1 Chronicles 7:30-40 – Counting Every Blessing

Posted: January 29, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 7:30-40

Descendants of Asher

There is a Christian contemporary song that has been popular for a while now. The group who sings it is called Rend Collective. It’s lyrics go something like this:

I was blind, now I’m seeing in color
I was dead, now I’m living forever
I had failed, but you were my redeemer
I’ve been blessed beyond all measureI was lost, now I’m found by the father
I’ve been changed from a ruin to treasure
I’ve been given a hope and a future
I’ve been blessed beyond all measureI am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Letting go and trusting when I cannot see
I am counting every blessing, counting every blessing
Surely every season you are good to meOh, you are good to me
Oh, you are good to meYou were there in the valley of shadows
You were there in the depth of my sorrows
You’re my strength, my hope for tomorrow
I’ve been blessed beyond all measure

Have you ever really thought about your blessings? There’s an old saying about how you should count your blessings. However, most of us focus on the negative things that befall us. We focus on the things that we don’t have or think we should have but don’t. In our opulence here in the United States, even our poorest among us have it better than 90+% of the world. However, we tend to get wrapped up and have angst about what’s wrong with our country and what’s wrong with our individual lives. Have you ever really sat down to count your blessings?

In this passage, we see the descendants of Asher, one of the twelve tribes descended from Jacob. Even though they were richly blessed – having been given the lands along the Mediterranean coast of the Promised Land – they did not always follow through on their obedience to the Lord. Even though we have been richly blessed in this nation and in our own lives, we fail to obey God often like Asher. Asher probably did not join in on some of the battles that Israel was called to fight because of business relationships. It would have harmed, in their minds, the business relationships they had with the foreigners among them on the coast. They first failed to drive them out when the Israelites were conquering the Promised Land and then they would refuse to fight if it meant costing them business relationships.

We too have been richly blessed in our own lives in ways that we do not deserve. We just happened by the grace of God to be born at this time in history into the most powerful nation on the planet and the wealthiest nation human history has ever known. Did we earn the right to be here? No. We were simply born here without merit by the grace of God. Is that not enough alone to understand what we have been given by God and then give Him obedience as a result. We are blessed beyond measure with the resources even the most common man can enjoy here. Why then, do we get so focused on things that don’t matter in eternity? We get so focused on what we think we have a right to have and don’t. Let us begin to view our blessings more often and see if that will change our outlook on life. When you look at the fact that we have been planted here in the richest country on the planet and that we have pretty much unfettered ability to become whatever we set our minds to, can we then begin to think how truly blessed we are.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read through the genealogy of the tribe of Asher and did the research about what we could learn from this tribe. They were richly blessed by their land grant from God. But yet, they often failed to obey His commands because they got so wrapped up in themselves and worried about what God’s commands would do to their business relationships. Sometimes, we too get focused on controlling our outcomes ourselves that we forget to trust God through our obedience to Him. With that thought in mind, let us read this passage, 1 Chronicles 7:30-40, now:

30 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. 31 The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel, who was the father of Birzaith. 32 Heber became the father of Japhlet, Shomer, Hotham, and their sister Shua. 33 The sons of Japhlet: Pasach, Bimhal, and Ashvath. These are the sons of Japhlet. 34 The sons of Shemer: Ahi, Rohgah, Hubbah, and Aram. 35 The sons of Helem[h] his brother: Zophah, Imna, Shelesh, and Amal. 36 The sons of Zophah: Suah, Harnepher, Shual, Beri, Imrah, 37 Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran, and Beera. 38 The sons of Jether: Jephunneh, Pispa, and Ara. 39 The sons of Ulla: Arah, Hanniel, and Rizia. 40 All of these were men of Asher, heads of ancestral houses, select mighty warriors, chief of the princes. Their number enrolled by genealogies, for service in war, was twenty-six thousand men.

From this passage, we are reminded that Asher is one of Israel’s twelve tribes. In the time of Moses, Asher was divided into five clans: the Imnites; the Ishvites; and the Berites; and, through Beriah, the Berite patriarch, two more clans: the Heberites and the Malkielites. The first three clans were named after Asher’s sons; the fourth and fifth after Beriah’s sons (Numbers 26:44-45). Asher was Jacob’s eighth son. His mother was Leah’s maidservant, Zilpah, and he was her second and last child with Jacob. When Asher was born, Leah said, “How happy am I! The women will call me happy” (Genesis 30:13). Asher’s name means “happy.”

When Jacob blessed his sons, he said, “Asher’s food will be rich; he will provide delicacies fit for a king” (Genesis 49:20). Later, Moses blessed the tribe, saying, “Most blessed of the sons is Asher; let him be favored by his brothers, and let him bathe his feet in oil. The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days” (Deuteronomy 33:24). Washing one’s feet in oil was a sign of prosperity, and Jacob’s reference to Asher’s food being “rich” indicated that Asher would possess fertile lands. In Joshua 19:24-31, we learn that Asher received land along the Mediterranean coast.

Despite all its blessings, the tribe of Asher failed to drive out the Canaanites, and “because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land” (Judges 1:31-32). In the time of Deborah and Barak, “Asher remained on the coast and stayed in its coves” rather than join the fight against Jabin, a Canaanite king (Judges 5:17). This failure to aid their fellow tribes could indicate a lack of reliance on God, a lack of effort, a fear of the enemy, or a reluctance to upset those with whom they did business. Thus, the example set here is a negative one: although Asher was richly blessed, they did not behave admirably; when the time for action came, they failed to trust in God and honor His plan.

Later in Judges, Asher does respond to Gideon’s call to repel the Midianites, Amalekites, and others from the East (Judges 6:35). In another important gesture, Asher accepts Hezekiah’s invitation to the tribes from the Northern Kingdom to join the Passover celebration in Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 30:11). This was considered an act of humility, proof of a contrite heart before God.

In the end, we find that Asher received many great blessings from God. Having received a blessing, they were expected to obey the Lord’s commands. In this they sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed. We, too, have been blessed by God (Ephesians 1:3), and the Lord expects us to obey His commands (John 14:15). Just as Asher received a prophetic blessing from Jacob, God’s children have received this promise: “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). Praise the Lord for His wonderful plans for us. What a comfort! When we trust the Lord with the outcomes of our obedience to Him, we will be blessed. It may be hard to see what those blessings are at the moment, but as time passes we often learn of exactly our obedience to Him brought forth in our lives.

Amen and Amen.

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