God's Purposes for His People: Deuteronomy 33:12-26

Deuteronomy 33:12‑26  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Deuteronomy 33:12-2612And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. 13And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath, 14And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon, 15And for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, 16And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren. 17His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh. 18And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. 19They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand. 20And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. 21And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel. 22And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion's whelp: he shall leap from Bashan. 23And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favor, and full with the blessing of the Lord: possess thou the west and the south. 24And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. 25Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. 26There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. (Deuteronomy 33:12‑26)
Sweet and comforting words were spoken about Benjamin, and they have been a cheer to many, even to this day. How marvelous to know that we, like Benjamin, are “beloved of the Lord.” We know our love is weak and feeble, but we are beloved of Him, and always safe when by His side. Then too, we are covered over by His love and kept by His strength “all the day long.” What confidence this gives!
“Why should I ever careful be,
Since such a God is mine?
He watches o’er me night and day,
And tells me, “Thou art Mine.”
The enemy would seek to occupy us with ourselves, reminding us how weak our love is, but happy confidence in our souls is the result of a sense of His love, which never changes.
Joseph comes next. He is a beautiful figure of Christ, for He was rejected by his brethren, as Joseph was. “He came unto his own, and His own received Him not” (John 1:1111He came unto his own, and his own received him not. (John 1:11)), but just as rich and abundant blessings, and the enjoyment of them, are promised to the tribe of Joseph, so those who share Christ’s rejection now shall enjoy in communion the precious fruits of His redemptive work even now, as well as reigning with Him in a future day. Let us bear in mind that when we shun the cross we are shunning the enjoyment of our blessings.
The Blessings of the Tribes
The blessings of the other tribes speak to us of God’s purposes for Israel; blessings they would have realized then in their land had they walked in obedience, but they forfeited them through disobedience. They will, however, dwell safely in the full extent of their land, and be blessed in their going out. They will also rule the nations in their coming day of blessing and enjoy the abundance of the treasures of the earth and sea in a manner that has never been known before (Psalm 45:8-98All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. 9Kings' daughters were among thy honorable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. (Psalm 45:8‑9)). They will have many happy children in that day (Psalm 127:3-53Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:3‑5)).
Walking in Communion
It is particularly instructive to note the blessing of the tribe of Asher, and if we, like them, would dip our foot in oil — walking in the power of the Spirit — we would enjoy our spiritual blessings in a fuller measure here and now. The iron speaks of strength, and the brass (from which their shoes were made) tells us of self-judgment. These two things go along with walk in communion with God. Sometimes we would like to appropriate these blessings to ourselves, that is, we would like to prove the daily strength the Lord gives, but without self-judgment and communion. Surely God is faithful, but if we are to walk in the good of His promise, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be,” let us be sure that we do not become careless in our walk. Let us allow the Spirit of God to speak to us through His Word. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (Revelation 3:2222He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Revelation 3:22)).
How the Lord delighted to bless people. He was above all for Israel, as well as for us, riding upon the heaven for their help; and now we know Christ is risen and is “head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-2322And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:22‑23)). This is what gives confidence — not our great numbers for we are few indeed, but “Christ is all, and in all” (Colossians 3:1111Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. (Colossians 3:11)).
Further Meditations
1. In what way is Joseph a figure of Christ?
2. The value of communion or common thoughts with God is hard to overestimate. It’s very fragile and extremely important. How does the Lord Jesus’ life show His daily communion with His Father?
3. You would no doubt enjoy the meditations found in the short booklet Communion With God: What Is It? by C. H. Mackintosh.