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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.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today speaker is Dr. Steve Pettit, who served as an evangelist for over 29 years before becoming president of Bob Jones University. Turn with me please to the book of Deuteronomy Deuteronomy chapter 33 this morning and were going to look at two verses of Scripture verses 24 and 25 and were 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 and I think we'll see that is, as promised, here in verse 24, 25, Deuteronomy chapter 33.
Let's hear God's word this morning it says and of Asher.
He said let Asher be blessed with children letting be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil by shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy days so shall thy strength be that we pray together. Father I pray you 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. 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 we 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 in his answer was always classic. He said if I was five I was any better there have to be to others. He always lived under the sense of the blessing of God. Let's know the blessing that God gave to the tribe of Asher, he said, and of Asher. He said let as should be blessed with children letting be acceptable to his brethren let him dip his foot in oil that shoot by shoes shall be iron and brass, and as thy days so shall thy strength be. This was made to the tribe of Asher, so what is the name Asher mean well, if you look it up in the Hebrew actually means to be blast or to be happy.
That's the meaning of the name you imagine somebody's last name being glassdoor being happy.
I was your day I'm Steve blessed were glad to meet you about last what's your name on happy Pettit no less money and thereby start smiling because wife because you're happy. I asked a man not long ago was working here on a construction team at Bob Jones I said hello sir how you do it. He said I'm too blessed to be stressed about a man 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 Leon. 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 to other things.
Number one, Leah was not loved by Jacob, compared to Rachel.
He loved Rachel and according to the static Texas Scriptures as he hated Leon that was the comparison, but secondly, Leah could have children and Rachel could so you can 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 torture God she actually named her boys after what she was feeling at the moment so I just read to you a couple of these names in Genesis 29 we read in verse 31 with the Lord saw that Leah was hated and he he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren and Leah conceived and bore a son. She called his name Ruben for she said, because the Lord is looked upon my flexion for now. My husband will love me.
What was 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 Ruben which literally means see a son that's the idea that we read out. Obviously it didn't work, she conceived again and bore a son is said, because the Lord is her that I am hated he's given me this son also and she called his name Simeon word Simeon means heard. In other words, God heard my prayer. God heard that I was hated and so he gave me the son, and then it says and again she conceived and bore a son and she said now this time I husband will be attached to me because I have borne him three sons. Therefore his name will be called Levi in the word Levi means attached. What is her emotional desire for her husband to love her and if he if she gave him sons then he would love her.
Didn't really work.
Probably not listen to the next sons name and she conceived again and bore son is at this time I will praise the Lord.
Therefore she called his name Judah because the word Judah means pray somehow she began to focus her attention not on her husband, loving her, but on God loving her in caring for her and so she began to praise the Lord will awareness Asher come in while the story goes own and Rachel could not have children so she took her hand made her handmade name Bill Haw and Bill Hock gave to go through Jacob gave two sons listen. That's called a dysfunctional family when I will be honest about it and Leah I guess you don't have any more children.
And so she took her handmade silk line Jacob. I guess it was okay with Jacob.
He was fine with it and so he gave birth he had to. She had two sons through Silbaugh and finally she had her last boy, and she named the sun, Asher, Asher, Asher skews me a headset happy Amat 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 their true happiness in a true blessing was beat was was found in the Lord about the way is this not what every one of us really wants do we not want to be blast do we not want to be happy. Well it appears that in Deuteronomy 33 Moses says blessing on the tribe of Asher was of such a state that this tribe was blast more than any other tribe by Moses.
Notice the blessings in specific.
It says in verse 24 in 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, letting be acceptable to his brethren, that means to be favored to have a good name to have a good reputation. They have good connections and then he said let him dip his foot in oil. Oil was from olive oil in it was a symbol of prosperity. So to be able to stick your foot in oil is sort of like saying man this is high cotton. In other words, we're living in a condition of prosperity and so we said they had family.
They had favor and they had prosperity and then he says in verse 25. These words by 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 matter for any explains its meaning when he says, as thy days so shall thy strength be. In other words, he 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 is 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 gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength even youths 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 all 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. 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 my strength be someone is to notice two things about this promise. First of all we see here an implication of weakness as thy days so shall thy strength breed that is each day has its own demand for strength.
Jesus said 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 days 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 strength then you have to become self-aware of your own weakness if you're not aware of your weakness. But how can you trust God for his strength listen to Paul's self-discovery when he had a thorn in the flesh. She said for when I am weak, then am I strong the way we experience God strength is becoming self aware of our own weakness. So how do we become self-aware of our own weakness is 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 Johnson doing our daily duties. Have you found school at Bob Jones University be easy to be a piece of cake.
It's a cake job know 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 enthusiasm, beaming with hope.
Full of energy. The water 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 on top of the education you got so much other stuff going out co-curricular and extracurricular responsibilities, required events, music, societies, internships, jobs, sports, student leadership and so often you feel overwhelmed and that's just your freshman year way to become a junior. It gets worse as the juniors, some of said that your junior year is often considered to be your hardest year and what are you learning your 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 is he do he supplies his fullness. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as 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 affect the way that we think we struggle with struggle with financial pressure. We fight we face relational rejections or we sometimes are verbally attack we face distressing emotional situations from family or friends or dating relationships in every way of suffering you're called to do something that's very hard what you called to do and suffering you were called to be patient and what is it mean to be patient it means to be kind to others it means to be joyful in your in and in your in your spirit. It means to be obedient in your will, and it means to keep on going and and and you 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 Joss 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 to use the illustration. He says when you're on dry land. Most of your 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 and 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 Azure promise as our days, so shall our strength be. We become self-aware of our own weakness.
We try to make progress. We cursed status quo. We cry out for change. We we want improvement.
We want to progress we meet want to go forward.
That's easier said than done. If you ever tried to lose weight. How easy is it to gain that some of you out there irritate me because you can eat all you want and not gain a pound fact is you're losing weight eating like a hawk. But there the rest of the world. It is a struggle if you're trying to learn Greek have ever had organic chemistry tried to pay for college education is not easy.
Sometimes we read the biographies of great Christians will get inspired.
I think I will be just like him, but I try to be just like to find out how hard it is. I want to have more faith but I find is not easy to keep the faith I have. I find I did.
I won't overcome my temptations and I found that I desire the temptation more than I ever had before, and I wanted overcome it.
Sometimes it feels like it's 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 strength. I feel like I'm getting weaker.
I asked the Lord that I might grow in faith and love and every grace my more of his salvation know and seek more earnestly, his face I hope that in some favored our at once.
He'd answer my request and by his loves constraining power subdue my sins and give me rest instead of this he made me feel the hidden evils of my heart.
Let the angry power of hell assault my soul in every part Lord why is this I trembling cried without pursued I warmed to death is in this way, the Lord replied, I answer prayer for grace and faith. You see, it's 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 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 were strong against one sin and we forget that we're weak against another, we may be tempted.
We may not be tempted by pride, but we bow to lust. We may not be tempted to steal or lie, but were overthrown by anger in the 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 wherever the water touched him. He was made in vulnerable.
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 in as 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 through 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 old preacher would say that the temptations and the struggles of his life actually have gotten harder. The older that he got Ike 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 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 the promise, as thy days so shall thy strength be. 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 this people at all times out of his abundance. He gives to us. If you ever stop to consider the three richest people in the world you know they are but names are Elon musk, Bill Gates and Jeff Baeza's if you take their network together altogether. 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 with us and you know that there 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 in our entire country.
All of us would be worth $1.5 million apiece would 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 in 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 she could not keep God backs up his promise with his power but his unlimited power has limits on it. He says God strength is limited to our days.
He doesn't give you grace on Monday for Tuesday. You get Tuesday's grace for Tuesday and Mondays grace for Monday and Wednesdays grace for Wednesday.
That is, you get strength day by day.
God 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 homebrew 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 as you grow older than in the Lord you find that God not only gives you strength for the day.
But God give you strength of the hour and God give 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 receive land in Israel and their land was north what we call-south of Lebanon basically was the Mediterranean coastline. It was some of the most beautiful land because it's basically Levitt 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 brutal beautiful that the priest 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 actual rights were also renowned for the 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 their two old people that meet them there. Once name is Simon, who was a prophet, and one is a woman name Anna who was 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 prop prophetess to testify that Jesus Christ to prophesy that Jesus was the Messiah and listen to what the Scripture says in Luke 35 Luke to verse 36 and there was a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Faneuil well 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 to she spoke about him, to all who are waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. Here is a woman who was a pure Asher right she had been protected from the intermarriage with the Gentiles. She been for her. She somebody and 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 two he keeps what he promised and what he said in Deuteronomy 33 and I want everyone of you sitting here today to know that God keeps his promise, because Jesus is the fulfillment of all of his 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 your week. That's the point. That's why you need a string as your days so your strength Lord we thank you that you give us strength for the day you help us 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 the same time as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform