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WHAT’S IN A NAME?

“ASHER”

“And Zilpah, Leah’s maid, bare Jacob a second son, and Leah said, Happy am I for the daughters will call me blessed. She called his name Asher” (Gen. 30:12).

There is no time reference given in the scriptures between the birth of Gad and the conception of the second son by the handmaid Zilpah. Speculation could run rampant in trying to assign some sort of temporal logic or reason to the mess that has developed in the house of Jacob but what cannot be disputed is that at the appropriate time, Jacob resumed sexual relations with Zilpah and God gave her conception. The frustration of Rachel’s barrenness continued as the elation of Leah escalated and the despair of the handmaidens deepened with the news of the impending arrival of another child. Jacob did not love Leah and he regarded Bilhah and Zilpah as nothing more than that of concubines. He had no love for them and did not give them the respect of true wives.

This is the last time Zilpah is mentioned as an individual and even now, during her child bearing, we know nothing about her save that her name means, ‘trickled out’ like myrrh. Nearly all of her life was spent in servitude. First she is in the house of Laben who, upon the deceptive marriage of his first born, gives her to Leah as her personal maid or, female slave. She assists Leah with the births of her first four children and now, for the second time, she is humbled before Jacob as a surrogate mother. Her life was not a rippling brook meandering through the countryside or a mighty river carving the rocks of the gorge. Her life was a trickle, like the sap of a tree oozing from under the bark. Laben regarded her as a commodity to be given away, Leah regarded her as the means to an end whereby she would win Jacob’s love and Jacob regarded her as a necessary instrument in building and raising his family. Jacob did not care for what was proper, kind or respectable. The blessing from his father was that Jehovah God was going to make him fruitful and multiply him into a great people to inherit the blessing of the land that God had given to Abraham (Gen. 28:3). How these events came to pass was indeed as it was ordained of old and according to the eternal will of God yet they were manifested through the deviance, arrogance and ignorance of the flesh of Jacob and his women.

The absence of care and utter contempt for both of these surrogate mothers is ultimately demonstrated when, in fear of his brother Esau, Jacob placed Bilhah, Zilpah and their children as the first line of defense. They were treated as expendable property that could be sacrificed to protect the rest of his house from the wrath and evil of the one he deprived of his inheritance. First he sends out spies to locate Esau who attempt to parley with him for mercy. Esau had not even sent a message to his brother and yet Jacob is “greatly afraid and distressed”. He is so presumptuously fearful that he divides his family, flocks, herds and camels into two bands hoping that when Esau descended upon him in the vengeance of his wrath, half of the possessions could be salvaged and escape. He then attempts to pray to the God of his father Abraham and Isaac for protection and deliverance while reminding God of the promise He made. He even, in attempt to curry favour with God and His passion, elaborates upon this plea for protection by informing Jehovah that, although Esau may indeed slay him, he may also slay “the mother with the children”. He then continues this charade of this parley with his brother by sending a ‘gift’ to Esau in hopes of buying him off but, again, to no avail. Even after a night of great wrestling with the Messenger of God, Jacob, the man, still demonstrates no evidence of faith. Seeing Esau and his four hundred men advancing, he sends forth the handmaids and their children. He abases himself by bowing seven times before the one whom God said should serve him and then causes the remainder of his family to follow suit, bowing in obeisance. (It is most significant that the only one who did not bow unto Esau, who is Edom and Adam, is the ‘son of my right hand’ Benjamin for he had not yet been born. He is the only true son of Israel as all others were born before Jacob’s name was changed. He represents the Son of Man who took on the form of a servant when He became a partaker of the flesh but was never brought under the bondage of the corruption of the flesh.)

Does the conduct of Jacob sound like a stalwart champion of faith that the religions of the world would represent? When has man in his wisdom extolled the wonder of Jacob’s lechery and what about his insensitivity and complacency towards the mothers of his children? Do we see him walking by the faith of Jehovah when it was told him of the approaching Esau? Was he content with the trials that lay before him and the tribulations that God had set as necessary for his good? Does he, by faith, trust in the sovereign will of Almighty God or does he beg for God to save his hide? Jacob acted, according to the ordained will of God from before time began, with all the natural attributes of his father Adam. His fear was based on presumptive speculation, the course of action he took relied upon the means at his disposal and his solution, to the alleged impending calamity, was completely carnal and ineffective. As the child of promise, indeed a child of grace, he most assuredly walked by faith after the Spirit within, being born from above, for faith is the evidence of the Spirit. Yet, after the flesh, being carnal, sold under sin, he walked by sight trusting in the arm of the flesh and the wisdom of man. Zilpah meant virtually nothing to Jacob and this was the life she was assigned by the decree of the Creator.

Many would take offence to this exploitation and humiliation demanding the rights and protection of this abused woman and endangered children. Whereas we would never condone such deplorable conduct we must and do affirm that this is the course afore ordained by God and it was for good, to the called, according to His purpose. We are sure that Zilpah did not consider it a pleasant experience to be abased, as she was, and then to be cast aside as expendable. Certainly the ramifications of these continued conjugal encounters, between Jacob and his ‘wives’, did not give his Beloved wife Rachel, any reasons to rejoice. The strutting and gloating of Leah about her accomplishments were worn as an old oversized cloak to conceal the bitterness and frustration she felt inside. Today this would be called a dysfunctional family but God called it the foundation for the nation of Israel. No one can contend and conclude that these matters are good unless it has been revealed from above, taught by the Spirit and understood with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. ALL things, persons, places, things, thoughts, words, deeds and intentions are orchestrated together and interwoven for good, according to the complete and perfect will of God, for His Bride, according to His purpose.

These detestable actions and passions of Adam, displaying all selfishness and conceit, are not contrary to the divine construction and performance of creation. They do not frustrate the intent or direction that the Creator purposed in Himself before He fashioned all things. They are intricately necessary elements of the design which became manifest, in the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth. In the same manner that the creation of God declares the glory of Jehovah in all His might and wisdom, so the actions of man declare that same glory as they manifest his corruption and weakness. Adam shall never ascend to the likeness or attributes of divine nature, for he has not the mind of God and cannot receive the things of the Spirit. Likewise, Jehovah God shall never descend to or be brought down to the death, defilement and ignorance of that which He created. When He became a partaker of flesh and blood, He was not a partaker of the death in Adam, for in Him was no guile found. He was the perfect man, the firstborn without spot or blemish, that He might present Himself the perfect sacrifice for sin and when it pleased the Father to lay upon Him the right of the ‘scape goat’ He who knew no sin became the sin of His people’. He endured the judgment of God, being made the sin of His people, but He entered into this Holy endeavour without blood for Himself because He was without sin.

Do we insinuate that Christ was not fully cognizant of the nature of Adam? Not in the least bit, rather we affirm that He was tempted in all points and in like manner as each of His children are, with the same passions, sensations and feelings, yet without sin. God created the nature of Adam in the beginning when He breathed into the earthen vessel of man and made him a living spirit and He experienced every one of these passions as He, the Son of Man, “endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself”.

The soul of Adam died in the garden when he hearkened unto the voice of his wife, took the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and did eat. The eyes of both Adam and his wife were opened to see their nakedness but they became blind to the perfection of the Holiness of God. Adam, in his zeal to make amends for this conduct, attempted to cover his sin with the fruit of the earth. He was dead in trespasses and sin and alive unto the passions of the flesh. Herein is the bondage of corruption.

The eyes of the ‘Branch’, the servant of the Most high, were not blind to the ways of the flesh. He knew the Holiness of God, He knew the frailty of the flesh and He endured this contradiction being in full command of His faculties. He indeed was in bondage to no one. He was completely willing to be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, for this is the will of the Father. Being one with His people in all things, He could no more refuse their sin than Adam could have denied Eve and hers. This experimental knowledge was not a simple awareness of or the acquisition of facts by research or study but was indeed such a personal experience that He wept, as it were, great drops of blood in the agony of the garden of the ‘olive press’ (Gath-semane).

Jacob and his household had no such knowledge, command or control of their Adamic nature. They acted out the fears, despair and conceit that they possessed in that nature for the sole purpose of self-aggrandizement and preservation. There was no thought of divine order or eternal plan as carnal passion was empowered to lead the way in the course afore prepared of God for each of these people to walk. God set the course according to His purpose, erected the stage of time in which to display the performance and empowered each actor with every thought, word and deed to properly manifest His perfect will. Now Leah is center stage as she continues to extol her virtue, her legacy and her achievements.

“And she called his name Asher”.

Leah is by no means ‘happy’. Although her relations with Jacob have continued, she is perplexed that she cannot conceive. The man whose love she is attempting to secure is having sexual relations with her handmaiden and is now with child. Her ‘little’ sister is still the ‘Alpha’ female in the house she has still not proven herself worthy to Jacob. Now she takes her petition to the court of public opinion and, producing the evidence of temporal logic, “for the things which are seen are temporal” (II Cor. 4:18), she pleas her righteousness based upon the preponderance of the evidence of another child. Surely God would not ‘reward’ the inheritance of children (Ps. 127:3) to one who was wicked. “Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon the earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short and the joy of the hypocrite for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish for ever like his dung. They which have seen him shall say, where is he?” (Job 20:5f). These are the words of a fool and the logic of a miserable comforter who has uttered vain words without wisdom, (Zophar to Job).

The name Asher comes from a root word, ‘eshar’ which means “to be straight or right”. It also carries with it the idea of walking straight or upright and to make progress and advance. All of these aspects of the word indicate the concept of being blessed or happy while being ‘set aright’. It is not a matter of being blessed because of ‘walking rightly’ but a case of being enabled to do that which is right, contrary to nature. “Blessed (‘esher’) is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Ps. 1:1).

So when Leah makes her proclamation of being ‘happy’ she uses the same word as the name Asher. And when she states that the daughters will call her ‘blessed’ she again invokes a derivation of the word ‘Asher’. Her meaning is, that because she has conducted these maternal affairs in an ‘upright’ manner, which has again resulted in another child, she will be deemed ‘blessed’ of God. Her cause is evaluated and judged as righteous before God and her quest is advanced by her actions. Therefore she called the name of the child, “Asher’.

Leah is preaching good old fashion conditionalism. She is proclaiming a god who is not Jehovah, for He is not a respecter of persons or actions. He has, from before any good or any evil has been performed, set His decree to command and control each and every thought, word and deed of all that He has created. There is not, never has been nor ever shall be an event, intention or imagination which could prompt Him to react and cause Him to alter His determinate counsel. His favour cannot be curried nor His grace procured. His word is fixed for all eternity and the power of His will is the cause of whatsoever comes to pass, for the purpose, that man may know that He is God. (Is. 48:3).

To insinuate that, by the devices of man, whether they are of good intentions, magnificently beautiful works or art or craft or magnanimous philanthropic or altruistic endeavours, a blessing may be called down from heaven and obtained from God is to make the King of the universe equal to frail man who can be bought and sold. It is to reduce the Almighty Creator to the level of corruption and disgrace that His creatures have attained to when they were given over to the lusts and desires of the flesh in deference to His Holiness. It reduces the bountiful blessings which God has given to His children because of His love for them to a mere commodity whose value rises and falls with supply and demand. It defies the omniscient nature of God who ordained all things whatsoever comes to pass, the omnipotence of God who is the first cause of every cause and the Holiness of God whose eyes are to pure as to behold iniquity. And through all of this, it elevates vile, sinful man, who cannot measure up to the standard of the Holiness of God, to a position greater than God because it makes God subservient to the wishes of man.

Leah has stated that she has ‘walked uprightly’ before God. Such unbridled arrogance is not spoken by a child of grace who has been taught of the Spirit that there is none righteous (Rms. 3:10). They know that no good thing dwells in the flesh of Adam and no works of their hands can please God but are accounted as bloody rages when compared to His excellent standard. Yet as He has ordained the steps of the mighty man of old (Ps. 37:23) and as He has directed the way of man to walk (Jer. 10:23) so every man shall walk. If Jehovah has ordained that a vessel of wrath, reserved unto the day of judgment and brought forth in the day of wrath (Job 21:30) is to be outfitted for destruction (Rms.9:22) and if He has placed the seed of the serpent within that vessel causing it to be estranged from the womb and go astray speaking lies (Ps. 58:3) and He worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11), how then shall that natural brute beast made to be taken out and destroyed (2 Peter 2:12) walk? Shall he, by the desires and imaginations of his heart, wherein he desperately seeks the things of this world, persuade God by his sincerity, of his worthiness? Shall the combined efforts of the self-righteous gain them an audience before the throne of grace wherein they may present the works of their hands and establish their value to the Godhead (Matt. 7:22)?

Leah had walked, in all her treachery and deceit, exactly as God had afore programmed her to walk. Her arrogance and exaggerated self-confidence manifested the nature within, for that which proceeds out of the mouth defiles man (Matt. 15:11). Her relentless pursuit and bitterness towards Rachel is consistent with that of her ancient kin, Cain, whose hatred led him to murder his brother Abel. Both of these had no concern for the welfare of others or the havoc and chaos that accompanied them. Lies were a means to the end and truth was expendable.

The conclusion of Leah, that the blessing of God was upon her because of her quality of life and cleanliness of hands, is the presumption of every religious work monger who believes with all their heart that they can turn the mind of God. They preach and attempt to practice the philosophy that doing ones best can prompt Jehovah to open the windows of heaven and pour out the showers of blessings upon these most ‘profitable’ workers. This belief is earnest and passionate and it translates into some very moral and civil conduct that is often misappropriated as being like Christ. This ‘faith’ has been given to these religious people by the hand of the same God they are trying to impress with their works of righteousness. But He has not given them true faith whereby they please Him, He has blinded them to the truth and sent unto them strong delusion that they may believe the lie as being truth. They call wickedness, righteousness and delight in the delicacies of this world which are abominations before the Ancient of Days.

Yet this ‘faith’ stands as a testimony against them to the day when the Great Judge shall require of them why they built these high places to the another lord (Baal) and placed them in the valley of sons of the lamentation (Hinnom). There shall be two witnesses, the law and the prophets, that shall condemn all who have turned their backs and believed not His Word. He shall demand an account of why they caused their sons and daughters to be purified (pass through the fire) of another king (Molech)? These things were not commanded by God when he spoke on the mount and gave the pattern of heavenly things in the wilderness. It was not the intent of His meaning that they should take that which was intended for praise unto God to fall short of His glory (Jer. 32:35). There was no liberty granted whereby the truth should be made a lie and works should greater than grace yet this work based ‘faith’ denies the truth of God’s predestination and expects a reward for services rendered.

Who instructed Leah to abuse and debase Zilpah in this manner, nurture or nature? Who gave her the right to treat this woman this way for her own self-gratification? And in the aftermath of the lies, disgrace and deceit, how does she arrive at the conclusion that she has walked uprightly? Who emboldened her to presume and proclaim that God had bowed down to her and blessed her? Yet for the remained of her life, every time she spoke the name of this child, the testimony of that name, announces that she believed herself right and her ways approved by God. Sadly she expected everyone else to deduce the same thing and call her blessed.

If these feelings and conclusions have not come forth from the eternal decree of the Sovereign Omnipotent Jehovah that sits in the heavens and rules over the kingdoms of this world so that the inhabitants are counted as grasshoppers, then from whence did they come? Where does lust obtain such power as to drive a man to be so sick with love that he commits a most heinous crime of incest (II Sam. 13:14)? With what irresistible force do these feelings cause a man to forsake a kingdom, commit adultery and then murder a most valiant soldier of his army, in the middle of a war (II Sam. 11)? The answer is clear when it is revealed in Spirit and truth. Jehovah God is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who devises means and works all things after the counsel of His will.

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

Here was a woman, in contrast to Leah, who had no agenda or ulterior motives and who, after the manner of man, had done nothing of significance, yet she was blessed of the Lord. When the ‘Warrior Messenger of God’ (Angel Gabriel) came to the Virgin Mary, He told her that she was ‘highly favoured’ of Jehovah. She was blessed among women, because the Lord was with her (1:28). This was not because of whom she was after the flesh, but because of whom she was after the Spirit. She was of the eternal seed called the generation of Jesus Christ. She was a child of grace, born of incorruptible eternal seed, a chosen vessel of mercy upon whom the Lord had ordained a most glorious path to walk. He had assigned unto her trials and tribulations that would trouble her soul her entire life and this labour was in fulfillment of prophesy (Is. 7:14). She was of the house of the first born and the royal blood line of the ‘Beloved’ after the birth from above and a descendant of David after the birth of the flesh and unto her (she was the only one with the proper credentials, pedigree and lot) was granted the station in life to be ‘the handmaid of Jehovah’.

Did she boast of her accomplishments or was she humble? Did she call for the praise of the builders of the nation of Israel or did the Spirit within her cry out, “My soul doth magnify Jehovah and my spirit is exalted on God my savior; for He hath looked upon the humiliation of His bond slave and behold for from now all generations shall call me blessed because to me the Mighty One did great things. Holy is His name and His mercy from generation to generation to them that fear Him” (1:46). Did she exploit others around her because of her newly found status or was she blessed to be poor, meek and lowly? Which of these is Asher?

Every child of grace is blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies and walks uprightly before Jehovah. Each earthen vessel, fashioned from the dust of the ground, which was afore prepared to be the habitation of the Holy Seed, has been washed and cleansed from all unrighteousness by the blood of Christ. The Pharisees washed the outside of the cups and plates and painted the sepulchers, making them appear beautiful but within they are full of dead bones and all uncleanness (Matt. 23:25ff). The habitation of the saints has been identified as belonging to the Master by the ‘blood struck on the doorposts’ but the inside, wherein Immanuel tabernacles with men, has been swept and cleaned. All leaven has been purged from within the house, which it accepted in the Beloved, and no leaven is consumed in all the habitations of the land (Ex. 12:15 & 19). The Spirit within has quickened that mortal body, mortified the deeds of the flesh (ever attempt to satisfy the law of God by the deeds of Adam) and causes it, by no merit or power of it’s own, to walk after the good works it has been ordained unto. There is no praise of the earthly house of this tabernacle for the body is dead by reason of sin, the heart of man is desperately wicked and the natural man is drawn away after the lusts and desires of the flesh. The creature, that inward man who delights after the law of God, has been made subject to vanity and the bondage of corruption, yet, being a son of God being born of incorruptible seed, he does not transgress the law and cannot commit iniquity (I John 3:4ff).

Mary had to contend with the fact that she was completely unworthy to be the ‘handmaid’ of Jehovah. She knew she was a sinner and that God was the only one who could save her (Luke 1:47). She was troubled by the sayings of the Messenger and did not understand the Word as He came to her (1:29) yet she was made willing in the day of His power and blessed to be the handmaiden of the Lord. On top of these inner trials and consternations she had to contend with the bias hatred and suspicions of her kinsman that thought her child illegitimate and her house disgraced. She had done nothing to merit the shame and reproach of the world any more than she had done to gain the favour of God, yet no matter how many times she regaled the wonderful events of His birth and displayed the proofs; she was hated of the world. Even so each child of grace, after the power of the Most High causes them to become partakers of flesh and blood, the body of this death and the Spirit reveals the corruption and weakness of Adam must contend with the passions and desires of the natural man and the hatred of the world.

Does this sound like being happy?

The redeemed of Jehovah have the testimony of the imputed faith of Jesus Christ by which they live, move and have their being. He fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law in righteousness. He abolished the type in hand writings and ordinances and established the anti-type which is “a more excellent ministry by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant which was established upon better promises” (Heb. 8:6). He completed the work that was given to Him of the Father and, having put all things under His feet, He has overcome the world, sin and death. He was raised up from the dead by the glory of God (Rms. 6:4) and, having purged His people from their sins, is sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high (Heb.1:2). Here, in the midst of the throne of God, He declares His generation, which was chosen in Him before the foundation of the world, given to Him by the Father in covenant love. These are one with Him in eternity and one with Him in His death burial and resurrection in that last day; “Thy dead men shall live together with My dead body they shall arise” (Is. 26:19); “After two days will He revive us and in the third day He will raise us up and we shall live in His sight” (Hos. 6:2).

These also have the testimony of the finished work of Jesus Christ as their imputed righteousness while they inhabit these earthen vessels. They keep the commandments of God because of the indwelling Spirit of God which causes them to walk uprightly (Ez. 36:27). They love Jehovah their God with all their heart, all their strength and all their might, being born of that incorruptible seed, and they love the brethren as they love themselves (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18). Being born from above, they cannot commit sin for they cannot deny the Father who bore them. This is the generation of Jesus Christ. A host which no man can number that has been blessed of God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies, therefore, they walk, like their Father (Ez. 1:15ff) straight forward without any shadow of turning. Thus the generation of the first born is named, Asher. “Happy (esher) is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help and whose hope is in Jehovah his God” (Ps. 146:5).

“And the sons of Asher; Jimnah, Ishuah, Isui, Beriah and Serah their sister. The sons of Beriah, Heber and Malchiel” (Gen 46:17)

Very little is known of Asher from the time of the announcement of his birth, through the births of the remaining children of the house of Jacob. No specifics are given concerning the man, Asher, except the events concerning Esau.

Jacob set these four children and their mothers out front to meet Esau. The troop (Gad), the wrestling (Naphtali), the judge (Dan) and the blessing (Asher) stood between Esau, who is Edom, who is Adam and the Beloved ‘ewe’ (Rachel) and the not yet manifested son, ‘Son of My right hand’, Benjamin.

Asher and the three other children of the handmaidens were in Canaan feeding the flocks with the seventeen year old Joseph who spied on them and brought the report of their wickedness to Jacob but nothing is revealed about what they were doing (Gen 37:2). He certainly was present when Joseph told his dream and they envied him and he was also present when his brothers conspired together against Joseph. He was part of the devised plan to kill Joseph, which was amended by Reuben to sell him for a profit and to deliver an embellished report to their father about his demise (37:23). Asher was no doubt an accomplice in this elaborate ruse to deceive Jacob and in the feigned effort to comfort him (37:35) yet he is not specifically named nor his part in the matter revealed.

Asher had four sons, a daughter and two grandchildren. Before beginning the journey, habitation and captivity of the nation of Israel in Egypt, God revealed that the children of Asher ‘on the right hand’ (Jimnah) are those whom ‘He will assemble’ (Ishuah) because ‘He resembles me’ or ‘He is equal to me’ (Ishui) and they are ‘with a friend’ (Beriah) and the ‘princess’ (Serah). The children of the friend are ‘comrades’, have ‘fellowship’ and are ‘associated’ together (Heber) because ‘My King is God” (Malchiel).

Without making any mention of works they may have done to commend themselves, the names of these people were established for a purpose. Neither their names nor the labours they accomplished made them unique individuals, they were born that way. By the same decree of God which ordained, established and enacted the steps they should take and the path they should walk, these names were assigned to depict, in type, the nature of the anti-type, the children of Jehovah.

As stated before, those who are born of God cannot commit sin because His seed remains in them. They cannot sin because they are born of God (I John 3:9). The incorruptible seed cannot be drawn away after the lust and enticed (Jms. 1:14) because it is not of the dust of the ground. It does not crave the things of this world because his affections are set on things above and not on the earth (Col. 3:2). Though for a time determined of the Father, he may sit, as if asleep, in the dust of the earth, yet when the Word comes to him, he awakes, shakes the dust off and reveals the beautiful garments of righteousness. This of course, has only come to pass because the arm of Jehovah has put on His strength, wounded the dragon and has drunk of the cup of the fury of the hand of God. Only after he drank of the dregs of the cup of trembling and presented Himself the perfect sacrifice for the sin of His people, only then can she who ‘springs forth from peace’ (Jerusalem) “Awake, awake. Put on thy beautiful garments O Jerusalem, the Holy city” (Is. 53:1). When the Father saw the travail of His soul and was well pleased, it was granted unto her that she should be arrayed in fine linen clean and white (Rev. 19:8). When the old things of the covenant of condemnation and death were abolished and passed away, she was adorned as a bride for her husband (21:2). Now we know that all these works were finished from the foundation of the world (Heb. 4:3) for John saw the Lamb as it had been slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8) yet God reveals the wonder of this existence to His children in the course of time (Gal. 1:15).

The vessel they inhabit indeed has the affections and lust of the flesh crucified with Christ and therefore they walk uprightly in the Spirit (Gal. 5:24) yet they find a law in their members which wars against the law of their mind, wherein they delight in the Law of God. This law, in their members, brings them into the captivity of the law of sin and causes them to cry out, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rms 7:23f). This is why the creature, that “was made subject to this vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who has subjected the same in hope”, has a great expectation, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. Therefore he groans within until the time when he is delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rms. 8:19ff). Here in this dichotomous existence we see the two rivers, one natural and one spiritual. The wonderful truth is that the natural, the elder, is subject to the younger which is of the Spirit and therefore the child of grace overcomes the natural man, by faith; “Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit, saith Jehovah of Hosts” (Zech. 4:6). This is the blessing of Asher wherein he walks upright before the Lord and the love of the Father is revealed. “Praise ye Jehovah. The man is blessed who feareth Jehovah delighting greatly in His commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth; the upright generation shall be blessed” (Ps. 112:1).

“Out of the land went forth Asshur” (Gen. 10:11)

God created His garden with a river that divided into two and each of these divided again. After He had destroyed the world in the deluge, He replenished the earth in the land of Shinar, “country of two rivers”. Noah had three sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth. The firstborn of Ham was Cush. Cush brought forth rebellion (Nimrod). He became mighty in the land, was a mighty provider of food before Jehovah, and he began to build Babel (confusion). Out of that land of confusion went forth Asshur, ‘the step’. This ‘step’ began to build the city of ‘wide’ or ‘broad roads’, Rehoboth, (Matt. 7:13) and a wicked city, Nineveh, (Jonah 1:2). This was a great city and ‘the abode of Ninus’, the first king who practiced and promoted the worship of fire. These two cities were full of vigor and ambition (Calach), which epitomize the nature of man to, “go to, let us build us a city and a tower whose top is unto heaven and let us make us a name lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” (Gen. 11:4).

It is inherent to man to constantly attempt to establish himself both in longevity and prominence and these descendents of Ham (hot, passion) represent the children of Lucifer who would ascend against the throne of the Most high and be like God (Is. 14:13). These are of that ‘great house’, Pharaoh the king of Egypt (Mizraim son of Ham), who was raised up by Jehovah for His glory (Rms. 9:17). He sits in the midst of the sea as a rock (Tyrus) and proclaims himself God (Ez. 28:2). He is the father of all lies and his children do his work or better stated they do the same works that he does (John 8:42ff). The ‘step’ of ascension, of these individuals was ordained of old so that “the wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray, as soon as they are born, speaking lies” (Ps. 28:3).

This Asshur is a descendant of Cain who killed righteous Abel (breath). He was sustained by the ground of the earth that was cursed by God in the garden and he brought the fruit of that curse as an offering unto God. Cain and his descendants, the Kenites, are a great people who have a strong dwelling place in the earth. Yet they shall be wasted, consumed by the refiners fire as all deeds of the flesh which perish, until Asshur (the step) shall carry them away captive (Num. 24:22).

He and his children of disobedience are the Assyrians. They oppress the children of the covenant as the “rod of Mine anger and the staff in his hand is mine indignation” (Is. 10:5) in the type of the nation of Israel and as the anti-type of the chastening of Jehovah for His love of His people. They are the merchants of the rock (Tyrus) who deal in the counterfeit representation of the patterns given in the mount. “They occupy in thy fairs with chief of all spices and with all precious stones and gold” (Ezk. 27:22) just like their father, the devil (Ezk. 28:16). This ‘step’ cannot save his people from the wrath of God and they are all deceived to believe that they walk aright (Hos. 14:3), yet the works of their hands cannot rise above the temporal plane of this world. The destruction of these whose deeds are evil and whose ‘steps’ walk in deference to the ‘Light’, is as complete as the destruction of Pharaoh was unto the whole house of Egypt. They lie in the terror of the grave as polluted and uncircumcised with their iniquity upon their bones and none shall save them (Ezk. 32:17-32).

Yet out of this ‘country of two rivers’ came another Asshur who is the son of Shem, ‘the name’. There is no record of any works that he performed, any import to history or any contribution he made to society. His eternal (Elam) brother is exalted (Aram) but not of himself. Here, in the dwelling of this habitation, he is also brother to weakness and conflict as his strength and ability ‘fails like the breast’ (Arphaxad) and his life is filled with strife (Lud). He can no more offend or forfeit the former than he can correct or overcome the latter for this ‘step’ is as ordained of old as his wicked counterpart. “The steps of a good man are ordered by Jehovah and He delighteth in His way” for “the law of God is in his heart and none of his steps shall slide” (Ps. 37: 23 & 31).

Neither the children of Ham nor the children of Shem, who walk in their appointed ‘steps’, have any control over the course that they walk. They walk a specific course that has been assigned unto them, according to what and who they are, for the glory of God and good. The way of the wicked man is not in himself to direct his steps any more than the ways of the righteous are directed by them. Jehovah God has assigned the ways of man unto the children of Adam. The confederacy of the wicked is in their love for darkness (John 3:19), their delight in making a lie and the hatred of the truth (Rev. 22:18), their blood thirst (Rms. 3:15) and the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). Their ways are destruction and misery, they know no peace and there is no fear of God before their eyes. This is the fraternity of the seed of the serpent who inhabit earthen vessels outfitted for destruction. Yet it is the Sovereignty of God who ordained the wrath of man to praise Him and the remainder of wrath He restrains (Ps. 76:10).

The child of Satan, being dead in trespasses and iniquity and alienated from the commonwealth of the Israel of God, are wise in the things of this world, delight in injustice and deceit, blaspheme the name of Jehovah and love and make the lie. They are given to believe that lie, love the darkness and say in their hearts there is no God. They trust in the works of their hands and are blinded of God to the truth. Yet God has put it in their hearts to agree and to fulfill His will and give the kingdoms of this world unto the beast until the word of God shall be fulfilled (Rev. 17:17).

The children of the true Rock, having the sin of Adam forgiven and the heart of stone removed, perform and maintain the good works they have been created unto, in Christ Jesus and walk uprightly before Him in love, delighting in His law after the inward man. The indwelling Spirit causes them to walk according to His statutes and keep His commandments. The love that the Father has for His children is the same love that they have one for another because they are one in the Godhead (John 17:11). They are one in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of the sufferings of Jesus Christ, being made conformable unto His death (Phl. 3:10). They are ‘brethren and companions in tribulation, and the kingdom and the patience of Jesus Christ’ (Rev. 1:9). The choices they make, the path they walk, the actions they perform and every thought, word and deed are because they are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people that should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Pt. 2:9). He has blessed them with ears to hear, eyes to see, all wisdom and spiritual understanding, faith to live, the hope of anticipation and He has made them willing in the day of His power. They are obedient in all things in their federal head, Jesus. They cannot deny Him that bought them with His precious blood, therefore, the steps of the children of “the name” (Shem) are righteous, pure and Holy for in them there is no spot nor blemish.

“Happy art thou, O Israel. Who is like unto thee, O people saved of Jehovah, the shield of thy help and who is the sword of thy excellency? Thine enemies shall be found liars and thou shalt tread upon their high places” (Deut. 33:29).

This is true happiness. It has its origin in the eternal immutable God, its operation is by the Lord God Almighty and it sustains the people of God in a surety of hope. There is no people like unto the Ammiel, the willing people of God. They are chosen in Him, empowered by His Spirit and kept by His love. They have overcome this world by the faith of the Son of God who loved them with an everlasting love. All their enemies have been made low and put under His footstool and although they live in a present evil generation who hated their Lord, yet are they content in the sovereignty of His will. Asher is an enigma in the scriptures as to his walk of life. He passes through this world in obscurity, but his association is in his federal head, the King of the universe. He is happy to stand continually before the King of Peace, Solomon, and hear His wisdom (2 Chr. 9:7). He is blessed to find wisdom and get understanding (Prov. 3:13) for she is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her and he is happy that retains her (3:18). He is blessed to remember the poor, the stranger, the widow and the fatherless (14:21) and he handles matters wisely because he trust in Jehovah (16:20). The fear of the Lord is before him always (28:14) and he is blessed to keep the law of God and walk according to His statutes (29:18). And he is ignorant after the flesh of these good things wherein he is made happy.

God has promised His people trials and tribulations. He has left a poor and afflicted people and He demonstrates His love for His children in chastening and scourging everyone. Seek out the scriptures and find if Job was happy when Satan withstood him. Is there dancing and rejoicing in Adam when Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were led to the fiery furnace to be incinerated for refusing to bow to the image of the king? Was Daniel smiling and giddy as he heard the roar of the lions who awaited to entertain him for dinner? No, the natural man cannot rejoice in the things of the Lord. He finds no contentment in being constantly opposed by the Spirit within. And what more could be said for David as he fled Jerusalem, Jeremiah in the pit and Paul being left for dead after being stoned? These brethren were blessed to suffer for the name of their Lord but at no time should it be concluded that they were, as the modern fools are wont to say, ‘happy in Jesus’.

The path that Asher walks is one that is hedged in with hewn stone on all sides and made perverse for his good by the hand of the loving Father. It is a narrow and troublesome way with only the Word as a lamp to illuminate the feet and the steps as a light unto the path of the stranger and sojourner in this foreign land. It is transversed by faith and not by sight, it continues until the time of this habitation is ended and is accompanied by doubts and fears and he that endures unto the end shall be saved

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trials which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you, but rejoice, insomuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad with exceeding joy. Since ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you; on their part He is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified” (I Pt. 4:12ff).

Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes
May 2012

Banner of Hope
Volume 6, No. 2
May 2012