About two years ago I came across a verse that I treasure and it’s found in Deuteronomy, not perhaps the first book you’d think of turning to for uplifting messages!
It comes in chapter 33, Moses is blessing all the twelve tribes. Moses is an old man, he has given his last warnings and instructions to this rebellious stiff-necked bunch of people and in chapter 33 he addresses each tribe personally. Although the whole chapter is entitled ‘Blessings’ some of them are only just blessings – poor old Reuben is told that ‘he will live and not die, but just barely, in diminishing numbers’ others are more descriptive ‘Dan is a lion’s cub, leaping out of Bashan’ and some are unqualified blessings ‘Asher – may he be the favourite of his brothers, his feet massaged in oil’!
Knowing that the 12 tribes came from 12 siblings, my eye was drawn to what was said about the youngest one. I am the youngest of my siblings and that dynamic has had a formative effect in my life. Being the youngest, ‘the baby’, the ‘nuisance’ hasn’t always been a positive experience for me.
So when I read the four fold blessing for Benjamin the youngest of his brothers, it really spoke to me. The four blessings come out most clearly in The Message version
‘God’s beloved;
God’s permanent residence.
Encircled by God all day long,
within whom God is pleased to dwell’
This blessing makes audacious claims about who I am in the eyes of God. I have committed them to memory and mulled them over and over. What difference does it make today to go into every situation saying or thinking: ‘I’m God’s beloved, I’m encircled by God all day long, I am one in whom God himself is pleased to dwell, God has taken up permanent residence in my life’.
Some days it empowers me, some days it overwhelms me, some days I find it hard to believe but every day I try to claim it, this is my blessing, the Benjamin blessing on the youngest sibling. It stands above anyone else’s verdict on me: I am beloved.

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