Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #104. 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 5:1 which reads: “And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel.”
Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “Under the former designation were included the people who inhabited the mountainous region, and under the latter those who were on the seacoast of Palestine. They had probably reckoned on the swollen river interposing for a time a sure barrier of defense. But seeing it had been completely dried up, they were completely paralyzed by so incontestable a proof that God was on the side of the invaders. In fact, the conquest had already begun in the total prostration of spirit among the native chiefs. “Their heart melted,” but unhappily not into faith and penitent submission.”
Today’s quote about the Bible is from N. T. Wright. He said: “The Bible is the book of my life. It’s the book I live with, the book I live by, the book I want to die by.”
Our topic for today is titled “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho — and Hazor Too (Part 9)” from the book, “The Promise and the Blessing” by Dr. Michael A. Harbin.
During this period, word of Israel’s successes was spreading. The Canaanites responded in two different ways. The majority of the states gathered their forces to form an alliance against the invaders. But the people of Gibeon, a major city-state about 10 kilometers northwest of Jerusalem, chose to respond differently. They decided that they would not wait to be annihilated. Instead, they would try to join Joshua and his group. If Joshua was not willing to make alliances, they would try to trick him. They selected envoys to dress in their oldest, most worn clothing and to carry stale, dried-out provisions. These men were to present themselves as having come from a far distance. Most likely they circled around to enter the Israelite camp from the other side.
When they arrived, they asserted that they were from a foreign country and desired to form an alliance. Joshua and the leaders examined these envoys, trying to find holes in their story. The one thing they did not do was ask God. So they formed a mutual defense treaty. Three days later, as the Gibeonites prepared to return home, the truth came out—they were from just over the plateau. The people complained about the situation, but Joshua and the leaders said that they could not wipe them out because of the oath. Rather, they would make them woodcutters and water bearers for the entire community and for the altar of God.
Upon hearing of the alliance between the Gibeon group and the Israelites, King Adoni-Zedek of Jerusalem panicked. He called upon the kings of Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, (lay-kish) and Eglon to join him in a campaign against Gibeon as punishment for what they had done. The five kings attacked Gibeon, and the Gibeonites sent messengers to Joshua asking for help. This time Joshua asked God, who confirmed that they should keep their word, regardless of how it had been coerced. Joshua and his troops marched all night and surprised the attacking soldiers, who then fled before the superior numbers. What follows is one of the most controversial and least understood passages in the Bible. Taken at face value, the text states that the sun stood still, allowing the nation to finish the battle as they chased the enemy down the valley of Aijalon. This seems impossible in any modern understanding of how the universe works, but regardless of the details, the overall conclusion was that God assisted Joshua and his troops, first by hailstones and then by some celestial effects. At the end, the southern alliance was defeated, and the kings were trapped in a cave at Makkedah. (mak-ke-dah) After destroying the armies, Joshua executed the five kings. He then attacked and took the cities of Makkedah,(mak-ke-dah) Libnah, Lachish, (lay-kish) Gezer, (geh-zer) Eglon, Hebron, and Debir. The mop-up operations brought the entire Negev as far as Kadesh Barnea under their control. With this, Joshua and his troops returned to Gilgal, having control of approximately two-thirds of the land.
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.