Saturday, April 16, 2016


Naphtali was the sixth son of Jacob, second son born to Bilhah, Rachel's servant when Rachel was jealous of Leah for having children when she herself couldn't.  When Naphtali was born, Rachel said, "I have had a struggle with my sister and I have won."  Naphtali means, I struggle.

There's a name meaning you may shy away from bragging about.

Jacob said, "Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns."

Moses said, "Naphtali is abound with the favor of the LORD and is full of His blessing; he will inherit southward to the lake."

So what Rachel saw was not what his father saw, and it certainly wasn't the legacy he left to his descendants.  How sweet of God to bestow favor on a child such as the words Jacob and Moses spoke.

What we're named doesn't mean it is who we are.  Clearly, we are more than what some people call us, and our purpose is not determined by another person's means or manipulation.  In spite of his mother's manipulations, Naphtali had noble offspring.

When King Solomon built the Temple, a man named Huran whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was a man of Tyre (not an Israelite family) made the grand pieces that would go in the Temple.  Huran's father was a craftsman in bronze and Huran was highly skilled and experienced in all kinds of bronze work.

Capernaum, the town where Jesus lived as an adult was in Naphtali.  It was there Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would come from when he said, "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned...For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

No matter the circumstances of our conception and birth, our Jesus is not about keeping us as our human parent's intent.  Our Jesus is making us into who He can use for the glory of His name.  It may not happen in our lifetime, but our descendants will be blessed by the faith residing in us to glorify His name in our time.

Naphtali was not his mother's struggle.  He was not a prize between his mother and his aunt and the surrogate who carried him in her womb.  His mother struggled with her own flesh and desires, but that was her struggle.  Naphtali's line was part of bringing peace to the world's struggle.

That peace is named Jesus.  The one who bore our struggles, every single one of them, taking them upon his own divine human flesh.  He knew Rachel's struggle as well as he knows yours.  He carried Rachel's struggles as easily as he carries yours.



1 Kings 7; Isaiah 9; Hebrews

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