We always like to start out with the Word of God, and today’s passage of Scripture is Joshua 24:20 which reads: “If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.”
Regarding this passage, Dr. R.C. Sproul notes in the Reformation Study Bible:
Joshua tells the Israelites that God’s dealing with them will change from grace to judgment. But in another sense God never changes, since His promise has always included the threat of judgment.
Today’s Covenant & the Cross quote about the Bible is from Soren Kierkegaard. He said: “When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, ‘It is talking to me and about me.”
Our topic for today is titled “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho — and Hazor Too (Part 3)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. And, I want to remind you to take advantage of our special offer. If you enjoy this podcast, please feel free to purchase a copy of this book — “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin. It is available on our website for just $20.
We will continue looking at Canaanite Religion
While El, Baal, Asherah, and Dagon were the four key figures in Canaanite pagan worship, the Canaanites had a pantheon of at least seventy gods and goddesses. It appears that the pantheon was also growing, although it was by no means as large as the pantheon of Egypt. Overall, the picture of the gods and goddesses of Canaanite religion had degenerated into a soap opera, with incestuous relationships and other abominations set forth in the pantheon. Of course, these were supposed to represent the “higher ideals” that guided the people.
The abominations showed up in the methods of worship, which were probably the most significant cause of judgment. From the OT data, we see that several reprehensible practices dominated their religious rituals. We do not have much written material from other sources that show how the Canaanites performed their rituals, but some of the archaeological data from Palestine corroborates the existence of these practices.
One of these practices was selfmutilation. The idea behind this ritual was that a worshiper showed sincerity by cutting or otherwise mutilating the body. It appears in the OT during the contest between Elijah and the priests of Baal, when the latter “slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom.”
Religious prostitution was another abominable practice mentioned in various passages. Sexual relations in the sanctuary were connected with the fertility rites, demonstrating a concept sometimes called sympathetic magic. Practitioners believed that through the practice of ritual prostitution in the temple, the god or goddess would have pity on the people and send rain to cause the crops to grow. It was an overt attempt to manipulate the deities.
A third Canaanite ritual was the sacrifice of infants. This custom is talked about in Leviticus 18:21 and is also mentioned in 2 Kings 23:10. The prophet Jeremiah condemned the people of Israel for adopting this reprehensible practice. Klei-tar-chos, a Greek writer from about 300 BCE, wrote that the ritual involved taking a hollow metal idol dedicated to one of the Canaanite gods—such as Molech, the god of fire (also known as Baal-Melech)—filling it with flaming coals until it was red hot, then laying the infant on the sizzling outstretched arms of the idol as a demonstration of piety. This practice of infant sacrifice seems to have brought on the final judgment. The conquest of the land of Canaan must be viewed within that context.
What about Canaanite monotheism? The Canaanite evidence points to a prehistoric worship of El, apparently as sole god. El is the same word the Hebrews used for God (although the Hebrews more commonly used Elohim, the plural form of El). This is not too surprising, for Canaanite and Hebrew are related languages. While many scholars see the worship of El as evidence for a developing (evolving) monotheism, the overall evidence seems to show a culture that was turning from the worship of God (that is, El) to an increasing polytheism. This development correlates with the biblical evidence we saw earlier: Melchizedek, a Canaanite, served El Elyon, God Most High, but apparently later generations pushed El aside and began to serve a multitude of other gods.
Lord willing, we will continue this topic in our next broadcast.
Let’s Pray —
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.
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.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.