Blessings in The Old, The New and the Bridge
I think blessings are a lot of fun. They are fun to receive. They are meaningful to give. Each day I’m thankful to God for all the blessings He has provided and I ask for His blessing and protection on friends, family, co-workers and those in need.
The question that had us compare the lists of the Tribes of Israel through Genesis and here in Deuteronomy really made me step back and think.
The first list in Genesis 29 is in birth order, from first born to last. This is chronological and important for inheritance.
The second list in Genesis 49 is sorted by birth mother. This is structured around the relationship that Jacob had with the women who gave birth to these sons.
The third list in Deuteronomy is roughly sorted by position in the camp. The western tribes together, the northern tribes, etc. This is structured around the relationship between the tribes and the temple of God.
So we have chronology and history. The choices of the parents influence and impact future generations. God’s promises of blessings to parents can span to their offspring. We have relationships with each other and we have relationships with God and His presence in our lives. All of these are important to God.
But there are exceptions in the last list. Reuben, Judah, Levi and Simeon are not presented in the order of their position around the tabernacle as are the others. I am not a bible scholar, but I think there may be a message in this.
Reuben was the first born. He represents the inheritance. The promise of God to Abraham, repeated to Jacob. He reflects the continued fulfillment of God’s covenant relationship with Abraham.
Judah is the lineage of Jesus. He represents the saving grace of Christ who came first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles.
Levi is the the priesthood and the law. He represents justice and sacrifice and teaching; correlations to attributes of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
With this in mind, it is interesting that these three were pulled out separate and first. First, Reuben. As God came first Abraham and his descendents. They were to be his people and He was their God. Second, Judah. The New Covenant of salvation through faith by grace. Not because of who we are but because of what He has done. Then Levi, the law bridges the old and new. Christ said He did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.
And what of Simeon. Again, I don’t know, but one consistent biblical message is that each generation, each nation, each tribe, family and person gets choice. They are loved by God. They are desired by God, but they choose whether to receive God’s blessing or not. Simeon was part of the southern tribes. Members from the southern tribes were involved in most of the rebellions in the wilderness. Simeon’s portion in the promised land is within the boundaries of Judah. The tribe becomes somewhat scattered as foretold by Jacob in Genesis 49.
While all these blessings were to the tribes of Israel, I think it is important to note that they reflect God’s power and authority. He had the ability to provide and fulfill each of these blessings then and He has that same power today in your life and in mine.
Gen 29 lists in birth order 12, Gen 49 is blessings from Jacob, listed by mother – 12+2, Deut is blessing from Moses, listed roughly by position around the tabernacle (western tribes together, northern together), Simeon not listed, 11+2
Reub, live not die
Judah, Lord help against foes
Levi, teach God’s law and incense
Ben, rest secure, shielded and loved
Joe, fruitful land
Zeb/Issach, treasures sea and sand
Gad, chose best, carried out Lord’s righteous will
Dan, lion’s cub springing on prey
Napht, blessed by God, SW land by lake
Ash, favored by bros, strong all his life
teach God’s law, carryout His righteous will, be favored by brothers and strong all life, rest secure and be shielded and loved
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