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1081. The Asher Promise

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
September 20, 2021 7:00 pm

1081. The Asher Promise

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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September 20, 2021 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit delivers a message titled “The Asher Promise” from Deuteronomy 33:24-25.

The post 1081. The Asher Promise appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina. Today's speaker is Dr. Steve Pettit, who served as an evangelist for over 29 years before becoming president of Bob Jones University. We're going to look at a promise that God made to a particular tribe in the land of Israel, but I think it's a very, very important promise that God makes specifically to you and I today. There always should be a connection between what God says in his word and where I'm living today. We'll see that as is promised here in verse 24 and 25 of Deuteronomy chapter 33. Let's hear God's word this morning. It says, and 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.

Thy shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. May we pray together. Father, I pray you'll bless the word this morning for the hearts of every person in this building. Lord, help them to realize that this is your word, you're speaking to us, and therefore what you have said is true for us today.

Help them to embrace the truth in their souls. In Jesus' name, Amen. I just read to you this morning a passage of scripture from Deuteronomy 33. So what's going on in Deuteronomy 33? Well, Moses is giving each of the 12 tribes, the 12 sons of Israel, a particular blessing before he dies. Now these blessings were not predictions about their future, but they actually were things that Moses desired for these tribes and what he expected that God would do for them. So he was blessing them.

Think about it. How wonderful it would be if we could live every single day under the blessing of God. My good friend, evangelist Tom Farrell, who I was privileged to have dinner with, he and his wife on this past Friday evening, I would often call him up and say, hey Tom, how you doing? And his answer was always classic.

He said, if I was any better, there'd have to be two of us. He always lived under the sense of the blessing of God. Well, let's know the blessing that God gave to the tribe of Asher. And of Asher, he said, let Asher be blessed with children.

Let him be acceptable to his brethren. Let him dip his foot in oil, that thy shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. Now this was made to the tribe of Asher. So what does the name Asher mean? Well, if you look it up in the Hebrew, it actually means to be blessed or to be happy. That's the meaning of the name.

Could you imagine somebody's last name being blessed or being happy? Hey, what's your name? I'm Steve blessed. Well, glad to meet you, blessed. What's your name? I'm happy pet him. You know, that's my name.

Yeah. And everybody starts smiling because why? Because you're happy.

I asked a man not long ago who was working here on a construction team at Bob Jones. I said, hello, sir. How are you doing? He said, I'm too blessed to be stressed. I thought, Amen.

He's living with a sense of happiness now. So who was Asher? Well, we know he was one of Jacob's sons. Jacob's name was changed to Israel. So we call them the children of Israel. And we know that his mother was Leah.

Do you remember her? Leah was the sister of Rachel and both sisters were married to the same man. His name was Jacob. And because there was this dual marriage, then there was an ongoing duel between the two sisters. And what made the tension worse beyond having the exact same husband were two other things. Number one, Leah was not loved by Jacob compared to Rachel. He loved Rachel. And according to the text of scripture, it says he hated Leah.

That was the comparison. But secondly, Leah could have children and Rachel couldn't. So you could imagine the tension. And when Leah began to give birth to her sons, she was the one that gave them their names. And the names that she gave to her sons actually reflected her emotional and spiritual response towards her husband and towards her God. She actually named her boys after what she was feeling at the moment. So let me just read to you a couple of these names in Genesis 29.

We read in verse 31. When the Lord saw that Leah was hated and he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son. She called his name Reuben. For she said, because the Lord has looked upon my affliction for now my husband will love me. What was her hope? Her hope was that her husband would love her and he would love her now that she gave birth to a son. And so she named him Reuben, which literally means see a son.

That's the idea of it. Then we read on. Obviously it didn't work. She conceived again and bore a son and said, because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also. And she called his name Simeon. The word Simeon means heard. In other words, God heard my prayer.

God heard that I was hated. And so he gave me this son. And then it says, and again, she conceived and bore a son. And she said, now this time my husband will be attached to me because I have borne him three sons. Therefore, his name will be called Levi.

And the word Levi means attached. What was her emotional desire? For her husband to love her. And if he, if she gave him sons, then he would love her. Did it really work?

Probably not. And listen to the next son's name. And she conceived again and bore a son and said, this time I will praise the Lord. Therefore, she calls his name Judah because the word Judah means praise. Somehow she began to focus her attention not on her husband loving her, but on God loving her and caring for her.

And so she began to praise the Lord. Well, where does Asher come in? Well, the story goes on and Rachel could not have children. So she took her handmaid, her handmaid named Bilhah, and Bilhah gave two, through Jacob, gave two sons. Listen, that's called a dysfunctional family.

We might as well be honest about it. And Leah, I guess she didn't want to have any more children. And so she took her handmaid Zilpah and Jacob, I guess it was okay with Jacob.

He was fine with it. And so he gave birth. He had two, she had two sons through Zilpah. And finally she had her last boy and she named the son Asher, Asher, Asher, excuse me, and had said, happy am I for women have called me happy.

So she named him Asher. In other words, I think at some point in her life, she came to realize that her true happiness and her true blessing was found in the Lord. And by the way, is this not what every one of us really wants? Do we not want to be blessed?

Do we not want to be happy? Well, it appears that in Deuteronomy 33, Moses' blessing on the tribe of Asher was of such a state that this tribe was blessed more than any other tribe by Moses. Notice the blessings in specific.

It says in verse 24, And of Asher, he said, let Asher be blessed with children. That is, they were favored with a big family. That was a sign of God's blessing. Then he said, let him be acceptable to his brethren.

That means to be favored, to have a good name, to have a good reputation, to have good connections. And then he said, let him dip his foot in oil. Oil was from olive oil and it was a symbol of prosperity. So to be able to stick your foot in oil is sort of like us saying, man, this is high cotton.

In other words, we're living in a condition of prosperity. And so he said they had family, they had favor, and they had prosperity. And then he says in verse 25, these words, thy shoes shall be iron and brass.

The word shoe there could be translated the bolt of a gate. And the idea is brass and iron has the idea of great strength. And it's a metaphor and he explains its meaning when he says, as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

In other words, he's saying this, every day has its own set of issues, its own difficulties, its own pressures, its adversities, its adversaries, its needs, its burdens. But what he says to Asher is that God will provide his all-sufficient strength for every single day. And this strength has the idea of being able or being capable to face the task or events of life with the strength of a young man. That's the picture of the word strength. It's the idea of a strong young man. I remember when I was in my early 20s playing soccer and I was running, I felt like I was a stallion. I was running like a strong horse.

Today I waddle like a penguin. The strength I had then I don't have today. And here's what God is saying to Asher and I believe he is saying to all of us, that as thy days, as you go through each day, God will continue to give you his strength. This is the Asher promise.

And this is God's blessing. So as we consider this promise, surely this is something that all of us need today. We need God's strength.

Listen to what God promised through Isaiah. He gives power to the faint and to him who has no might, he increases strength. Even youth shall faint and be weary and young men shall fall exhausted. But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint. As thy days, so shall thy strength be. And what God is promising to every single one of us sitting in this room this morning, that if you're a child of God, he promises a blessing to all of us that all of us can claim. And that is as thy days, so shall thy strength be.

So I want us to notice two things about this promise. First of all, we see here an implication of weakness. As thy days, so shall thy strength be. That is, each day has its own demand for strength. Jesus said it this way, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Every day has its own set of problems. But God promises to supply the strength we need to meet each day's demand. As thy days, so shall thy strength be. Now it is clear that in order for you to really get a hold of God's strength, then you have to become self-aware of your own weakness. If you're not aware of your weakness, then how can you trust God for his strength? Listen to Paul's self-discovery when he had a thorn in the flesh. He said, for when I am weak, then am I strong. The way we experience God's strength is becoming self-aware of our own weakness. So how do we become self-aware of our own weakness? It's easy, just live each day. Because each day has its own set of issues.

For example, we become self-aware of our own weakness just by realizing the difficulty we have in just doing our daily duties. Have you found school at Bob Jones University to be easy? To be a piece of cake? It's a cake job. No, it's hard. For many of us, just getting through the day is a struggle. And right now, what are your days? Your days are getting an education, and that's challenging enough. How many of you have struggled with one particular class?

It's always interesting to me to watch freshmen come to Bob Jones. Boundless in enthusiasm, beaming with hope, full of energy. Then what do they look like six weeks later? They're dragging around thinking they've made the greatest mistake in their life. Life has to be easier than this. I think I'm going to die, or maybe dying may be preferable. Well, what you don't really realize is that God is making you aware of your own weakness. Why?

Because he wants to show you his strength. As thy days, so shall thy strength be. Then on top of the education, you've got so much other stuff going on. Co-curricular, extracurricular, responsibilities, required events, music, societies, internships, jobs, sports, student leadership. And so often you feel overwhelmed, and that's just your freshman year. Wait till you become a junior. It gets worse. Ask the juniors.

Some have said that your junior year is often considered to be your hardest year. And what are you learning? You're becoming self-aware of your own weakness. You see, it's not about you getting stronger, it's about you getting the strength of another. The Bible says without me, Jesus said, you can do what?

You can do nothing. You have to learn that. And you bring your emptiness, and what does he do? He supplies his fullness. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything is coming from us, but our sufficiency is of God. The first step we have to do is become aware of our own weakness. We have to also become self-aware of our weakness, not only through our daily duties, but through the things we suffer. We suffer from physical issues.

Some of you suffer every day physically. Sickness, virus, disease, injuries, and those things affect us. They affect our emotions.

They affect the way that we think. We struggle. We struggle with financial pressure. We face relational rejections, or we sometimes are verbally attacked.

We face distressing emotional situations from family or friends or dating relationships. And in every way of suffering, you're called to do something that's very hard. What are you called to do in suffering?

You are called to be patient. And what does it mean to be patient? It means to be kind to others. It means to be joyful in your spirit.

It means to be obedient in your will, and it means to keep on going. And you don't want to do any of those things when you're suffering. You don't want to be nice. You don't want to be obedient. You don't want to be kind.

You're grumpy. And you want to quit. And it takes an extraordinary amount of strength just to be patient. When you're suffering, every minute seems longer than 60 seconds. When we suffer, we don't do as well as we thought we would do. Spurgeon said it this way about suffering.

He used the illustration. He says, when you're on dry land, most of you are good sailors, but being out at sea, you are vastly different. It's one thing to talk about the fire.

It's another thing to be in the fire. We are all brave when we're not in battle. We are all superheroes in our own imagination. But when we suffer, we begin to understand our own weakness and recognize the importance of the Asher promise. As our days, so shall our strength be.

We become self-aware of our own weakness when we try to make progress. We curse status quo. We cry out for change. We want improvement. We want to progress.

We want to go forward. But that's easier said than done. Have you ever tried to lose weight? How easy is it to gain? Now, some of you out there irritate me because you can eat all you want and not gain a pound. The fact is, you're losing weight eating like a hog.

But they're the rest of the world. And it's a struggle. Have you ever tried to learn Greek? Have you ever had organic chemistry?

Have you ever tried to pay for a college education? It's not easy. Sometimes we read the biographies of great Christians and we get inspired.

I think I want to be just like them until I try to be just like them. And I find out how hard it is. I want to have more faith, but I find it's not easy to keep the faith I have. I find I want to overcome my temptations, and I found that I desire the temptation more than I ever had before when I wanted to overcome it. Sometimes it feels like my spiritual life is two steps forward and three steps backwards.

Not a lot of progress. I even have discovered that when I pray for God's strength, I feel like I'm getting weaker. I ask the Lord that I might grow in faith and love in every grace. Might more of his salvation know and seek more earnestly his face.

I hope that in some favored hour at once, he'd answer my request and by his love's constraining power, subdue my sins and give me rest. Instead of this, he made me fill the hidden evils of my heart and let the angry power of hell assault my soul in every part. Lord, why is this?

I trembling cried. Will thou pursue thy worm to death? Tis in this way, the Lord replied, I answer prayer for grace and faith. You see, it's almost a paradox. In order for us to grow upward, we have to go downward. In order to be strong, we have to experience weakness. We become self-aware of our own weakness when we yield so quickly to temptations. You're not as strong as you think you are. It's like Peter, who was ready to die in battle for Jesus and soon wilted before the threats of a little girl.

Wow, what a man. We often fall because we think we're strong against one sin and we forget that we're weak against another. We may not be tempted by pride, but we bow to lust.

We may not be tempted to steal or lie, but we're overthrown by anger, envy, bitterness, or malice. According to Greek mythology, Achilles was dipped in the river Styx at birth by his mother. She held him by the heel, and wherever the water touched him, he was made invulnerable. However, his heel, not being covered with water, became vulnerable, and during the Trojan War, his enemy Paris shot his arrow into his heel, and Achilles died.

And as it was with Achilles, so it is with us. We all have weaknesses, and Satan fires his fiery darts at our weaknesses. You become self-aware through the temptations of your weaknesses, the temptations that you experience, and you become self-aware of your own weakness by simply getting older. I remember when I was your age, and an old preacher would say that the temptations and the struggles of his life actually have gotten harder the older that he got.

I would say that wasn't very encouraging sitting where you are. Well, let me say that what he said is true. You would think that the older a Christian gets, the more days he lives, he would feel stronger. But in reality, he feels a greater sense of his own weakness, and that he should rely more upon the strength of God now than he ever has in his life. But God gives us a promise. As thy days, so shall thy strength be. And what's the second thing that we see here? We see not only the implication of weakness, but we see the promise of strength. As thy days, so shall thy strength be.

Out of God's own omnipotence, he is guaranteed strength for all of his people at all times out of his abundance he gives to us. Have you ever stopped to consider the three richest people in the world? Do you know who they are? His names are Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos. If you take their net worth together all together, the three men are worth over $500 billion.

By the way, they'll never spend that much money in their life. I think they should share it with us. And do you know that there are 330 million people living in the United States of America, and if those three men would just take their net worth and divide it to every single American in the United States and our entire country, all of us would be worth $1.5 million apiece. We'd all be millionaires.

I think I can handle that. I think we can solve all of our financial problems from three guys, amen? Out of their abundance, we are made wealthy. Well, if that's the wealth of three puny men whose days are numbered and one day they will all be swallowed up by death, what about the one who will one day bodily raise millions of people from the dead in a moment and in a twinkling of an eye? And the Bible says God backs up every promise with his own power. As thy days, so shall thy strength be.

The one who spoke the world into existence and holds the world together by his own power would never make a promise he could not keep. God backs up his promise with his power, but his unlimited power has limits on it. He says God's strength is limited to our days. He doesn't give you grace on Monday for Tuesday.

You get Tuesday's grace for Tuesday and Monday's grace for Monday and Wednesday's grace for Wednesday. You get strength day by day. God's strength is limited to what we face in reality, not what we face in our imaginations. Some of you manufacture your own troubles.

It's called home-brewed troubles. You create your own fears in your own imagination, but what God says is I am going to give you all the strength you need for the day that you're living in. And as you grow older in the Lord, you'll find that God not only gives you strength for the day, but God gives you strength for the hour, and God gives you strength for the minute. God gives you everything that you need every day. Now as we finish, how did God keep the promise to the tribe of Asher?

And I want to finish very quickly. The tribe of Asher was one of the 12 tribes that received land in Israel, and their land was north of what we call Haifa, south of Lebanon. Basically, it was the Mediterranean coastline.

It was some of the most beautiful land because it's basically southern Lebanon today. The tribe of Asher, according to Jewish history, was blessed with many male children. They say that the women of the tribe of Asher were so beautiful that the priests and the princes sought to marry them.

The abundance of oil was so great that they provided oil for the rest of the country, and the Asher rights were also renowned for their wisdom. However, they were conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC, and they became a part of the lost tribes of Israel. That means they were intermarried with the Gentiles, and they totally lost their Jewishness. And it's almost like Asher drops off the scene until Luke chapter 2 when Jesus is brought to the temple, and there are two old people that meet him there. One's name is Simon, who is a prophet, and one is a woman named Anna, who is a prophetess. And by the way, in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall be established, and God took a man and a woman, a prophet and a prophetess, to testify that Jesus Christ, to prophesy that Jesus was the Messiah.

And listen to what the scripture says in Luke 2, verse 36. And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in age.

She was at least 84 years old. She worshiped God. She fasted and prayed in the temple day and night. And when she saw the Lord, she spoke about him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Here is a woman who was a pure Asherite. She had been protected from the intermarriage with the Gentiles. Somebody in her family had been protected for over 700 years, and she was able to worship God in the temple. She was old, and yet God kept her strong. And at the very end of her life, she actually gave a biblical prophecy, and that is that Jesus was the redeemer of Israel. And I believe what God was telling us in Luke 2, He keeps what He promised and what He said in Deuteronomy 33.

And I want every one of you sitting here today to know that God keeps His promise because Jesus is the fulfillment of all of those promises. And in Him, we have unlimited strength. You have, you have in Jesus Christ all the strength that you need. Now you say, I feel so weak. Of course you're weak.

That's the point. That's why you need His strength. As your days, so will your strength be. Lord, we thank you that you give us strength for the day. You help us. And Lord, help us to trust you and to lean on your strong arm. In Jesus' name, Amen. We hope you'll join us again tomorrow at this same time as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-20 08:00:35 / 2023-08-20 08:11:05 / 11

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