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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 5 (The Covenant & the Cross #129)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #129. 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 9:1-2 which reads: “And it came to pass, when all the kings which were on this side Jordan, in the hills, and in the valleys, and in all the coasts of the great sea over against Lebanon, the Hittite, and the Amorite, the Canaanite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, heard thereof; That they gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “All the kings were on the western side of Jordan. This threefold distinction marks out very clearly a large portion of Canaan. The first designates the hill country, which belonged afterwards to the tribes of Judah and Ephraim: the second, all the low country from Carmel to Gaza; and the third, the shores of the Mediterranean, from the Isthmus of Tyre to the plain of Joppa. They heard of the sacking of Jericho and Ai, as well as the rapid advance of the Israelites into the interior of the country. Although divided by separate interests and often at war with each other, a sense of common danger prompted them to suspend their mutual animosities, that by their united forces they might prevent the land from falling into the hands of foreign masters.”

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 “Give Us a King Like the Rest of the Nations, Part 5” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The selection of the king was a twofold process: first the private announcement to Saul and then the public selection. The private announcement came when Saul and his servant were looking for Saul’s father’s donkeys that had wandered off. Unable to find them, Saul and his servant ended up in Zuph, the district where Samuel’s hometown was located (the name of the town was Ramah or Ramathaim Zuphim). There they met Samuel, who was about to perform a sacrifice. God had told Samuel the day before to expect Saul, whom he was to anoint as king. Samuel took Saul to the place of sacrifice, where a special portion of the sacrifice had been set aside for him, and he joined the people in the meal.

The next day, as Saul was getting ready to leave, Samuel anointed him and told him that he would be the first king of Israel. To ensure that Saul did not think this madness, Samuel gave him three signs or short-term prophecies to verify his message. On his way home, he would meet a party announcing that the donkeys had been found; a second party would give him a gift; and then he would meet a third party consisting of prophets, as a result of which he would be filled with God’s Spirit and would prophesy. All three came true as Samuel had related them. Saul returned home but did not tell his relatives about Samuel’s anointing.

THE CHRONOLOGY OF 1 SAMUEL
First Samuel 7:2 states that the ark remained in Kiriath Jearim twenty years. However, David took it from this town to Jerusalem after he had united the country following the death of Saul’s son Ish-Bosheth (2 Sam. 6), and Saul’s reign is usually thought to have lasted forty years. The figure forty comes primarily from Jewish tradition as recorded in Josephus. It also shows up in our English translations of Acts 13:21, which says literally, “And they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul, son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, forty years.” Some scholars, however, understand forty to be his age when he became king (which would correlate with the fact that his son Jonathan was old enough to be married). The only verse in the OT that addresses the length of Saul’s reign, 1 Samuel 13:1, is problematic. The Masoretic text says: “Saul was years old when he began to reign, and he reigned two years over Israel” (note that there is no number before “years old”). The NIV emends the text, reading “thirty years old” and “reigned over Israel forty two years,” but possibly verse 1 serves to give a time reference for verse 2 (“and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel”).

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 4 (The Covenant & the Cross #128)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #128. 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 8:33-35 which reads: “And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “One half of Israel was arranged on Gerizim, and the other half on Ebal–along the sides and base of each with the priests and the Levites in full view of them. There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not. It appears that a much larger portion of the law was read on this occasion than the brief summary inscribed on the stones; and this must have been the essence of the law as contained in Deuteronomy. The immediate design of this rehearsal was attained by the performance of the act itself. It only related to posterity, in so far as the record of the event would be handed down in the Book of Joshua, or the documents which form the groundwork of it. Thus faithfully did Joshua execute the instructions given by Moses. How awfully solemn must have been the assemblage and the occasion! The eye and the ear of the people being both addressed, it was calculated to leave an indelible impression; and with spirits elevated by their brilliant victories in the land of promise, memory would often revert to the striking scene on mounts Ebal and Gerizim, and in the vale of Sychar.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Billy Graham who said: “If you are ignorant of God’s Word, you will always be ignorant of God’s will.”

Our topic for today is titled “Give Us a King Like the Rest of the Nations, Part 4” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

Following the raising of Ebenezer, Israel was in a state of peace, such as we find mentioned a number of times in the book of Judges. Samuel was the judge now, and he made a yearly circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, although he moved back to the family home in Ramah. Things were fine for a number of years until Samuel grew older. He appointed his sons as judges, but as was often the case, the sons did not have the same faith and integrity as their father. Interestingly, they are recorded as serving in the south at Beersheba. Perhaps because they were that far away from home, they thought they could get away with corrupt activities.

Now, however, the people were no longer willing to put up with such corruption, and they asked Samuel to give them a king like the
rest of the nations. Two issues were involved: the failure of Samuel’s sons to serve God and national security. The Israelites seem to have grown tired of the foreign oppression. Unfortunately, they identified the lack of a strong human leader as the cause and did not realize that the reason for the oppression was a spiritual one—their failure to serve God.

Samuel took the request personally, as if he were being rejected. When he took the request to God, he was told that God was the one they were rejecting, not Samuel. The Lord also told Samuel to warn the people of what a king would do, but they were adamant. So God gave them what they wanted. As is often the case, what they wanted really wasn’t the best thing for them. More than that, the first king He gave them fit their idea of what a king should be. (As we shall see later, the second king would be the kind God desired.)

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 4 (The Covenant and the Cross #127)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #127. 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 8:30-32 which reads: “Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in mount Ebal, As Moses the servant of the Lord commanded the children of Israel, as it is written in the book of the law of Moses, an altar of whole stones, over which no man hath lift up any iron: and they offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings. And he wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he wrote in the presence of the children of Israel.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “Then Joshua built an altar unto the Lord God of Israel in twenty miles from Ai. The march through a hostile country and the unmolested performance of the religious ceremonial observed at this mountain, would be greatly facilitated, through the blessing of God, by the disastrous fall of Ai. The solemn duty was to be attended to at the first convenient opportunity after the entrance into Canaan; and with this in view Joshua seems to have conducted the people through the mountainous region that intervened though no details of the journey have been recorded. Ebal was on the north, opposite to Gerizim, which was on the south side of the town Sichem. The altar was of whole stones–according to the instructions given to Moses, over which no man hath lifted up any iron–that is, iron tool. The reason for this was that every altar of the true God ought properly to have been built of earth; and if it was constructed of stone, rough, unhewn stones were to be employed that it might retain both the appearance and nature of earth, since every bloody sacrifice was connected with sin and death, by which man, the creature of earth, is brought to earth again. They offered thereon burnt offerings unto the Lord, and sacrificed peace offerings–This had been done when the covenant was established; and by the observance of these rites, the covenant was solemnly renewed–the people were reconciled to God by the burnt offering, and this feast accompanying the peace or thank offering, a happy communion with God was enjoyed by all the families in Israel. He wrote there upon the stones a copy of the law of that is, the blessings and curses of the law. Some think that the stones which contained this inscription were the stones of the altar: but this verse seems rather to indicate that a number of stone pillars were erected alongside of the altar, and on which, after they were plastered, this duplicate of the law was inscribed.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Theodore Roosevelt who said: “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.”

Our topic for today is titled “Give Us a King Like the Rest of the Nations, Part 4” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

The conduct of Eli presents an interesting situation. He is portrayed as being an old man who told his grown sons that they were in the wrong (although they did not listen to him). Apparently, however, he was unwilling to follow through and take the prescribed legal actions—which is why God indicated that He would put them to death. Eli was also condemned for getting fat on the wrongly taken sacrifices. Still, young Samuel was entrusted to his care, and when Eli died at the age of ninetyeight, we are told that he had “judged” the nation for forty years.

One concept of the ark of the covenant, the decorative aspects of which are not well described in the book of Exodus. During this period the ark seemed to be the focus of Israelite worship rather than the tabernacle or temple in which it was located. Later on, that focal point would shift to Jerusalem and the temple.

After a seven-month absence, the ark returned to Israel. It first arrived at Beth Shemesh, a Levitical city in the territory of Judah. The men of Beth Shemesh sacrificed the two cows as a burnt offering (which indicated a consecration of the item) and had a feast celebrating the return of the ark. Then seventy men looked into the ark, for which reason they were struck down by God. Because of this tragedy, the Levites of Beth Shemesh became terrified—rumors of the events in Philistia had likely preceded the ark—and decided to move the ark to Kiriath Jearim. This is ironic, because Kiriath Jearim was one of the Canaanite cities of the Gibeonite alliance. The ark remained there until David took it to Jerusalem some twenty years later.

Apparently while this was going on, Samuel began promoting revival. He told the people to put away the false gods they had been serving and return to YHWH with their entire hearts. A good portion of them did so. Based on the obvious effort of the people, Samuel called a gathering at Mizpah, where they fasted and confessed their sin. The Philistines heard of the gathering, however, and interpreted it as a precursor for war. The idea that the Israelites would gather solely for confession and repentance never entered their minds. Word of the advancing Philistine army frightened the Israelites, and they did the smartest thing they could do: they cried to Samuel to intercede with God on their behalf. Samuel did so, making a burnt (consecratory) offering. God intervened by sending a great thunderstorm. The Israelites followed and drove the Philistines down from the central plateau. With this victory, Israel apparently broke free of Philistine rule; however, it would not be until the time of David that these enemies stopped being a concern for the Israelite military. Samuel raised a stone he called “Ebenezer,” which means literally “stone of help,” as a reminder of how God had once again helped Israel.

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 3 (The Covenant and the Cross #126)

Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #126. 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 8:26-29 which reads: “For Joshua drew not his hand back, wherewith he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took for a prey unto themselves, according unto the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua. And Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever, even a desolation unto this day. And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide: and as soon as the sun was down, Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city, and raise thereon a great heap of stones, that remaineth unto this day.”

Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “Joshua drew not his hand back. Perhaps, from the long continuance of the posture, it might have been a means appointed by God to animate the people, and kept up in the same devout spirit as Moses had shown in lifting up his hands, until the work of slaughter had been completed-the ban executed. Joshua burnt Ai, and made it an heap for ever,. “For ever” often signifies a long time. One of the remarkable things with regard to the Tell we have identified with Ai is its name-the Tell, or the heap of stones-a name which to this day remains. The king of Ai was hanged on a tree – i:e., gibbetted. In ancient, and particularly Oriental wars, the chiefs, when taken prisoners, were usually executed-first slain by the sword, and then exposed on a gibbet for a time. The Israelites were obliged by the divine law to put them to death. The execution of the king of Ai would tend to facilitate the conquest of the land, by striking terror into the other chiefs, and making it appear a judicial process, in which they were inflicting the vengeance of God upon his enemies. It was taken down at sunset, according to the divine command, and cast into a pit dug “at the entering of the gate,” because that was the most public place. An immense cairn was raised over his grave-an ancient usage still existing in the East, whereby is marked the sepulchre of persons whose memory is infamous.”

Today’s quote about the Bible is from Charles Spurgeon who said: “Nobody ever outgrows Scripture; the book widens and deepens with our years.”

Our topic for today is titled “Give Us a King Like the Rest of the Nations, Part 3” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.

In this situation, the Israelites gathered their forces at Ebenezer, near Aphek, to fight the Philistines. The latter went out to squash this uprising and quickly inflicted heavy casualties on the Israelites. The Israelite leadership decided that the reason they had lost was that they did not have the ark and so needed to bring it to battle. Here we see a complete misunderstanding of what the ark was. It was supposed to be the place where God met the nation, and as such, it was holy, not because of what it was, but because of who was there. The Israelites were viewing it as a holy relic through which they could manipulate God. They soon found out they were wrong.

The priests brought the ark up from Shiloh (and I am sure both Samuel and Eli watched it go with misgivings). The battle was engaged, the Israelites lost soundly, and the ark was captured. In the process, the priests carrying the ark, including Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas, were killed. When Eli got the news, he fell backward off his seat and broke his neck. As soon as Phinehas’s pregnant wife heard the news, she went into labor. She gave birth to a baby boy whom she called Ichabod (a Hebrew name that apparently means “there is no glory”) because “the glory has departed from Israel”. She too then died.

Before telling us about Samuel, the writer relates what happened to the ark. The Philistines took this prize of war to Ashdod, one of their major cities, where they presented it as a trophy before their patron god, Dagon. The next day, however, they found the image of Dagon facedown before the ark. They reset their idol so that it would be above the ark, and the next day, they again found the image of Dagon facedown, but now with the head and hands broken off. Moreover, the people were struck by a plague of some type.

Intimidated by this obvious demonstration of the superiority of Israel’s God, the Philistines in Ashdod decided that their best course of action was to send the ark to another city, Gath. The people of Gath too were afflicted with the plague, and they quickly decided they needed to get rid of the ark, so they sent it to Ekron. However, by this time the word was out, and Ekron didn’t want the ark. The Philistine leaders then got together and decided to send it back to Israel.

To make sure that it was Israel’s God who had caused this episode, they put the ark on an oxcart with two mother cows, which had never been harnessed, yoked to the cart. They penned their calves in the opposite direction from Israel and let the cows go. The fact that they headed straight toward Israel was seen as verification that the God of Israel was involved. In addition, they included with the ark on the cart a wooden chest that contained five gold replicas of the tumors caused by the plague and five gold rats (one for each of the five Philistine cities) as a guilt offering to Israel’s God.

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 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.