Welcome to the Covenant and the Cross Podcast. This is episode #130. 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 9:3-5 which reads: “And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; And old shoes and clouted upon their feet, and old garments upon them; and all the bread of their provision was dry and mouldy.”
Regarding this passage, Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown wrote in their commentary: “This town Gibeon, as its name imports, was situated on a rocky eminence, about six miles northwest from Jerusalem, where the modern village of El Jib now stands. It was the capital of the Hivites, and a large important city. It seems to have formed, in union with a few other towns in the neighborhood, a free independent state and to have enjoyed a republican government. They acted with dexterous policy, seeking the means of self-preservation, not by force, which they were convinced would be unavailing, but by artful diplomacy. Travellers in the East transport their luggage on beasts of burden; the poorer sort stow all their necessaries, food, clothes, utensils together, in a woollen or hair-cloth sack, laid across the shoulders of the beast they ride upon. The wine bottles are goat-skins, which are better adapted for carrying liquor of any kind fresh and good, than either earthenware, which is porous, or metallic vessels, which are soon heated by the sun. These skin bottles are liable to be rent when old and much used; and there are various ways of mending them–by inserting a new piece of leather, or by gathering together the edges of the rent and sewing them in the form of a purse, or by putting a round flat splinter of wood into the hole. Those who have but one ass or mule for themselves and baggage frequently dismount and walk–a circumstance which may account for the worn shoes of the pretended travellers. Their bread must have been that commonly used by travellers–a sort of biscuit made in the form of large rings, about an inch thick, and four or five inches in diameter. Not being so well baked as our biscuits, it becomes hard and mouldy from the moisture left in the dough. It is usually soaked in water previous to being used.”
Today’s quote about the Bible is from Abraham Lincoln who said: “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good from The Savior of the world is communicated to us through this Book.”
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.
After this, Samuel once again called the people to Mizpah, the place where they had asked for the king. Here he announced that the king would be selected, but he also reminded them that in the process they were rejecting God. The selection was made by lots, similar to what we saw when Achan was identified as the thief after the first battle of Ai. The process narrowed the choice down to Saul, but Saul was not there. God told the people that he was hidden among the baggage. And indeed, that is where they found him—hiding out of insecurity or perhaps a sense of fear. When he was brought forth and presented to the people, he stood a full head taller than anyone else. Clearly, this was the man who could lead the people into battle—a man who met their expectations of what a king should be. Or that was the way it seemed at the time, although to be sure there were some naysayers.
The people returned home, and Saul went back to his farm. The first kingly action required of Saul had to do with Jabesh Gilead, a
city across the Jordan River that was besieged by the Ammonites under Nahash. The men of Jabesh Gilead sued for peace but were told that the price would be that each man had to have his right eye gouged out. They asked for a week to seek help. Feeling secure in his situation, Nahash granted their request. Messengers arrived in the region of Benjamin, where the untested “King” Saul was plowing a field (Israel really didn’t know what to do with a king yet). Filled with God’s Spirit—analogous to the case of the judges—Saul killed the oxen he was using to plow and cut them into pieces, which were sent to the twelve tribes (a national signal to rally, similar to what we saw earlier in Judges 19:29).
Saul made a daring night attack on the Ammonites, using excellent strategy and tactics. He divided his troops into three columns and hit the Ammonite camp from three directions. The rout was complete. After such a victory, there was some discussion of retribution against those who had expressed doubt about Saul. But he refused to take revenge, instead expressing thanks for the victory that YHWH had given Israel. At this point, Saul seemed to have been a good choice.
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.