Featured

The Covenant & the Cross

TCAC-logo

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.

Listen now on the following platforms:
iTunes | SoundCloud | Stitcher | iHeartRadio
Overcast | Google Play | Spotify | TuneIn

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 14 (Covenant and the Cross Episode #122)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #122. 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 8:3-10 which reads: “So Joshua arose, and all the people of war, to go up against Ai: and Joshua chose out thirty thousand mighty men of valour, and sent them away by night. And he commanded them, saying, Behold, ye shall lie in wait against the city, even behind the city: go not very far from the city, but be ye all ready: And I, and all the people that are with me, will approach unto the city: and it shall come to pass, when they come out against us, as at the first, that we will flee before them, (For they will come out after us) till we have drawn them from the city; for they will say, They flee before us, as at the first: therefore we will flee before them. Then ye shall rise up from the ambush, and seize upon the city: for the Lord your God will deliver it into your hand. And it shall be, when ye have taken the city, that ye shall set the city on fire: according to the commandment of the Lord shall ye do. See, I have commanded you. Joshua therefore sent them forth: and they went to lie in ambush, and abode between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of Ai: but Joshua lodged that night among the people. And Joshua rose up early in the morning, and numbered the people, and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “Joshua dispatched thirty thousand men under cover of night, to station themselves at the place appointed for the ambush. Out of this number a detachment of five thousand was sent forward to conceal themselves in the immediate precincts of the town, in order to seize the first opportunity of throwing themselves into it. Joshua numbered the people–that is, the detachment of liers-in-wait; he did this, to be furnished with clear evidence afterwards, that the work had been done without any loss of men, whereby the people’s confidence in God would be strengthened and encouragement given them to prosecute the war of invasion with vigor. He and the elders of Israel–the chief magistrates and rulers, whose presence and official authority were necessary to ensure that the cattle and spoil of the city might be equally divided between the combatants and the rest of the people. This was a military rule in Israel, that would have been very liable to be infringed, if an excited soldiery, eager for booty, had been left to their own will.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from John D. Rockefeller who said: “We can never learn too much of His will towards us, too much of His messages and His advice. The Bible is His word and its study gives at once the foundation for our faith and an inspiration to battle onward in the fight against the tempter.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 14” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Although the events recorded in the book of Ruth took place during the same period, this narrative is like a breath of fresh air after the book of Judges. It demonstrates how some of the socioeconomic measures given by God, such as gleaning and the kinsman-redeemer, were to function. It demonstrates how non-Israelites were to be accepted into the nation. It demonstrates the importance of faithfulness within the covenant. And it also tells of the not-so-blueblood ancestry of the nation’s greatest king.

The story begins with a picture similar to what we have seen in the book of Judges. There was famine in the land, likely as a result of God’s punishing the nation during one of the periods of its disobedience. As a result, a man from Bethlehem named Elimelech took his family to Moab. While there, he died. Subsequently, his two sons married Moabite women. Then they too died, leaving three widows.

The mother, Naomi, decided to go back to Bethlehem, because she had heard that there was food there. This move made sense, for Bethlehem was where her relatives were. Her two daughters-in-law started out with her, but she urged them to return to their homes. Orpah did so, but Ruth adamantly refused, making a beautiful speech showing that she had adopted Naomi’s God.

Once back in Bethlehem, Ruth went out to glean in the fields, taking advantage of the provision in the law for widows and orphans. She found herself in a field belonging to one of her father-in-law’s relatives, Boaz. The text shows that Boaz had a good relationship with his workers. He also quickly noted Ruth and asked about her. His manager had positive things to say, and Boaz invited her to join his workers for lunch and encouraged her to stay in his fields. He also directed his workers to make sure there would be plenty for Ruth to glean.

Ruth gleaned in Boaz’s fields throughout the different harvests, beginning with the barley harvest in May and continuing through the wheat harvest in late June. At the time of threshing, probably in July, Naomi instructed Ruth to dress in her best clothing and visit Boaz at the threshing floor when there would be celebration (and he would be somewhat inebriated). Ruth followed her directions and lay down at his feet after everyone was asleep. Boaz awoke and recognized that someone was at his feet. When he asked who was there, Ruth proclaimed that she was asking for her rights since he was their kinsman-redeemer. He responded that there was actually another relative who was closer and had the first rights but that he would ensure that the issue was resolved the next day. He gave her a large amount of grain to take to her mother-in-law and sent her home before daylight so that no one would start rumors.

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.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 13 (The Covenant and the Cross Episode #121)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #121. 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 8:1-2 which reads: “And the Lord said unto Joshua, Fear not, neither be thou dismayed: take all the people of war with thee, and arise, go up to Ai: see, I have given into thy hand the king of Ai, and his people, and his city, and his land: And thou shalt do to Ai and her king as thou didst unto Jericho and her king: only the spoil thereof, and the cattle thereof, shall ye take for a prey unto yourselves: lay thee an ambush for the city behind it.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “By the execution of justice on Achan, the divine wrath was averted, the Israelites were reassured, defeat was succeeded by victory; and thus the case of Ai affords a striking example of God’s disciplinary government, in which chastisements for sin are often made to pave the way for the bestowment of those temporal benefits, which, on account of sin, have been withdrawn, or withheld for a time. Joshua, who had been greatly dispirited, was encouraged by a special communication promising him success in the next attempt, which, however, was to be conducted on different principles. The number of fighting men amounted to six hundred thousand, and the whole force was ordered on this occasion, partly because the spies, in their self-confidence, had said that a few were sufficient to attack the place, partly to dispel any misgivings which the memory of the late disaster might have created, and partly that the circumstance of the first spoil obtained in Canaan being shared among all, might operate both as a reward for obedience in refraining from the booty of Jericho, and as an incentive to future exertions. The rest of the people, including the women and children, remained in the camp at Gilgal. Being in the plains of Jericho, it was an ascent to Ai, which was on a hill. God assured Joshua of Ai’s capture, but allowed him to follow his own tactics in obtaining the possession.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Patrick Henry who said: “The Bible is worth all the other books which have ever been printed.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 13” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The second episode involved a Levite who lived in Ephraim and who had a concubine from Bethlehem. She ran away, and he went after her. His father-in-law detained him, and after several false starts, the Levite and his concubine headed back late in the day. He refused to stop at the Canaanite city of Jerusalem and instead made it as far as the city of Gibeah in Benjamin. They were going to camp in the city square, but an old man invited them to his home instead. That night some wicked men assaulted the house demanding that the man be sent out to them. The text says literally, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can know him” or “so we can have sex with him”). Some have tried to argue that the men were violating rules of hospitality. The Hebrew verb for “know,” however, is often used to indicate sexual relations (e.g. “Adam knew his wife and she conceived”). In other words, what the men of Gibeah were after was homosexual rape. The Levite kicked his concubine outside, and she was then assaulted by the men all night. Finally, she crawled to the door, where she died. When the Levite came out the next morning, she did not respond, so he put her body on the donkey and returned home.

The Levite then cut the woman’s body into twelve pieces and sent them to all the areas of Israel, no doubt with an explanation of what had happened. In response, the people of Israel gathered together and demanded that the leaders of Benjamin give up the men of Gibeah for punishment. They refused, and the result was a civil war. The people inquired of God regarding how the war should be fought and were somewhat frustrated when they followed God’s directions and lost on the first two days. On the third day, they were able to win, however, and in the process, they almost wiped out the tribe of Benjamin. Only six hundred men survived. They realized that the tribe was in danger of extinction, but they were also in an awkward situation, for they had made a vow that they would not allow the men of Benjamin to take wives from any other tribe.

They found two loopholes. First, the men of Jabesh Gilead had not come up to the battle. So they went there, killed off all the men and married women, and brought four hundred virgin women to Benjamin. This was not enough, so they set up a ruse whereby the remaining men would be able to kidnap wives during an annual festival at Shiloh. The book culminates with the most tragic observation. “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

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.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 12 (Covenant and the Cross #120)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #120. 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 7:22-26 which reads: “So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it. And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the Lord. And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent from impatient eagerness not only to test the truth of the story, but to clear Israel from the imputation of guilt. Having discovered the stolen articles, they laid them out before the Lord, “as a token of their belonging to Him” on account of the ban. Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan with his children and all his property, cattle as well as movables, were brought into one of the long broad ravines that open into the Ghor, and after being stoned to death, his corpse, with all belonging to him, was consumed to ashes by fire. “All Israel” was present, not only as spectators, but active agents, as many as possible, in inflicting the punishment–thus testifying their abhorrence of the sacrilege, and their intense solicitude to regain the divine favor. As the divine law expressly forbade the children to be put to death for their father’s sins, the conveyance of Achan’s “sons and daughters” to the place of execution might be only as spectators, that they might take warning by the parental fate; or, if they shared his punishment, they had probably been accomplices in his crime, and, indeed, he could scarcely have dug a hole within his tent without his family being aware of it. They raised over him a great heap of stones, as is customary to raise cairns over the graves of criminals or infamous persons in the East still. The name of that place was called the valley of Achor, meaning “trouble”, unto this day. So painful an episode would give notoriety to the spot, and it is more than once noted by the sacred writers of a later age.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from John Locke who said: “The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author; salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 12” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The last five chapters of Judges give two accounts that illustrate how depraved the nation had become. Both incidents involve Levites, who were supposed to be the spiritual leaders of the nation. And both are characterized by the phrase, “Each man did what was right in his own eyes.”

The first account involves a man named Micah who lived in Ephraim. Micah had stolen a large amount of silver from his mother. When she pronounced a curse on the thief, he admitted his guilt and returned the money. She then gave it back to him to make an idol, which he did. After he had set up this idol in a shrine, an out-of-work Levite named Jonathan ben Gershom from Bethlehem came by. Micah hired him to be a priest to him and to tend his shrine.

Some time later, men from the tribe of Dan came through looking for new territory for their people because they were being pressured by the Philistines from the west. They found Micah’s shrine and asked if they would have success in their mission. Jonathan assured them that they would, and they went on their way. Later they found a Canaanite city named Laish far to the north. It was isolated enough that they felt confident in attacking it, and then they returned for their families and friends. As they migrated north, they stopped at Micah’s place again. This time they took the shrine (and idol). When Jonathan tried to stop them, they gave him a chance to go with them and serve the same idol for a larger audience. They also threatened him with death if he tried to stop them. Jonathan went with them, and they soon reached Laish. After conquering the city, they called it Dan.

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.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 10 (Covenant and the Cross #118)

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.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 10 (Covenant and the Cross #117)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #117. 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 7:1-5 which reads: “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for A-chan, the son of Car-mi, the son of Zab-di, the son of Ze-rah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel. And Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is beside Bethaven, on the east of Bethel, and spake unto them, saying, Go up and view the country. And the men went up and viewed Ai. And they returned to Joshua, and said unto him, Let not all the people go up; but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai; and make not all the people to labour thither; for they are but few. So there went up thither of the people about three thousand men: and they fled before the men of Ai. And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men: for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down: wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “There was one transgressor against the ban on Jericho, and his transgression brought the guilt and disgrace of sin upon the whole nation. His genealogy is given probably to show that from a parentage so infamous the descendants would not be carefully trained in the fear of God. After the sacking of Jericho, the next step was to penetrate into the hills above. Accordingly, spies went up the mountain pass to view the country. The precise site of Ai, or Hai, is indicated with sufficient clearness and has been recently discovered in an isolated tell, called by the natives Tell-el-Ha-jar, “the mount of stones,” at two miles’, or thirty-five minutes’ distance, east southeast from Beth-el. Beth-aven, or house of vanity, a name afterwards given derisively, on account of its idolatries, to Beth-el, “house of God,” but here referred to another place, about six miles east of Beth-el and three north of Ai. As the population of Ai amounted to twelve thousand, it was a considerable town; though in the hasty and distant spying, it probably appeared small in comparison to Jericho; and this may have been the reason for their proposing so small a detachment to capture it. An unexpected resistance and the loss of thirty-six of their number diffused a panic, which ended in an rout. They were chased unto the “breakings” or “fissures” at the opening of the passes. It is evident that the troops engaged were a tumultuary, undisciplined band, no better skilled in military affairs than the Be-dou-in Arabs, who become disheartened and flee on the loss of ten or fifteen men. But the consternation of the Israelites arose from another cause–the evident displeasure of God, who withheld that aid on which they had confidently reckoned.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Robert E. Lee. He said: “In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength.”

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.

After the civil war of A-bi-me-lech’s day, the text tells of six minor judges, leaders who generally receive just a note in passing. As was the case with Sham-gar, we have little information about To-la and Jair. We are told more regarding Jeph-thah.

The situation is familiar. The people did evil in the eyes of God, and God sent the Am-mo-nites to oppress them. The people cried out to the Lord, but He responded by stressing their continual rebellion and told them to cry out to the gods they had chosen. The point hit home, and the Israelites put away the foreign gods. They also met at Miz-pah to discuss the situation. They decided to ask for help from Jeph-thah. Because he was the son of a prostitute, Jeph-thah had been ostracized and had left home. He had also accumulated a large following of adventurers. It was this demonstrated leadership that attracted the Israelite leaders, and they agreed to make Jeph-thah their head so that he might deliver them.

Jeph-thah is most noted for the promise he made to God before he went to war: “If you give the Am-mo-nites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Am-mo-nites will be the LORD’S, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering”. He won the battle, but when he returned, the first thing that came out to meet him was his daughter, his only child. The usual translation of the vow implies that he then performed a human sacrifice. The word translated “and,” however, could also be rendered “or,” and in this case, it seems to indicate that Jephthah anticipates two possible outcomes.

This interpretation is supported, first, by the response of the daughter, who asks for time to lament that she will not be able to marry—not that she is going to die. Second, the text never uses the words “sacrifice” or “burnt offering” in this section, but rather that “he did to her as he had vowed”. Third, human sacrifice was an abomination among pious Israelites. While it was sometimes practiced in the land, it took place always in the context of service to false gods. In this light, I would suggest that Hannah’s dedication of Samuel to God is the model for what we see here.

The extended narrative on Jeph-thah is followed by a short section that lists three more judges. Ib-zan, E-lon, and Ab-don are cited as people who judged Israel for short periods of time. The significant point of these final three leaders is that each served in different regions. Moreover, we are not told that the whole nation of Israel enjoyed the periods of peace pointed out under the earlier judges. This overall pattern will come to a climax with the last major judge, Samson.

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.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 9 (Covenant and the Cross #116)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #116. 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 6:22-27 which reads: “But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. So the Lord was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “It is evident that the town walls were not demolished universally, at least all at once, for Rahab’s house was allowed to stand until her relatives were rescued according to promise. Rahab and her kindred underwent a temporary exclusion, in order that they might be cleansed from the defilement of their native idolatries and gradually trained for admission into the society of God’s people. They burned all that was within the city except the silver, gold, and other metals, which, as they would not burn, were added to the treasury of the sanctuary. Rahab dwelleth in Israel unto this day is a proof that this book was written not long after the events related. Joshua imposed upon his countrymen a solemn oath, binding on themselves as well as their posterity, that they would never rebuild that city. Its destruction was designed by God to be a permanent memorial of His abhorrence of idolatry and its attendant vices. Whoever makes the daring attempt to build Jericho shall become childless–the first beginning being marked by the death of his oldest son, and his only surviving child dying at the time of its completion. This curse was accomplished five hundred fifty years after its denunciation.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Helen Keller. She said: “Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 9” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

That night Gideon arranged his “army” around the Mi-di-a-nite camp just after they had changed the mid-watch. Each of his soldiers had a trumpet, a torch under a pitcher, and a sword. At Gideon’s command, they all broke their pitchers, whipped their torches into flame, sounded the trumpets, and shouted. This racket awoke the camp of the Mi-di-a-nites and their allies. In the darkness, these disparate armies began fighting each other—while Gideon and his army observed. Soon Gideon and his handful of troops were pursuing the remnant. They also sent messengers to nearby tribes and asked for help. Several tribes, including Ephraim, sent help. After they had finished mopping up, the Ephraimites complained that they had not been in on the original battle. But Gideon was able to mollify them by pointing out that they had captured two of the key Mi-di-a-nite leaders.

However, not everyone was willing to help. As Gideon and his troops crossed over into the region of Transjordan, he asked for provisions from the Israelite towns of Suc-coth and Pe-ni-el. He was refused this aid, and he promised retribution on his return. After routing the last of the Midianite army and capturing its leaders, he returned and exacted retribution as promised. At this point, the Israelites asked Gideon to be king, but he refused. He desired to focus the worship of Israel on God and decided to set up an ephod with contributions from each of the Israelite leaders. Even these good intentions went wrong, however, and the ephod became a religious snare for the Israelites.

Gideon then retired. He had many wives who produced seventy sons, as well as at least one concubine who had a son named A-bi-me-lech. After Gideon died, the people again went after false gods (this time the text says they “prostituted themselves”). Law and order also broke down, and A-bi-me-lech persuaded the people of She-chem to make him king. They gave him silver from their temple, which was dedicated to Ba-al-Be-rith, and with this money he hired a gang of ruffians. A-bi-me-lech then took this gang to his father’s house at O-phrah and executed all but one of his brothers. The youngest brother, Jot-ham, escaped, but before he fled, he gave a parable to the people of She-chem and pronounced a curse on them for their dishonorable deeds.

Three years later there was a falling out between the men of She-chem and A-bi-me-lech (their “king”). A-bi-me-lech led his forces against the town and destroyed it. He then advanced on the nearby town of The-bez, which had apparently joined She-chem in the revolt. As they assaulted the town, a woman dropped a millstone from the tower on his head, mortally wounding him. At this he requested that his armor-bearer finish him off so that it could not be said that a woman had killed him.

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.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 9 (Covenant and the Cross #116)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #116. 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 6:22-27 which reads: “But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot’s house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord. And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it. So the Lord was with Joshua; and his fame was noised throughout all the country.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “It is evident that the town walls were not demolished universally, at least all at once, for Rahab’s house was allowed to stand until her relatives were rescued according to promise. Rahab and her kindred underwent a temporary exclusion, in order that they might be cleansed from the defilement of their native idolatries and gradually trained for admission into the society of God’s people. They burned all that was within the city except the silver, gold, and other metals, which, as they would not burn, were added to the treasury of the sanctuary. Rahab dwelleth in Israel unto this day is a proof that this book was written not long after the events related. Joshua imposed upon his countrymen a solemn oath, binding on themselves as well as their posterity, that they would never rebuild that city. Its destruction was designed by God to be a permanent memorial of His abhorrence of idolatry and its attendant vices. Whoever makes the daring attempt to build Jericho shall become childless–the first beginning being marked by the death of his oldest son, and his only surviving child dying at the time of its completion. This curse was accomplished five hundred fifty years after its denunciation.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Helen Keller. She said: “Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 9” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

That night Gideon arranged his “army” around the Mi-di-a-nite camp just after they had changed the mid-watch. Each of his soldiers had a trumpet, a torch under a pitcher, and a sword. At Gideon’s command, they all broke their pitchers, whipped their torches into flame, sounded the trumpets, and shouted. This racket awoke the camp of the Mi-di-a-nites and their allies. In the darkness, these disparate armies began fighting each other—while Gideon and his army observed. Soon Gideon and his handful of troops were pursuing the remnant. They also sent messengers to nearby tribes and asked for help. Several tribes, including Ephraim, sent help. After they had finished mopping up, the Ephraimites complained that they had not been in on the original battle. But Gideon was able to mollify them by pointing out that they had captured two of the key Mi-di-a-nite leaders.

However, not everyone was willing to help. As Gideon and his troops crossed over into the region of Transjordan, he asked for provisions from the Israelite towns of Suc-coth and Pe-ni-el. He was refused this aid, and he promised retribution on his return. After routing the last of the Midianite army and capturing its leaders, he returned and exacted retribution as promised. At this point, the Israelites asked Gideon to be king, but he refused. He desired to focus the worship of Israel on God and decided to set up an ephod with contributions from each of the Israelite leaders. Even these good intentions went wrong, however, and the ephod became a religious snare for the Israelites.

Gideon then retired. He had many wives who produced seventy sons, as well as at least one concubine who had a son named A-bi-me-lech. After Gideon died, the people again went after false gods (this time the text says they “prostituted themselves”). Law and order also broke down, and A-bi-me-lech persuaded the people of She-chem to make him king. They gave him silver from their temple, which was dedicated to Ba-al-Be-rith, and with this money he hired a gang of ruffians. A-bi-me-lech then took this gang to his father’s house at O-phrah and executed all but one of his brothers. The youngest brother, Jot-ham, escaped, but before he fled, he gave a parable to the people of She-chem and pronounced a curse on them for their dishonorable deeds.

Three years later there was a falling out between the men of She-chem and A-bi-me-lech (their “king”). A-bi-me-lech led his forces against the town and destroyed it. He then advanced on the nearby town of The-bez, which had apparently joined She-chem in the revolt. As they assaulted the town, a woman dropped a millstone from the tower on his head, mortally wounding him. At this he requested that his armor-bearer finish him off so that it could not be said that a woman had killed him.

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.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 8 (The Covenant and the Cross #115)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #115. 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 6:18-21 which reads: “And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord. So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “Generally they were at liberty to take the spoil of other cities that were captured. But this, as the first fruits of Canaan, was made an exception; nothing was to be spared but Rahab and those in her house. A violation of these stringent orders would not only render the guilty persons obnoxious to the curse, but entail distress and adversity upon all Israel, by provoking the divine displeasure. These were the instructions given, or repeated, previous to the last act of the siege. So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets–Towards the close of the seventh circuit, the signal was given by Joshua, and on the Israelites’ raising their loud war cry, the walls fell down, doubtless burying multitudes of the inhabitants in the ruins, while the besiegers, rushing in, consigned everything animate and inanimate to indiscriminate destruction. Jewish writers mention it as an immemorial tradition that the city fell on the Sabbath. It should be remembered that the Canaanites were incorrigible idolaters, addicted to the most horrible vices, and that the righteous judgment of God might sweep them away by the sword, as well as by famine or pestilence. There was mercy mingled with judgment in employing the sword as the instrument of punishing the guilty Canaanites, for while it was directed against one place, time was afforded for others to repent.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Ronald Reagan. He said: “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 8” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The next day the people of the town found the altar broken. They concluded that Gideon had done it and demanded that Joash hand over his son. Joash argued that if Baal was truly a god, he could defend himself. Not only did he refuse to hand over his son—he also asserted that anyone who fought for Baal would be put to death.

With this, Gideon was almost ready to lead the troops into battle against the Mi-di-a-nites. After calling them together, he verified that he had understood God correctly. Two nights running he put a sheep fleece out on the ground (ironically, on the threshing floor he had avoided earlier while threshing wheat) and asked for God’s verification. The first night he asked God that the fleece be wet with dew while the ground was dry, and the second night he asked that those be reversed.8 Both requests were granted, and Gideon led his troops toward the Mi-di-a-nites.

Because Gideon was a man of great faith, God was going to ask more of him. After sounding the alarm by blowing the trumpet and sending messengers throughout the region, Gideon had gathered 32,000 troops—more than three times the number Deborah and Barak had used. Now God told him the number was too large. God wanted to be sure that the people would not think the upcoming victory was a result of their own strength. After all, the primary purpose was to remind the Israelites who their su-ze-rain was and to show them that they had erred. So God had Gideon announce that anyone who had any fears was free to return home with no questions asked. As a result, 22,000 troops left, so that Gideon had an army the same size as Barak’s.

But even this was too many. God told Gideon to survey the troops as they drank water from the local watering hole. Most of the troops knelt down and put their faces in the water. A small minority knelt down and used their hands to bring the water to their mouths. These were kept, and the rest were sent home. Now Gideon had but three hundred troops to face a large multitude of Midianites and their allies (apparently in the range of 135,000). Here he really had to trust God. To increase his confidence, God sent him into the enemy camp the next night to listen to the conversation. There he heard one of the Midianites relating a dream. His friends were interpreting it as showing that God was going to defeat them by the hand of Gideon.

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.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 7 (Covenant and the Cross #114)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #114. 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 6:16-19 which reads: “And it came to pass at the seventh time, when the priests blew with the trumpets, Joshua said unto the people, Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city. And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the Lord: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “This delay brought out their faith and obedience in so remarkable a manner, that it is celebrated by the apostle. And the city shall be cherem, or “anathema,” was a devotion to utter destruction. When such a ban was pronounced against a hostile city, the men and animals were killed–no booty was allowed to be taken. The idols and all the precious ornaments on them were to be burned. Everything was either to be destroyed or consecrated to the sanctuary. Joshua pronounced this ban on Jericho, a great and wealthy city, evidently by divine direction. The severity of the doom, accordant with the requirements of a law which was holy, just, and good, was justified, not only by the fact of its inhabitants being part of a race who had filled up their iniquities, but by their resisting the light of the recent astonishing miracle at the Jordan. Besides, as Jericho seems to have been defended by reinforcements from all the country, its destruction would paralyze all the rest of the devoted people, and thus tend to facilitate the conquest of the land; showing, as so astounding a military miracle did, that it was done, not by man, but by the power and through the anger, of God.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from D.L. Moody. He said: “The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 7” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The second major judge is to me the most intriguing. The scene has shifted to the middle of the land, in the region of Manasseh. This episode begins with those same words, “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD.” The oppression came from the east: the Midianites and their allies. When Israel asked God for help, He sent a prophet to tell them that the reason for the oppression was that they were worshiping the gods of the people in the land rather than maintaining spiritual integrity.

Then the angel of the Lord showed up at Gideon’s place, where he was threshing wheat in the winepress as he was hiding from the Midianites. While we are not sure what was going through his mind, we are given a hint in the conversation that is recorded. First, the messenger greeted him saying, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior” (remember, this is a man who was hiding). Gideon’s response was to ask why the Lord no longer performed special deeds as he had done for their ancestors. To this, the Lord told Gideon to go in “this your strength and deliver Israel” (my translation).

Two questions arise out of this exchange: What was Gideon’s strength? And how was Gideon a “mighty warrior”? His strength seemed to be the faith he had just expressed in his response to God, a faith that accepted the historical accounts of God’s works and expected them to be repeated. Thus, he was viewed as a “mighty warrior” because he was willing to obey God despite his natural fear. However, he always made sure that he understood the message correctly.

We see that concern as the account develops. To verify that the one who appeared to him was God, Gideon asked permission to offer a sacrifice. This request was granted, and when the sacrifice was brought, the “angel” touched it with his staff, and the entire sacrifice was consumed. That night, following God’s directions, Gideon took another bull from the herd of Joash, his father, and tore down his own father’s altar to Baal. He then built instead an altar to the Lord and offered his sacrifice on it (using the wood of the Ash-e-rah pole to burn the sacrifice).

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.

PODCAST: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 6 (Covenant and the Cross #113 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #113. 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 6:12-15 which reads: “And Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. And seven priests bearing seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually, and blew with the trumpets: and the armed men went before them; but the rereward came after the ark of the Lord, the priests going on, and blowing with the trumpets. And the second day they compassed the city once, and returned into the camp: so they did six days. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compassed the city after the same manner seven times: only on that day they compassed the city seven times.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “The second day’s procession seems to have taken place in the morning. In all other respects, down even to the smallest details, the arrangements of the first day continued to be the rule followed on the other six. On account of the seven circuits they had to make that day. It is evident, however, that the militia only of the Israelites had been called to the march–for it is inconceivable that two millions of people could have gone so frequently round the city in a day.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Johann A. Bengel. He said: “Apply yourself wholly to the Scriptures, and apply the Scriptures wholly to yourself.”

Our topic for today is titled “The Best of Times, the Worst of Times, Part 6” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

In the narrative account of the battle, we are told only that Sisera and his army (including nine hundred chariots) were routed. In Deborah’s victory song, however, we learn that God intervened in the form of sending sudden rain on the battlefield. With the battle clearly lost, Sisera fled on foot, ending up in front of the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber, a Kenite. She invited Sisera in, because at the time, the Canaanites and the Kenites were on friendly terms. When Sisera asked for some water to assuage his thirst, she gave him milk (which would have been warm, for there was no refrigeration) and covered him with a rug. After he had fallen into a deep sleep from exhaustion, she took a tent peg and drove it through his skull, killing him. When Barak, who was pursuing Sisera, showed up, Jael showed him the dead general. Thus, when Deborah wrote her victory song, it was Jael who received the credit for killing the Canaanite general.

Following this battle, the Israelites were able to overthrow the rest of the Canaanite forces. Apparently Hazor was burned again and this time remained unsettled for several hundred years, probably until the time of Solomon.

DEBORAH’S SONG
In the battle against Sisera’s army, according to the Song of Deborah, “the clouds poured down water” and the “river Kishon swept them away”. This sudden rain seems to have turned the soil into mire, bogging down the chariots and making them easy targets for the Israelites who were on the slopes above. Judges 5 is ancient poetry and somewhat difficult to understand, but there are interesting expressions within it. For example, verse 20 talks of how the stars fought from heaven. This language seems to suggest involvement of angelic beings, but that allusion is not clear. Another interesting point is how Deborah condemned the other tribes for not participating in the conflict. These words may indicate that all the tribes (or at least the northern ones) were asked to participate but that God had known in advance that only two would do so.

WHO WERE THE KENITES?
Jael’s husband, Heber, is identified as a Kenite. The Kenites were the relatives of Moses’ father-in-law. A number of them joined the Israelites as they came into the land. Judges 1:16 tells of how they settled in the land, although the area they chose was in the south, near Arad. Jael’s heroic deed occurred about 160 years later

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.