The Cross and its Shadow

Of his childhood and early manhood we know nothing, only that he grew up with his brethren, and went into Egypt with the rest of the family. Asher had four sons and a daughter named Sarah, from whom sprang the tribe which bore his name. 1 Chron 7:30

When the books of the Chronicles were written, the men of the tribe of Asher were spoken of as choice and mighty men of valour; and there were twenty-six thousand of them that were apt to the war. 1 Chron 7:40

When all Israel gathered at Hebron to make David king over Israel, Asher gathered forty thousand that were expert in war. 1 Chron 12:36

Since the name Asher (Aser, the Greek form of the word) is given to one division of the one hundred and forty-four thousand Rev 7:6 the character of Asher is the most important thing for us to consider; and as little or nothing is recorded of his life, we shall have to take the prophetic words of Jacob and Moses as a guide in the study.

The patriarch Jacob's dying blessing on Asher was, Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. Gen 49:20 These words indicate prosperity.

When Moses pronounced his parting blessing upon the tribes of Israel, he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be. Deut 33:24, 25

Asher seems to have had an amiable disposition; for he was acceptable to his brethren. Let him dip his foot in oil. Some people have the happy faculty of always getting out of difficulty as if everything was oiled; they apparently step over difficulties that others would fall under. They dip their feet in oil, and pass smoothly over the rough places in life.

The precious promise, As thy days, so shall thy strength be, was given to Asher, the one Jacob said should yield royal dainties, and of whom Moses said, Let him dip his foot in oil. In ordinary life the one who dips his foot in oil, and apparently passes smoothly through life, receives little sympathy. Sympathy is usually extended to the one who does not have his feet oiled, and experiences all the roughness by the way; but God knows that the person who holds tip his head and goes cheerily through life, giving royal dainties of kind words of cheer to others, often in reality experiences heavier trials than the one who sighs and cries on account of the roughness of the way; and to them He says, As thy days, so shall thy strength be.

It is a glorious thing to dip the foot in oil! Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit; the one whose feet even, are anointed with the Spirit of God, will pass over the rough places in life with a heart full of praise and thanksgiving. Under the feet of such a one will be iron and brass a firm foundation. He will not sink amid the pitfalls of life, for God assures him, As thy days, so shall thy strength be. The feet of the one who dips his feet in oil will be shod with iron and brass. When the beloved disciple saw in vision the Saviour officiating as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, His feet appeared like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace. Rev 1:15 Brass is formed only in the furnace; and the Saviour's feet appearing like fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace, would remind John of the fiery furnace of affliction through which the Saviour had passed.

There are some of the human family who are so imbued with the Spirit of God, and follow so closely in the Saviour's bloodstained footsteps, 1 Peter 2:21 that their feet seem clad with brass, resembling the feet of their Master. Others have their feet covered with iron; they, too, have special strength given them, but do not come into such intimate relationship with the Master as their brethren.

Twelve thousand of the one hundred and forty-four thousand will be of the tribe of Asher, - those who will dip their feet in oil, and will be so filled with the Spirit of God that they will let the Lord by His Spirit smooth the rough places in their pathway. Like Zerubbabel, the mountains of difficulties will become plains before them. Zech 4:6, 7 They will yield royal dainties, words of cheer and comfort, that will encourage others by the way. It is well to learn how to dip the foot in oil, and cultivate the character of Asher.

The Bible gives little more of the history of the tribe of Asher than is given of him as an individual. The tribe is mentioned in connection with the other tribes; but no independent action is recorded of the tribe in the sacred history.

Asher is the only tribe west of the Jordan, except Simeon, which furnished no hero or judge to the nation. The obscurity which enshrouds the members of the tribe is pierced by only one noted character, - Anna the prophetess, who served God with fastings and prayers night and day in the temple. She had the honour of bearing the glad news of the birth of Christ to the faithful ones who were looking for redemption in Israel. Luke 2:36-38 margin

The territory of Asher bordered on the Great Sea, and embraced Mount Carmel, the scene of Elijah's great victory, and continued northward. The descendants of Asher did not have the fierce, warlike propensities of some of the other tribes, and did not drive out the former inhabitants of the land; but the Asherites dwelt among the Canaanites the inhabitants of the land. Judges 1:31, 32 As the result of mingling with the heathen, they were greatly weakened.

When Israel was numbered at Sinai, Asher was a strong tribe; Num 1:40, 41 but in the days of David they had become so reduced that their name is not mentioned in the selection of chief rulers. 1 Chron 27:16-22 Although as a tribe they, departed from the ways of the Lord, yet among them were honest hearts who feared God. When Hezekiah held his great Passover and invited all Israel to join in celebrating the feast at Jerusalem, some entire tribes laughed at the messengers and mocked them; nevertheless divers of Asher . . . humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem. 2 Chron 30:10, 11. It takes moral stamina to be true to God when the surging masses on every side are rejecting the light of God's word. That spirit of faithfulness never left the tribe, and when the Saviour entered His temple for the first time in human form, of the two persons in all the city of Jerusalem who were in a spiritual condition to recognise the Babe as the Redeemer of the world. one was the prophetess Anna of the tribe of Asher. Luke 2:36.

SUMMARY

Asher had four sons and a daughter, from whom sprang the tribe which bore his name. 1 Chron. 7:30.
The tribe numbered 53,400, when they entered the promised land. Num. 26: 47.
Asher furnished no hero or judge to the nation. Anna, the prophetess, is the only noted character of the tribe of Asher, mentioned in the Bible. Luke 2: 36-38.