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Monday, August 3, 2015

Not Unloved and Left Out: A Deuteronomy 33 Devotional



After Moses taught a song of God’s might, His foretelling of the Israelites' future forsaking of God, and God’s love and compassion, he spoke one more time to the Israelites. He offered a blessing to the tribes of Israel. Deuteronomy 33 is the record of Moses’ blessing of the tribes.
Upon quick perusal, everything looks in order. Yet when one notes each of the blessings and recipients, an omission appears. It looks as if Moses did not bless the tribe of Simeon. He blessed Reuben, Judah, Levi, Benjamin, Joseph, Zebulun and Issachar, Gad, Dan, Napthtali, and Asher, but did not mention Simeon. Is this a slight or a mere slip up on Moses’ part?
Upon studying the passage closer, one notes that Moses’ blessings relate to the strengths and pasts of each tribe. In this study, one finds that verses eight through ten relate very well to Levi, but verse eleven does not. Levi did not “contend for power.” Biblical scholars have for centuries pondered this and come up with ideas why Simeon goes unmentioned, then realized this verse, eleven, did not line up with Levi. With their knowledge of the Old Testament, the majority of the scholars recognize verse eleven more aptly applies to the tribe of Judah. Considering, too,  that Simeon’s inherited land was within the boundaries of Judah (see Joshua 19:1), these scholars concluded that the blessings of Judah apply to Simeon. The tribe of Simeon received the same blessings as the tribe of Judah.[1]
We need to understand though, yes, Moses seemed to omit the tribe of Simeon, but his tribe was not unblessed. If you will read verses three through five and twenty-six through twenty-nine, you will see Moses blessed the entirety of Israel. The LORD was the God of Jeshurun (the symbolic name for Israel, the “upright one”) (vs. 5 & 26). Moses said He loved the people and made them His holy ones. They received His words and the LORD was their king (vs. 3 & 5). He carried them, drove out their enemies and protected them, and blessed them with everything they needed. All the tribes of Israel were blessed by the LORD God’s choosing of them to be His holy people.
Now considering this, we need to relate that to ourselves. Times in our lives have or will occur where we think others slighted or forgot us. We might note someone else was noted and highlighted for their deeds and awarded for such, but we were not. Those are the times where we must remember the God of Jeshurun. As the adopted children of God through because of each believer’s faith in Jesus Christ, we receive the inheritance of Abraham. God proclaims us righteous through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. As such, we receive the blessings of God through Abraham given to his children, his descendants – the tribes of Israel. Our blessings, no longer rewards because we cannot earn them, come from God just as the Israelites’ blessings came from the LORD God.
What I am saying is that whether we receive an honor or award here on earth to recognize work well done, we, as followers of Jesus Christ, receive blessings from the one and only God of heaven and earth as His adopted children. His blessings are protection, provision, chosen-ness and exaltation, resurrection, and eternal life with Him. Human recognition feels good. Being noticed and awarded by those for whom we work or by whom we look up to is wonderful, yet is temporary. Those things pass away. God’s blessings, as Moses spoke over the whole tribe of Israel, are eternal. They last and nothing can take them away from us or remove His hand from us.
If you feel forgotten, overlooked, and left out, remember, as a child of God, you are promised and already receive the greater blessing – the love of the Lord God and the hope of eternal life with Him. If you are not a believer yet, ask the Lord to make Himself real to you. Believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God who died to pay your sin punishment. Confess Him as your Lord and Savior. After this, you will be a child of God and will always know you are loved and will receive the blessings of God as Moses mentioned in Deuteronomy 33 and as are mentioned throughout the Bible.
Today’s the day – recognize God’s love, accept His grace and forgiveness, receive His blessings.





[1] Bertholet, Wellhausen, Von Rad, et. al. http://jbq.jewishbible.org/assets/Uploads/4/jbq_4_2_final.pdf.  Winter 1975-76 (pp. 51-55).