Deuteronomy 33

Tribes are great, families are better.

Moses’ song in the last chapter had a lot of bleak elements, but his final blessings to each tribe and all of Israel here are affectionate, strong and optimistic.

It starts majestically with Gods coming compared to the dawn reaching the tops of the mountains where they met him. They ascended the holy mountains, God descended to meet them. Israel would sing songs about that as they climbed to the temple.

Moses addresses each tribe like the person they are named for. We learn what God wants for them, what he values in them, and how he will help them.

Judah is the defender, he promises help.  God loves Levi’s single minded dedication, he will help them teach and guide the people.

Benjamin’s blessing recalls that he was a favourite child of Jacob, and anticipates that their land will include the temple. They are protected and protectors.

Joseph is greatly blessed, recalling the dreams he had of sun and moon bowing to him, and will bless greatly.

And so on, the characters of the tribal founders are linked to the land their tribes will inherit, and strength and abundance are wished for them.

Then the strengths and blessings of each are extended to all, the one nation has all the blessings of its parts, like a family. “Who is like you” Moses asks finally “a people saved by the lord?”

We are, Christians are like them.

We spend so much time disagreeing.  It’s not that there is never a good reason to disagree, but it needs to be in context as the smaller part of our relationship.

When I meet another Christian, I should focus on the blessing God has given to them, their blessing is the blessing of us all.

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