“… Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.” Deuteronomy 33:12
This verse is in the prayer Moses prayed over the tribes of Israel just before He died. As he looked out over a promised land they would move into without him, his words about each tribe are beautiful and full of hope. This particular prayer is over the tribe of Benjamin.
Of the 12 sons of Jacob, Benjamin is the baby. Born to Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel, who died in childbirth. (Genesis 35) Maybe because the chance for having another child with his Rachel was gone forever, Jacob cherished Benjamin all the more. As the saga of Jacob’s sons plays out throughout the end of Genesis, the sense is that in a family wrought with sibling rivalry, everyone loves baby Ben. Joseph is well regarded as Jacob’s favored, but when he was presumed dead for a time, His father’s affection was fully devoted to Benjamin. He is dearly loved!
Jacob and his sons are long gone by Moses’ day. Their ancestors have supernaturally multiplied under the hardship of slavery in Egypt for 400 years. They experienced the miraculous deliverance in the Passover and Exodus. They have endured the hardship of discipline of wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, watching their parents and grandparents die because they refused to trust God and enter the land when He called them to occupy it. At the point of this blessing, these Benjamites (45,600 men plus women and children according to Numbers 26) have a fearsome task before them. A task that their parents and grandparents had refused: occupy the promised land by God’s power alone. As they stand facing this imposing moment, Moses boldly states this tribe can REST secure in Him because the covenant making, covenant keeping God, the self-existent God shields or covers him in protection all day long. The very God who covenanted with infertile, aging Abraham and made him the father of a vast nation would not fail to cover them in his protection in this new season.
What does it mean to rest between God’s shoulders? Maybe that He carries them as a lamb around the back of his neck between his shoulders? Or like a little girl sitting on a Dad’s shoulders? We know it is meant as a picture of a secure place, being carried by the imperishable strength and the unfailing love of a covenant keeping eternal God.
It is a fear filled time in our world for so many. Covid-19, racial injustice, earthquakes, flood, fires and the grave situation in Afghanistan to name only a few of the threats against the human race. But as I think of the odds this tribe of Benjamin, unarmed and untrained for military battle, faced on this day, they seem every bit as dire. And yet, Moses declares that they can rest secure in a God who loves them and is sovereign enough to guard their lives and the mission He has for their lives.
So what is the call to God’s dearly loved ones? Rest secure in Him!
Moses had seen the hard, the disappointing, the miraculous, the amazing, the impossible become possible. As he went to his death, he could speak certain hope to those he was leaving behind – not because he had faith in them, but because he had faith in a loving and mighty God.
You have also seen the hard, the disappointing, the miraculous and the amazing in your life. You have seen the impossible become possible. Today, will you remember who your Lord is and what He has done? Will you stop trying to secure your life and follow your Lord into a life He has already secured for you? All who turn to God by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are beloved of the Lord. We are shielded with the full armor of God: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, and the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:10-17) There is great evil, but a greater God who calls us to engage for His glory in His redemption purposes in this world. We rest secure and invite others to rest secure. How does that change your perspective today? How does it call you to worship? Pray? And meet the mission He has given you?