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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.

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Give Us a King Like the Rest of the Nations, Part 2 (The Covenant and the Cross Episode #125)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #125. 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 8:18-25 which reads: “And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city. And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire. And when the men of Ai looked behind them, they saw, and, behold, the smoke of the city ascended up to heaven, and they had no power to flee this way or that way: and the people that fled to the wilderness turned back upon the pursuers. And when Joshua and all Israel saw that the ambush had taken the city, and that the smoke of the city ascended, then they turned again, and slew the men of Ai. And the other issued out of the city against them; so they were in the midst of Israel, some on this side, and some on that side: and they smote them, so that they let none of them remain or escape. And the king of Ai they took alive, and brought him to Joshua. And it came to pass, when Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the field, in the wilderness wherein they chased them, and when they were all fallen on the edge of the sword, until they were consumed, that all the Israelites returned unto Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. And so it was, that all that fell that day, both of men and women, were twelve thousand, even all the men of Ai.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “The uplifted spear had probably a flag, or streamer on it, to render it the more conspicuous from the height where he stood. At the sight of this understood signal the ambush nearest the city, informed by their scouts, made a sudden rush and took possession of the city, telegraphing to their brethren by raising a smoke from the walls. Upon seeing this, the main body, who had been reigning a flight, turned round at the head of the pass upon their pursuers, while the twenty-five thousand issuing from their ambuscade, fell back upon their rear. The Ai-ites, surprised, looked back, and found their situation now desperate.”

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

Our topic for today is titled “Give Us a King Like the Rest of the Nations, Part 2” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Samuel begins with the account of a priest named Elkanah who had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah; he had apparently married the latter because Hannah was unable to have children. Elkanah is noted for being faithful in his worship at the tabernacle, which was now situated in Shiloh. Annually he would take his family to worship there, and it is in connection with one such journey that we are introduced to Hannah’s predicament. She had become very distraught from the irritation created by the other wife, the one who had children. As a result, she had forgone the festivities and had gone into the tabernacle to pray.

Hannah prayed fervently, and Eli the priest mistook that fervency for being drunk (which says a lot about the people he saw in the tabernacle). Hannah protested that she was not drunk but just miserable, and she had poured out her soul before God. In the process, she made a promise (or vow): if God would give her a son, she would dedicate him to God (that is, make him a Nazirite) for life. God soon answered her prayer, and she faithfully fulfilled her promise. Samuel was brought to the tabernacle to serve God.

Things were not going well in the tabernacle. Eli had apparently been a faithful follower of God, but his sons were not. In fact, the text states that they did not know the Lord. They saw their position as an opportunity for self-satisfaction. As such, they robbed the people’s sacrifices (not following the legal guidelines regarding their portions) and slept with the women who served in the tabernacle. God first brought a prophet to condemn Eli for honoring his sons above God, because, although he knew they were in the wrong, he acquiesced to their behavior. God then spoke through young Samuel in a scene that would be amusing if it were not so serious. After mistaking God’s call at night for Eli’s voice, Samuel finally listened to God’s message. This word was the same as that of the earlier prophet: God was going to remove Eli’s family from the priesthood.

The occasion arose as a result of increasing Philistine incursions. We noted in the previous chapter that when Samson began antagonizing the Philistines, the Israelites criticized him because they viewed these oppressors as their rulers. Now they were apparently expanding their territory (moving further northward and inland), and the situation had reached the point at which the Israelites could not tolerate it anymore. There seems to have been a breakdown of the pattern we saw in the book of Judges, because we do not see that the people cried out to God. Rather, Samuel was regarded as a prophet who had revelation from God. But God would not be able to work within the nation until the corrupt leadership was removed.

TABERNACLE OR TEMPLE?

When referring to the sanctuary in Shiloh, the text uses the terms “temple” and “house of the Lord”, both of which suggest a more permanent facility than “tabernacle” or “tent.” However, 2 Samuel 7:6 quotes God as telling Nathan that He had been dwelling in a tent the entire period before David. A closer examination of the terms “temple” and “house” suggests that each could be used in a broader sense denoting the tabernacle.

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.

Give Us a King Like the Rest of the Nations, Part 1 (Covenant and the Cross #124)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #124. 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 8:15-17 which reads: “And Joshua and all Israel made as if they were beaten before them, and fled by the way of the wilderness. And all the people that were in Ai were called together to pursue after them: and they pursued after Joshua, and were drawn away from the city. And there was not a man left in Ai or Bethel, that went not out after Israel: and they left the city open, and pursued after Israel.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “The pretended flight in the direction of the wilderness; that is, southeast, into the Ghor, the desert valley of the Jordan, decoyed all the inhabitants of Ai out of the city, while the people of Beth-el hastened to participate in the expected victory. It is supposed by some, from “the city,” and not “cities,” being spoken of, that the effective force of Beth-el had been concentrated in Ai, as the two places were closely contiguous, and Ai the larger of the two. It may be remarked, however, that the words, “or Beth-el,” are not in the Septuagint, and are rejected by some eminent scholars, as an interpolation not found in the most ancient manuscripts.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from A.W. Tozer who said: “The Word of God well understood and religiously obeyed is the shortest route to spiritual perfection. And we must not select a few favorite passages to the exclusion of others. Nothing less than a whole Bible can make a whole Christian.”

Our topic for today is titled “Give Us a King Like the Rest of the Nations, Part 1” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

After a prolonged period of foreign oppression, the Israelites concluded that they needed a king to resolve their national security problems. Samuel, the last judge, anointed Saul as the first king. Because of Saul’s disobedience, God had Samuel anoint David, who remained loyal to Saul despite the latter’s attempts to kill him. As this chapter of the story ends, Israel’s king lies dead from suicide on the battlefield, and the nation is ready to turn to David.

We have now arrived at a crucial point of transition for the nation. From our perspective, the transition seems sudden, but a closer look shows that it was lengthy. In fact, we could say that it took a couple of generations. In the process, the nation went from a divided people who focused on their tribal and local identities to the semblance of a unified state. The two books of Samuel were written at the end of this transition process. Their purpose was to show future generations the reason for having a king and how the people had rejected God in the process. As we will see over the next several chapters, however, the transition to a national unity was never completed because the nation was not unified in its worship of God.

Up to this point, the nation had been led by judges and priests. Theologians call the type of government exercised during this period a theocracy, that is, one in which God was the ruler. The priests were God’s intermediaries in internal affairs. As we saw earlier, their responsibilities included worship and sacrifice but also should have included socioeconomic issues. Politically, each town or village ran its own affairs. When national issues arose, God raised up the judges— and less obviously, prophets—who gave guidance and leadership for specific issues.

Because the nation was never united spiritually, it was not really united politically either. From the time of Othniel on, the only time there was any semblance of unity was when outsiders oppressed various regions. Even then, the usual response was regional.

We have also seen that the priesthood, the spiritual leadership, left much to be desired. As we begin the book of Samuel, we find that the priestly system was actually corrupt (or had corrupt elements). It was into this situation that God intervened.

WHO WROTE 1 AND 2 SAMUEL?

Our English Bibles, following the Hebrew, name these books after Samuel, who likely began the work of writing the narrative. Samuel’s death, however, is recorded in 1 Samuel 25, while the narrative continues on to cover the reign of David. Therefore, the final author must have lived at the time of Solomon or later, and the prophet Nathan is a likely candidate. The Septuagint calls these two books 1 and 2 Kingdoms (or Reigns), making the next two 3 and 4 Kingdoms.

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 14 (Covenant and the Cross Episode #123)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #123. 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 8:11-14 which reads: “And all the people, even the people of war that were with him, went up, and drew nigh, and came before the city, and pitched on the north side of Ai: now there was a valley between them and Ai. And he took about five thousand men, and set them to lie in ambush between Bethel and Ai, on the west side of the city. And when they had set the people, even all the host that was on the north of the city, and their liers in wait on the west of the city, Joshua went that night into the midst of the valley. And it came to pass, when the king of Ai saw it, that they hasted and rose up early, and the men of the city went out against Israel to battle, he and all his people, at a time appointed, before the plain; but he wist not that there were liers in ambush against him behind the city.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “The deep and steep-sided glen to the north of Tell-el-ha-jar, into which one looks down from the tell, fully agrees with this account. Joshua himself took up his position on the north side of “the ravine”–the deep chasm of the wady El-Mu-ro-gede; “that night” means, while it was dark, probably after midnight, or very early in the morning. The king of Ai, in the early dawn, rouses his slumbering subjects and makes a hasty sally with all his people who were capable of bearing arms, once more to surprise and annihilate them. At a time appointed, either an hour concocted between the king and people of Ai and those of Beth-el, who were confederates in this enterprise, or perhaps they had fixed on the same time of day, as they had fought successfully against Israel on the former occasion, deeming it a lucky hour. It is evident that this king and his subjects were little experienced in war; otherwise they would have sent out scouts to reconnoiter the neighborhood; at all events, they would not have left their town wholly unprotected and open. Perhaps an ambuscade may have been a war stratagem hitherto unknown in that country, and among that people.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Alfred, Lord Tennyson who said: “Bible reading is an education in itself.”

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.

That morning Boaz went to the city gate where legal transactions were conducted. He selected ten witnesses and, when the other relative came by, announced that he had some business. He began by pointing out the need to redeem the land owned by Elimelech. At this point, the relative was eager. Then he found out that marriage to Ruth was involved, at which point he backed out.19 Boaz agreed to take his place, and the transaction was completed by the other relative’s passing his sandal to Boaz.

So Boaz and Ruth married and soon had a son. The genealogy at the end of the book shows that they were the great-grandparents of David.

As we wrap up this chapter, we need to step back a bit and evaluate what we have seen. The nation is now in the Promised Land, but it has not been faithful to the covenant. Instead of doing what God had ordained, the Israelites did evil in God’s eyes. As the last verse of Judges puts it, “Everyone did as he saw fit.” In other words, “relativism,” as we call it today, was the standard of the day.

Still, God has been faithful to His people, preserving them while at the same time judging them. This demonstration of faithfulness should have served as a reminder of the covenant, which was unconditional. God was their suzerain, and they could obey and be blessed or disobey and suffer.

Judges and Ruth were probably written early in the period of the monarchy, likely by Samuel. They represented a warning to the subsequent generations regarding what would happen to them should they continue on the way they had been going. But they also showed hope, demonstrating that God was both faithful and compassionate. Furthermore, the book of Ruth represented a testimony of how outsiders could be accepted within the covenant community by putting their faith in the God of the covenant. Both books were added to the increasing canon.

We now come to a point of transition where the nation would decide to make drastic changes in their leadership. Would that help them to be more faithful? That is the subject of the next chapter.

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 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 —

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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.