Monday, 6 December 2021
Last Thursday, I finished writing about each of the names of the 12 sons of Jacob. As you well know, these became the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. The point in writing about them was to point out how they follow, in order, the change that takes place in the life of each believer who follows Yeshua. Today and tomorrow I want to recap or summarize this teaching so that it becomes seed planted in our hearts.
Let's boil it down to the essentials. On the breastplate of the High Priest there are 12 stones arranged in four rows of three stones each. The names are written in order of birth from top right (as you look at it) to bottom left, because we read Hebrew from right to left. First, I'll give you the narrative by row, then I'll give you the narrative with the names added. Notice how the names speak prophetically over the life of the believer.
Behold the son, listen to Him and you will be connected to Me.
- You will praise the Lord. You will be a judge and you will wrestle with God and man and prevail.
- You will receive wages, you will be happy and you will receive a reward.
- You will dwell with the Lord, you will be increased, and you will become a son of the right hand.
Now, with the names of the 12 tribes inserted ...
- Behold the son (Reuben), listen to Him (Simeon) and you will be connected to Me (Levi).
- You will praise the Lord (Yehudah). You will be a judge (Dan) and you will wrestle with God and man and prevail (Naphtali).
- You will receive wages (Issachar), you will be happy (Asher) and you will receive a reward (Gad).
- You will dwell with the Lord (Zebulun), you will be increased (Joseph), and you will become a son of the right hand (Benjamin).
Notice, that while most of this prophesy is positive, there is some tension, especially in the second row, with the names Dan (judge) and Naphtali (wrestle). Every true follower of Yeshua (including yours truly) repents on more than one occasion. Have you ever wondered why once is never enough? Repent means to become penitent again. To be penitent is to humble yourself and become submissive toward God.
Rabbi Trail: Penitentiaries were designed to provide law breakers with the solitude necessary for repentance so that they would emerge as law abiding citizens. Hence the name. With recidivism at 66% (2 out of 3 offenders will be rearrested within 3 years), this seems to have been lost, or at least isn't working. End RT.
But I digress ... Let me answer my previous question. Why do we continue to repent, even after growing to maturity? Because God, in His mercy, doesn't show us all of our faults all at once. As we grow in Him, we are moving toward God, and the closer we get to Him, the better the light is (because God is light). Therefore; the better we can see our own faults as they are illuminated by His presence. As Dan Juster has taught me, every opportunity is a good opportunity for repentance.
As we grow closer to God, our judgment is "of the Spirit," like Yeshua. Isaiah 11:3-4a His delight will be in the fear of Adonai. He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor decide by what His ears hear. But with righteousness ...
But eventually, "Naphtali," each of us will wrestle with God and man. Not one significant Bible character achieved his or her godly destiny without a struggle. You name one, I can't. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph, all of the prophets, even our New Covenant heroes such as Paul and Peter all had major overcoming to do in their lives. How dare we think we shall be exempt.
God will put each of us through trials to make us stronger. 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has taken hold of you except what is common to mankind. But God is faithful - He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can handle. But with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape, so you will be able to endure it. Keep the faith and don't lose heart.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,