Dan the Subtle Man

16 “Dan will provide justice for his people
as one of the tribes of Israel.
17 Dan will be a snake by the roadside,
a viper along the path,
that bites the horse’s heels
so that its rider tumbles backward. Genesis 49:16-17

Dan is one of the four sons born of handmaids. That fact certainly didn’t garner him status among his brothers, nor would his tribe be a ruling or conquering giant.

Instead, Jacob describes Dan as one who could do damage along the way but in ways that were more subtle, like a snake along the road.

Over the last few days, this theme has come through the text, that there are all kinds of people in the world. Dan, the subtle but effective disrupter is one such individual.

I’m not suggesting that disruption is a great means to an end, but that God uses all different kinds of people in ways we never imagined to accomplish his goals. Just because you are not loud and vocal about your faith doesn’t mean God can’t use you.

The only reason you hear about the loud and boisterous is because they’re loud and boisterous. Yes, he uses them but he also uses the more subtle among us.

Continue Reading

Hard Working Issachar

14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey
lying down among the sheep pens.
15 When he sees how good is his resting place
and how pleasant is his land,
he will bend his shoulder to the burden
and submit to forced labor. Genesis 49:14-15

Issachar was Zebulun’s full brother and was the oldest of the two. Once again, we see the switch of blessing going to the younger instead of the elder of the brothers.

According to this blessing, Issachar would end up being be a farmer and not have higher aspirations. There’s nothing at all wrong with that.

I’ve known a few people like that in my life. They just get by, not at all ambitious, no motivation to better themselves. I don’t understand that necessarily, but too is fine.

As I mentioned recently, different people have different temperaments and motivations. Who am I to judge how others conduct themselves?

The important thing is how we conduct ourselves.

Are we living up to what we know God wants us to do?

Do we even know what he wants from us?

Continue Reading

All Christians are Different

13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore
and become a haven for ships;
his border will extend toward Sidon. Genesis 49:13

Two hundred years after Jacob proclaimed this, this was fulfilled. Zebulun’s lot extended from the Mediterranean Sea on the west, to the lake of Gennesareth on the east (Joshua 19:10).

Moses also spoke about the tribes of Zebulun and Issachar, that they would “feast on the abundance of the seas.” Deuteronomy 33:19 Because the tribe was probably heavily influenced by the Phoenicians, they probably took part in maritime activities (especially trading/commerce). The general meaning of the blessing may be that Zebulun would be a tribe, but of traders and not of agriculturists like most of his brothers.

Each of us have different interests and trades. What interests one person may bore someone else. For example, I hear that many people do not like to write. As a writer, I don’t understand that. Everyone likes to write, don’t they? It turns out very few people in this world like to write.

Zebulun and his family probably loved the seas and maritime commerce. Not everyone could or would want to do that. Much like we all have different gifts in the Body of Christ, we also have different likes and dislikes.

We know that but we forget it.

I recall traveling with our choir in college. An hour before the concert I needed quiet to focus my thoughts. I was troubled that some guys in the choir needed loud music to get ready for the concert. They weren’t like me, and I wasn’t like them, even though we each had the same goal each night.

All that to say this, all Christians are different. That’s obvious. They have different tastes, likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies, music, and jobs. We are trying to obtain the same goal; we just come at it differently. We don’t have to walk a mile in their shoes necessarily, but we might have to come to grips with people thinking differently than we do.

Music in the church is one small but understandable example. Contemporary. Classic. Hymns. Instrumental. No instruments. Worship songs. Same goal: glorify Christ. Multiple ways of getting to that goal.

If you thought hard enough, you could come up with a dozen examples like this. 

Continue Reading

A Cause for Celebration

8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you;
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons will bow down to you.
9 You are a lion’s cub, Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
10 The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until he to whom it belongs shall come
and the obedience of the nations shall be his.
11 He will tether his donkey to a vine,
his colt to the choicest branch;
he will wash his garments in wine,
his robes in the blood of grapes.
12 His eyes will be darker than wine,
his teeth whiter than milk. Genesis 49:8-12

I don’t know if Jacob understood the significance of what he said about Judah here. There are quite a few similarities to the Messiah.

Wesley had this to say about this passage: Much of that which is here said concerning Judah is to be applied to our Lord Jesus. 

  • He is the ruler of all his Father’s children, and the conqueror of all his Father’s enemies, and he it is that is the praise of all the saints.
  • He is the lion of the tribe of Judah, as he is called with reference to this, Revelation 5:5, who having spoiled principalities and powers, went up a conqueror, and couched so as none can stir him up when he sat down on the right hand of the Father.
  • To him belongs the scepter, he is the law giver, and to him shall the gathering of the people be, as the desire of all nations, Haggai 2:7, who being lifted up from the earth should draw all men unto him, 12:32, and in whom the children of God that are scattered abroad should meet as the center of their unity, 11:52.
  • In him there is plenty of all that which is nourishing and refreshing to the soul, and which maintains and chears the divine life in it; in him we may have wine and milk, the riches of Judah’s tribe, without money, and without price, Isaiah 55:1.

The Bible is filled with predictions and prophecies concerning the Messiah. This is one such passage. Written 2000 years before Christ’s birth, the author could not have known how it would come to pass. This happened throughout the Old Testament with different authors.

Praise God for the enduring and timeless message of Scripture.

Praise Him also because of the flawed vessels in which He communicated these eternal truths.

Continue Reading

Anger versus Thankfulness

5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers—
their swords are weapons of violence.
6 Let me not enter their council,
let me not join their assembly,
for they have killed men in their anger
and hamstrung oxen as they pleased.
7 Cursed be their anger, so fierce,
and their fury, so cruel!
I will scatter them in Jacob
and disperse them in Israel. Genesis 49:5-7

Simeon and Levi certainly didn’t get a pass from their father. It’s obvious that Jacob valued peaceable men and peaceful spirits.

There are people who get upset but still have a peaceful demeanor. But there are also people who are perpetually angry and bitter. It comes out in everything they do whether they realize it or not. It’s really a sad existence.

When your heart is full of praise and thankfulness, it’s difficult to harbor anger. It’s very easy to get taken in by the spirit of the age, the anger, the cruelty.

But the remedy is also easy: praise and worship.

Being thankful should be a lifelong pursuit.

Giving thanks as often as you can remember is a sure way to loosen up the rot of bitterness.

And if you don’t remember today, tomorrow is right around the corner.

Continue Reading
Close Menu