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.