Strength of Days


Elder Mark D. Rowell

Genesis 49:20 “Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.”

To lay a little foundation for our thoughts today, I’d like to briefly look at Asher. The blessing of Asher by his father Jacob is one of the shortest ones he gave to all his sons. I think only Naphtali’s was shorter by intent and number of words. Obviously the blessing was direct and to the point, especially compared to Judah, Joseph and some of the others. However, I believe Asher’s blessing carries a very personal reference that translates to the Children of God today on the same personal, day-to-day way, that it did for Asher and his posterity.

Not to spend too much time on geography, but in an effort to show the application, Asher possessed land to the west and north in Canaan. It was part of the coast and therefore fertile. Secular historians say this land was ripe with oil and that, during famines, the Land of Asher would become the sole supplier of olive oil for the rest of Israel. In the next blessing we read of Asher, it’s said that brass and copper were plentiful in the land as well. With all this information, it’s hard not to see why Asher’s name translates to ‘happy’!

“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.” Deut. 33:24-25

Moses is now the speaker and he is blessing the Tribes of Israel before he dies, and before Israel begins its conquest of Canaan. Again, the blessing is a really good one! He says the Tribe of Asher will be blessed with children and will be allied with Israel in several ways. He also lends credence to the abundance of oil found in his land, and to the idea that iron and copper would be plentiful in the land. Sounds really good, doesn’t it? Indeed! However, of all we’ve read to this point, the best part of the blessing is now upon us! While we see how the entirety of the blessing holds aspects of our own lives, it’s this last part of Moses’ blessing that brings the greatest comfort!

Moses was inspired to speak the words “…as thy days, so shall thy strength be…” in blessing the Tribe of Asher but aren’t you thankful today that these are our blessings too? Paul says the old testament scriptures were “…written for our learning…” and this blessing is a part of that. We have no strength of our own. We, being sinners by nature and practice, find ourselves without help and without hope when it comes to what we can do of our own selves. You see, Moses wasn’t telling the children of Asher that their strength was there own. Asher didn’t make the land they inherited the way it was. They didn’t put the copper and iron into the ground; they didn’t make it fertile for growing of grain and olive trees; they didn’t lay any of that foundation, but the Lord did! So when it comes to strength, we must realize that we didn’t conure up our own strength. Rather, our strength comes for the Lord, just like all our other blessings.

“He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” Isa 40:29

While we do have Biblical examples of physical strength beyond natural explanation, such as Samson and David, and that strength was given by the Lord as well, the more applicable strength that we so often find ourselves in need of is spiritual rather than physical. When we are weak, then we are strong, because the Lord increases the strength of the faint. When it seems that we cannot take another step in this life, we find that our Lord lifts us up and gives us “strength as our day is.” This blessing is a promise from God to His children, that as long as we live, He will always be the source of our true strength, and that of the inward man.
“…though our outward man perish, the inward man is renewed day by day.” 2 Cor 4:16

Regardless of what happens to our outward man, the Lord brings daily strengthening to the inward man. Our hope, faith, and love are strengthened to the extent that, in spite of our daily aging bodies, our eyes are fixed heaven-ward in great anticipation of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ! Even in our darkest hour, when we think all is lost, the Lord strengthens us! In fact, it’s at those times when we feel His strength the most!  “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9

The Apostle Paul was well aware of his weakness (infirmities) and that how even in that state, God’s strength is made perfect, because, in spite of just how weak we are, His strength is always perfect! It’s because of “..his mercies that we are not consumed..” God hasn’t promised that each day won’t be without toils, troubles, temptations, and so on, but according to the blessing given to Asher, as many are our days, so shall our strength be, because of HIS faithfulness! There’s a song we often sing in our worship services called “God’s Promise.” It was one of Sister Marie Bass’ favorite songs. It eloquently captures the theme of our life. The second verse goes something like this:

“But God has promised strength as our day, rest when we labor, light on the way, faith for our trials, help from above, unfading kindness, undying love.” What a promise from our Heavenly Father! Without Him, we can do nothing, but by Him, we can do all things “…through Christ, which stregtheneth me.”