These words are found in the passage which describes the blessings Moses gave to each of the twelve tribes of Israel before they entered the Promised Land. These five simple words are found in the blessing for the tribe of Asher. In these five words, the Lord assures His strength to those who belong to His covenantal family.
Strength can be observed in at least three different ways: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There are sure to be those who may measure one’s strength materially, educationally, etc. However, for the sake of commentary, we will focus on the three stated above.
Though our physical strength may wane as we get older, God promises His supply of strength to be sufficient for one’s days. The days are fleeting and they are many times exhausting. Oftentimes, people live to work… surrendering to the demands of a grueling schedule and workload for the benefits of financial security to support the costs associated with home ownership, sustenance, clothing, education, entertainment, etc. Others may choose working to live: carefully preparing for a vocation that allows one to enjoy one’s work as well as one’s personal pursuits. We can thank God that in either scenario, He offers strength to meet each day’s demands. (Psalm 23; Isaiah 40:29-31)
One’s emotional makeup is comprised of a myriad of sources from both heredity and environment that are often securely stored in the vault of our minds. If we take these five simple words to heart, we can be assured that God’s strength will empower us to overcome past hurts, failures, regrets, compromises, and even our natural bent toward depression, anger, confusion, etc. As God’s children, we are allowed access to Him for comfort, forgiveness, wisdom, and assurance to be overcomers through the strength found in Christ that works in and through us. In fact, the Bible describes the joy we find in Him becomes our very strength. (Nehemiah 8:10; Psalms 3, 27, 28, 46, & 91, 119:28; Romans 8:29-31; 2 Corinthians 12:8-10; Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:13)
Strength can also come to the Christ follower as a resource for spiritual battle. We are called to stand firm against the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:10-17); to destroy the spiritual forces of strongholds in our lives, as well as others lives (2 Corinthians 10:3-4); to understand what feeds the evil within ourselves, so that we can deny its source of strength and defeat it (1 Peter 2:11); to be confident in our Advocate (Luke 22:31-32); to understand the dynamics of the battle (2 Chronicles 32:6-8; Joshua 1:9; 1 Peter 4:12-13; 2 Timothy 2:3; Hebrews 3:13).
The name Asher is said to be derived from the Hebrew word for happiness or joy. In fact, the passage that describes the event of Asher’s birth reveals that his birth mother did not name him. Leah named Asher. His birth mother was Zilpah. It’s an intriguing story found in Genesis 29-31.
Isn’t it fitting that the tribe Asher would know strength through their days? Actually, Moses was speaking to the entire Israelite nation through a play on words, reminding the nation that the joy of the Lord is one’s strength, words that Nehemiah would use to encourage the nation many years later when, upon hearing God’s Word proclaimed by Ezra and other priests, lamented their sin (Nehemiah 8:10). Perhaps that is why David prayed, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation…” (Psalm 51:12)
As we draw near to God in His Word and in Worship, we may sense our deep need for His power to work in us to make us worthy for His Kingdom's work and to carry His name. (Isaiah 6:1-8) O Believer, keep the faith. Carry on in the strength of His might and by the joy of His salvation.
Counting it all joy to know His strength in weakness,