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.