PT 2. A Second Chance to Overcome
Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Blessings to you as you read the remainder of Tammy’s teaching on the Hebrew month of Kislev,
The month of Kislev is associated with the Hebrew Tribe of Benjamin. That means if we want to understand this month we need to understand some things about the Tribe of Benjamin. Benjamin was the youngest child of Jacob and this tribe was one of the smallest tribes of Israel.
There are some very important things God wants to teach us from Benjamin:
His father was Jacob was one of the wealthiest men in the land who had 2 wives, Leah and Rachel... his favorite was Rachel. Rachel’s first son was Joseph, her second was Benjamin who she died in childbirth with. As Rachel was dying she named her baby, BEN-ONI - “son of my pain”. But Jacob renamed him BENJAMIN - “son of my right hand”, an honored son.
Jacob was not always a wise father because he made the mistake of doting on Joseph and Benjamin. This act made it clear to his 10 other sons that he loved them more than he did them. As Rachel’s first son, Joseph held the position of “favorite son” of the family. To show his love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a richly ornate tunic with many colors, a sign that he was not expected to work in the fields like his brothers. The result was that Joseph’s brothers hated and resented him. To make matter worse, Joseph told his bothers about his prophetic dream that one day they would all come and bow down before him. As we know, following that disclosure the brothers caught him in the field, beat him, stripped him of his tunic and threw him in a pit, planning to kill him. But before they could do that some Ishmaelite traders passed by on the their way to Egypt so the brothers decided to sell him as a slave instead of killing him. Believing Joseph was dead all of Jacob’s attention then shifted to Benjamin. Jacob lived in fear that something bad would happen to Benjamin also. So for Benjamin’s whole childhood he was sheltered and protected. Even as a grown man with his own family, when Benjamin’s brothers wanted to go to Egypt to by food, Jacob was willing to let the whole family go hungry rather than subject Benjamin to any danger. Meanwhile, Joseph was in Egypt, had interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and had become a ruler there - your gift will make a place fo you...but favor will also cost you something. Joseph had warned Pharaoh that a 7 year famine was coming and because he listened to Joseph, as a result, Egypt was spared. God used Joseph to save a nation. When Joseph’s’ brothers found out here was food in Egypt, they came down to buy food for their families....and the man they had to deal with was Jospeh. They came then and bowed down to Joseph making the dream Joseph had as a boy fulfilled. Joseph hid his true identity and asked them about their family, then demanded that they bring Benjamin to Egypt when they came to buy food again. Uppermost in Joseph’s mind was one question: “had his brothers changed?” Would they treat Benjamin as they had treated him? When Joseph saw that they defended Benjamin instead of betraying him, Joseph revealed his true identity....and he reconciled with his bothers. The Covenant Line was saved! Benjamin and Jacob and their whole family came to Egypt as God had prophesied to Abraham. In Egypt they were preserved through the famine.
Benjamin went on to have 10 sons and his descendants became the tribe of Benjamin but even the tribe was always sheltered and protected. When the tribes marched through the wilderness Benjamin marched in the third group of tribes, in the most protected position: Judah, Issachar, Zebulun / Reuben, Simeon, Gad / Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin / Dan, Asher, Naphtali. He marched with the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh. When they camped around the Tabernacle the tribe Benjamin was again grouped with Ephraim and Manasseh, a place of safety. Ephraim and Manasseh were the descendants of Joseph, Benjamin’s primary defender. When Israel made it to the Promised Land Benjamin was given a secure place in the center of the land, south of Ephraim and Manasseh, and north of Judah. Because Benjamin was always protected, he didn’t gain strength and the tribe took on these characteristics. Jerusalem was originally in Benjamin’s territory, but Benjamin didn’t have the strength to drive out the Jebusites. Most importantly, being constantly protected caused Benjamin to never develop a close relationship with God. Most likely Benjamin got bailed out of trouble every time there was any type of conflict or pressure. We don’t grow and mature when others do the work for us!!!!! There’s a lesson in this for us as parents and grandparents.
During the time of the judges, the tribe developed a reputation for perversion and violence, culminating in the rape and murder of a Levite’s concubine by the men of Gibeah in Judges 19. When the other tribes confronted Benjamin with the atrocity, rather than deal with the sin, the people of Benjamin gathered together to defend and protect the wicked of Gibeah. The result was a war that almost destroyed the entire tribe of Benjamin.
It was never God’s plan for Benjamin to be coddled and over-protected. God had placed within Benjamin the strength to fight. God’s destiny for Benjamin was prophesied by his father Jacob on his deathbed in Gen.49:27, “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey and at night he shall divide the spoil.”
This blessing indicates that Benjamin (and his people) would be fierce warriors, However, the prophecy also made clear that the tribe’s existence would be one of perpetual violence, day and night by devouring prey in the morning and dividing the spoils at night. The men of Benjamin were warriors gifted with the art of the bow. They could sling a stone with either hand and not miss. However, the tribe was too protected to come into their destiny.
SOME OF YOU HAVE WONDERED WHY GOD HAS LET YOU FACE SOME HARD BATTLES...why he didn’t protect and shelter you from those difficult situations...God wants you to know that He had a purpose for you to go through difficulties. He wanted you to gain strength, to develop your relationship with Him through the difficulties, He wanted you to learn to overcome and be victorious.
The Tribe of Benjamin eventually did overcome and come into it’s destiny.
A number of great people descended from the tribe: Esther and Mordecai who saved the entire Jewish people and The Apostle Paul was from the tribe of Benjamin. He affirms this in Romans 11:1, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.” Most of the NT books were written by a descendant of Benjamin. Through Paul, Israel fulfilled it’s DESTINY of being LIGHT to the gentile nations.
How did Benjamin learn to overcome? It is believed the turning point came with Jonathan’s covenant with David. David was from Judah, Jonathan from Benjamin. Jonathan’s father Saul was Israel’s first King. He was a Benjamite through and through because he was ruled by fear. He always wanted to be protected. We know that when the time came for him to be anointed King he was terrified and ran and hid in the baggage. In 2 Kings 13 Saul’s fear cause him to disobey God and forfeit his kingship. Saul’s fear of loosing his throne motivated him to try to kill David, God’s chosen replacement. But when David showed up and led Israel to victory over Goliath, Saul’s son Jonathon saw David’s courage, he was inspired and realized that’s what he was supposed to be. Jonathon cut covenant with David. He rejected his fears and instead of wanting to be defended he chose to lay down his life to protect David. Later on, they extended their covenant to the House of Jonathon and the House of David. They stood in the gap for the two tribes and linked them together in Covenant. Through that covenant Benjamin was able to shift and fulfill his destiny, The covenant of David and Jonathan was honored by the Tribe of Judah and Benjamin throughout their history. As they continued to walk out their covenant commitment, God brought full restoration to the Tribe of Benjamin.
As we look at how God restored the Tribe of Benjamin through covenant, let’s look at how God can bring restoration to you personally through covenant. God wants you to know this month that one of the most important KEYS to overcoming your past and fulfilling your destiny is COVENANT. YOU NEED TO KNOW WHO YOU ARE COMMITTED TO AND YOU NEED TO KNOW WHO IS COMMITTED TO YOU. If you are in covenant with the right people and you walk out your covenant in faithfulness, your life will CHANGE!
One of the most important things about Benjamin is he experienced a name change at birth. What’s significant about this is that name change meant a new identity for him. This is really the history of the Tribe....they had been governed by fear (Jacob instilled this in Benjamin out of his own fears), needing protection, but that was not the identity God wanted for them. Through covenant with David they entered their new identity. That covenant shifted the Tribe of Benjamin’s future. So this month ask yourself, “WHO AM I IN COVENANT WITH?”
It’s also interesting to point out that another Benjamite was also renamed. Saul of Tarsus was named after the ungodly king Saul. Like king Saul did with David, he tried to hunt down and kill God’s people. But “Saul” was not the identity God wanted for him. So God changed his name to “PAUL”...a gentile name, to equip him to be an apostle to the gentiles.
There’s a whole teaching in this revelation.
Sometimes the circumstances in life have branded you with an identity that isn’t what God chose for you. Think about that for a moment...
Most of us grow up in dysfunctional families, as Benjamin did, and our personalities are formed from an early age by the influences of our parents and grandparent, and the dynamics of those relationships. Some of those things were good, yet some probably weren’t. I heard a phrase almost thirty years ago that stuck with me like glue, in fact, I would say it’s a phrase that God gave me revelation through so I could have sight when the time came for me to question my own identity in Him, “We are products of our conditioning.”Think about that for a moment. How have you been conditioned from birth that has caused you to develop unhealthy patterns of being, thinking, and doing?
For some of us, the way we view ourselves is not how God views us. I have personally learned this. Kislev is a month to break the cycle! Remember the letter associated with Kislev is “SAMEKH”, meaning “to turn, go around, surround, encompass, enclose, to come to a full circle”....prophesy to your identity and future from that place of understanding.
Develop your strategy and get busy!
In conclusion, Kislev is a month in which God wants to give you a second chance to confront and deal with things that have defeated you.
For some of you, this has been all your life. God wants you to come into your new identity during this time on His calendar. If you are held captive by your fears like Benjamin was, God wants to set you free this month. Ask God to show you the habit patterns and ways of “thinking” that hold you in that old identity. It’s time to break out of the old and embrace the new God is taking you into.