Saturday, August 3, 2013

Paul's Tribe

Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. Genesis 49: 27

A lady in a church I once belonged to spoke of King Saul on the road to Damascus. Someone she knew gently told her that she had it wrong by about a thousand years and had two people confused. Maybe more study was needed?

But let me say in her defense, that she had something right. Both King Saul and the Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul, were from the tribe of Benjamin. This tribe, described by Jacob as wolf-like, would not be be one you would choose as a source of diplomats. I'd hate to cross such people.

And yet God called Paul from this tribe noted for its ferocity. For a time Paul lived up to the characteristics of these people. He tells us in a number of places, with what zeal he persecuted Christians. He held the garments of those who stoned Steven, approving of those who killed him. He further tells us that he sought permission to go beyond his bounds and persecute Christians in distant cities.

After Paul's dramatic conversion he himself was persecuted by the very people he once worked for. How many times God reverses our natures. The fierce become gentle and the fearful become bold.

Yet Paul never abandoned his tribal identity. He affirms it in more than one place, as in Romans 11:1.

I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid, For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, [of] the tribe of Benjamin. Romans 11:1

But what of the tribe itself? The book of Revelation tells of their fate.

Of the tribe of Benjamin [were] sealed twelve thousand. Rev. 7:8

Paul was redeemed and so will be his tribe.

No comments:

Post a Comment