over a riddle. Obviously the riddle he proposed was not something that could be reasoned out. The Philistines came to that conclusion and threatened Samson’s bride and her family. She used every trick she could to get the answer from Samson, and finally succeeded. She told the Philistines, who promptly gave their answer to Samson. He was furious because he knew where they got the answer. He went down to Ashkelon, killed thirty other Philistines, and took their clothes to pay off his wager. Because Samson then abandoned his wife, she married another man.
Sometime later Samson cooled down and decided to go to his wife. When he found out that she was now someone else’s wife, he became angry again. This time he trapped three hundred foxes and tied their tails together in pairs. He attached flaming torches to them and released them into the grain fields. The result was tremendous destruction of the ripened grain as well as olive orchards and vineyards. The Philistines soon figured out who did it, and they burned Samson’s wife and father-in-law to death. Thus began open conflict between the Philistines and the Israelites.
Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next broadcast.
Let’s Pray —
Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that the most important thing you should know about the Bible is that it is the story of God working to save humanity from sin and the consequences of sin. He did this by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins and take the punishment that we deserve on Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today, here’s how.
All you have to do is believe “that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” and you will be saved. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.
Until next time, remember the word of God is the foundation to a successful life. God bless.