To e-mail, call or write the Bagwells, just visit our "Contact" Page.






 A Preacher in his Study



"And of Asher 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. There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them." Deuteronomy 33:24-27



Moses soon would die. He, as did all of Israel’s leaders, blessed his people before he expired.

The pattern Moses followed, ordained of God, was to bless the people of Israel by tribes. He began with the eldest, Reuben, and continued to Judah and Levi and Benjamin and Joseph, which would have included Ephraim and Manasseh. Then Moses added Zebulun and Issachar and Gad and Dan and Naphtali and Asher. Simeon is not mentioned, perhaps because he is so closely associated with Judah.

The Lord has laid upon my heart a study of the blessing Moses pronounced and prophesied upon Asher, Jacob’s eighth son whose Mother was Zilpah, Leah's Handmaiden.

Let’s listen: “And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil.” That's Deuteronomy 33:24.

What a start to a mighty prayer for a son or daughter!

The name “Asher” means “happy.” It also can mean “blessed.” The name appears 43 times in Scripture.

The verb “said” is “amar” and means to speak or utter a thought. It at times seems to deal more with the mechanics of talking than the essence of what is being said. God might be telling us here that Moses is just the mouthpiece in these blessings. That the words are divinely chosen and empowered.

The verb “blessed” translates “barak,” meaning to praise or salute or congratulate! Its root idea is that of one person bowing down in front of another! That word picture is particularly appropriate when we “bless” the Lord!

The noun “children” is spelled “ben” and literally means “sons,” being in the masculine gender. However again and again in Scripture it is also used of offspring, presumably including girls. The Tribe could not have physically and literally continued through the ages had they not given birth to both sexes.

By the way, this part of the prayer was fulfilled, demonstrably so! When the national census was taken after the Exodus, Asher totaled 41,500 young men of fighting age. Some forty years later when they entered the Promised Land, they had reached 53,400. Compare Numbers 1:40-41 with Numbers 26:47. That’s a “blessed” increase! Sixty two percent!




Next comes the adjective “acceptable.” Really here it’s a participle, which is just a verb acting like an adjective. In Hebrew “ratzsah” means pleased, delighted, approved, loved!

Psalm 147:11 tells us some things in which God does, and does not, delight or take pleasure. “He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.”

The accompanying noun “brethren” is “ach” and means the sons of the same parents or children of the same tribe or just blood relatives or “kin.” This blessing no doubt involves all the Jews of any tribe.




The third stanza of this productive little verse utilizes the verb “dip.” It suggests a sufficient amount of liquid to “plunge” something beneath, to immerse it!

And the noun for “foot” is “regel” which can mean one’s “legs” also and is so translated in the King James Bible. Again, quantity is the issue here, at least partly.

“Oil” is “shemen” and means “fat!” In Scripture it is most often used of olive oil, or a mixture of olive oil and other precious ingredients.

And, of all things, the land which Asher inherited, his part of the Promised Land, included much olive-rich acreage!

Now, let’s stop exegeting and start applying this part of the Text.

Could these three promises be turned into three prayers? Of course they could.

And what a thrilling prayer, a victorious series of requests, they would make for a loved one … or a special Church or your own husband or wife! You can even pray them for your dear Pastor.

"Be blessed with children!"

Lord, bless the Church with children, with souls being saved!

Born again experiences regularly!

Professions of Faith!


New members!

Eager minds growing in Christ!

"Be acceptable to his brethren!"

And Lord, let our home be blessed with sweetness and love. Make us delightful in each other’s eyes. Remove any anger or bitterness and substitute for it joy and peace and longsuffering and goodness and meekness! Ask it for your Church too!




"Dipping his feet in oil!"

Then Lord, give us an environment in which there is found oil, much oil! That, brothers and Sisters, is a Type or Symbol of the Holy Spirit of God! One old Preacher of the past said that if you dip your feet in oil, you will then leave “tracks” everywhere you go! Indicators of being in the presence of God!

Spirit Fullness!

Spirit Fruitfulness!

Spirit Power!

Honestly, this is one of the best, most poignant prayers I’ve ever seen in Scripture!

Someone surely will want to make it a part of his or her spiritual repertoire, another arrow in his quiver of pleas to lift before our Father in Heaven!


                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Old Testament is a Divinely inspired Book, filled with many kinds of literature. Again I say, all of Which is God's very Word!

For example it is permeated with prayer!

And of its hundreds, if not thousands, of petitions and supplications and intercessions, the prayer for Asher is sterling!

Just a part of it, Deuteronomy 33:25, is our focus for today.

"Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be."

But, Preacher, how would you pray that for someone? What does it mean? Place it in context please.

This precise term for "shoes," which is "manal" in Hebrew, is used only this once in all of Scripture! Don't misunderstand me please. The word "shoes," in the plural number, is found 21 times in the Bible. Its singular, "shoe," another 9 times. But on none of those occasions is it the word "manal" but this once.

That makes this pair of shoes special, unique, one-of-a-kind. Some folks, apparently including the children of Asher, had a rough and rugged road to walk in their days ahead! It is believed by some of the old-time scholars that Asher was settled in a part of the Promised Land that literally had such a terrain, mountainous and jagged and rocky!

God is saying this. I can provide you shoes appropriate for the road you must take!

Those going to a wedding do not need tennis shoes for the event. People at Church will not generally be wearing combat boots either! But the farmer plowing in his field certainly will not wear sandals!

And the man or woman hiking on foot-slicing quartz will be sure to adorn protective footwear.

Why, God must be in the shoe business!

He indeed can provide long-lasting shoes! In Deuteronomy 29:5 it is reported that during the Jews' forty years in the wilderness "their clothes were not waxen old" nor "their shoes upon their feet!"

Have you ever heard anywhere else of a pair of shoes that lasted forty years?

Only God could so provide!

We too, yet today, can ask the Lord to provide our loved ones ... or our Pastor ... or our Church Family with appropriates shoes for the journey they must take! Yes, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass."

Then, back to Asher, our Text.

"And as thy days, so shall thy strength be."

The noun "days" is typical, being translated this same way 2,008 times in Scripture! Its root verb means "to be hot!" That's an accurate description of a Middle Eastern day too!

Here "days," inclusively speaking, constitute one's life! All his or her days are in view.

The clause is asking God for strength as long as this loved one lives!

May the Lord bless you with stamina and ability and vigor every day you live. In fact, the noun "strength" is spelled "dobe" and means a quiet determination and ability that is unusual, singularly given of God! The Hebrew word is again here a hapax legomenon. This means it appears only once in a corpus of literature.

So, only two requests appear in this verse. But they are powerful!

Pray them for someone you love today!

Beseech the Lord to give such blessings to your Church too!

The God of Asher, whose very name means "blessed," is still on the Throne yet today!


                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Moses’ prophecy concerning Asher, which is so easily voiced as a prayer for someone we love, focuses not merely on earthly blessings … but on Almighty God too!

All true prayer does so.

Let’s read verse 26 of Deuteronomy 33. “There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, Who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in His excellency on the sky.”

How can the earlier aspects of this great blessing ever be fulfilled?

Who is able to do such?

Only the “God of Jesurun!”

“God” here is spelled “el” in Hebrew, just “el.” It is a Name that suggests power, ultimate power, all power!  This normal prefix is an abbreviated form of “Elohim.” This we believe is God’s Name that accents His Triune Being!

We are dealing with Deity here, absolutely so!

There is “none” like Him. This adjective in English, but adverb in Hebrew, is spelled “ayin” and means “nought.” Nothing can compare to our great God! Like Isaiah says, quoting Jehovah Himself: “I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside Me.”

Furthermore this word “ayin” appears at the head of the sentence in Hebrew too, first place. Its meaning must therefore be given preeminence.

But, who is “Jeshurun?”

The name means “upright one.” Obviously here it’s a synonym for the Jewish people, at least the Tribe of Asher.

But nobody, absolutely no one, can be called “upright” apart from the Grace of Almighty God. This concept, though Old Testament to the core, surely sounds like New Testament Truth, like imputation. That means Christ’s righteousness being reckoned to our account!

This great God can ride the clouds too! The verb “rideth” translates “rakab” and means to mount and sit upon a beast, ready to gallop away into the distance! The “heaven,” or “shamayim,” is rendered “air” 21 times in Scripture. But it is “heaven” or “heavens” 398 times!  Low altitude or high, atmospheric or galactic, God is present … in power! Psalm 104:3 says God “walketh upon the wings of the wind!”


“Help,” that’s why God is riding so majestically, to be of aid to Asher, is spelled “ezer” and twice in the King James Bible means “help meet!” Do not take this too far, but God just called Himself our “Help Meet!”

“Excellency” is another glorious word too! “Gaavah” means something like “a swelling up” or “a highness.” In its negative contexts in Scripture it is even translated “pride” 9 times and “haughtiness” 2 times and “arrogancy” 1 time!  I suspect there is a Holy Sinless Pride and Perfectly Pure Majesty that belong to God … and Him alone! Isaiah 42: 8 says of God: “I am The Lord, That is My Name: and My Glory will I not give to another, neither My praise to graven images.”

Amen again!

The verse’s final noun, both in English and Hebrew, is “sky” and is represented by the word “shachaq.” It means fine as “dust.” Something like water vapor is in view I suspect. In the King James Bible “shachaq” is translated four different ways, all similar: “cloud, sky, heaven” and then “small dust!” The “small dust” expression is used in Isaiah 40:15 where God views the nations of earth as “a drop of a bucket” and counts all of them as “small dust” on His giant scales!

Any truly great people are just that, great, because they know God and love and worship Him sincerely!

Such is the case with Asher!

God be praised!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




This last verse of our Text, I think, will have to be subdivided. It is just too precious to gulp down all at once!

Nevertheless, let’s read it all anyway. “The eternal God is thy Refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, destroy them.” Deuteronomy 33:27

What a verse!

What a prayer that would make for a loved one in Christ!

“The eternal God is thy Refuge!”

Let’s study!

The Name for God here, as most of you can tell, is “Elohiym,” the God of power and might and strength! All power and all might and all strength! The Triune God, Father and Son and Holy Spirit!

But, furthermore, notice that God is not merely Almighty! What an understatement that is!

He is also “eternal.”

This unusual word, “qedem,” means something like “the front” of anything! At the “head” of the line! First in position or place! First in time also!  Temporally preeminent!

“Qedem” is based upon its parent, “qadam,” which suggests “going ahead” of another, just to be there to help him or her in a time of need! To “prevent,” the old timers would have said.

That’s beautiful!

The very lexicon is preaching to us!

God’s inspired Words produce life and strength! 

As far as the history of “qedem” in the King James Bible, it only is used 87 times. About 50 of those times, 49 if I’ve counted exactly, it is rendered as “east or eastward or east side.” This refers to the place where the sun rises, early in the morning! God is never late! He is eternally young!  He is always awake and refreshed! You will never wake up before God does! He never sleeps or slumbers! See Psalm 121:4.

Then another few times, 9 I think, it is translated as “ancient or ancient time” or just “aforetime!” God is as young as the Sunrise … yet as old as the most ancient man! He is thus the Beginning and the End. The First and the Last. As the New Testament words it, the Alpha and the Omega. Only once, right here, is it written as “eternal!” Oh, I just noticed. It is translated “old” 17 more times!

“The eternal God ….”

He thus is both old and young! And yet never tiring and never sleeping! Almighty! Three-In-One! Divine and Holy! But This God is also ... our “Refuge.”

Now this noun is spelled “meonah.” It means “a dwelling place!” This is thrilling! The man or woman who has God as his or her Habitation, can always go home!  Is never far from Home! Is always in his Home!

“Meonah” is only found 9 times in the Old Testament. As we already know it is translated “refuge,” but only once! It is “habitation” also once. “Dwelling Place” once. Just “place” one time also. But “den” five times!

Den, the English noun, may have a background that suggests “small room.” God is so Big the Heavens can’t contain Him! Yet so Small He can live in my heart! Technically a “den” is a resting and sleeping and feeding place for a wild animal of some kind. It has been used that way in English since 1771 according to the etymology dictionary.

God, in a wild animal’s den?

He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah!

The true Christian is so thankful that he has a place to run and hide when danger lurks!

“The eternal God is our Refuge!”

Praise the Lord!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Perhaps it sounds strange, but we are working our way through a Verse of Scripture!

Yes, just one verse!

But it is a great one!

Of course all the Bible’s 31,102 Verses can be called great because they are the Word of God!

Our Text reads: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

Today we shall examine the great metaphor of the Lord’s “everlasting arms!”

They are said to be “underneath” the children of God.

In this exact context, the sons and daughters of Asher, one of Israel’s ten Tribes, are being blessed.

The Lord is here depicted as having arms, mighty and comforting arms! This kind of theological terminology is often called anthropomorphism. It attributes to the Almighty some trait or quality of mankind, just to help us better comprehend Him in His Essence.

The noun for “arms” here is “zeroa” and can mean not only the arm, including the forearm, but also the shoulder. Just to give you an idea of the qualities the “arm” suggests, our King James Bible translates “zeroa” as “power” three times and “mighty” one time and “strength” one time.

“Everlasting” translates “olam” and literally means a “vanishing point.” In other words that which is so far removed that it “vanishes” from sight! In both directions!  Think of these two extremes in a time context, and you have an idea of eternity!

My arms some day will shrivel and die, all strength gone. So will yours, dear friend. But God’s arms, His mighty arms, will never do so. Forever stout!

Always supportive!

Continually available!

Endlessly helpful!

And where are these arms?

In relation to me and you?

“Underneath” is “tachath” and simply means the “bottom” of something, its very lowest point!

This helps me!

I always thought of God’s arms being under me, keeping me from falling. And there is nothing wrong with that picture either! God can keep us from falling according to Jude Verse 24.

But this "bottom" concept says even more! Now, at our "very lowest point," we find that His everlasting arms suggest to us that even if we fall, even if we are in the "pits," even if we are depressed, even if we are temporarily defeated, still … still … still … there under us, having not forsaken us, are those almighty arms of God! Hugging us and supporting us and affirming us all along life’s way!

Praise His good Name!

And of course God’s arms are attached to God’s hands! Hands that enfold us in security and safety, those of us who are saved! Hands that are engraved with our very names! That’s what Isaiah 49:16 says!

God does many other things with those arms too. With them He even redeemed us according to Exodus 6:6 and Psalm 77:15.  And you can just know that the arms that redeemed us will also do everything else we need … all the way to Heaven!

The Lord can even scatter His enemies … with His arms! See Psalm 89:10. I reckon He can take care of my enemies too!

No wonder we love to sing about those hands and arms and shoulders!

“Leaning on the everlasting arms!”

"What a fellowship!"

"What a joy divine!"

"Leaning on the everlasting arms!"

Hum a bit of it today as you work!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Lord’s blessings upon His children certainly include one benefit after another. So many in fact that one hymn writer encouraged us to “Count our Blessings.” Name them one by one, suggesting that it would surprise us what the Lord has done!

But think about this too.  The Lord’s blessings might not be restricted just to the things He does to us or for us!

His blessings might extend in a more outward direction as well.

God can bless us … by what He does to our family for example!

Or by what He does to our Church and Pastor!

But, did you ever think of this? God can also bless us by what He does to our enemies!

Yes, part of the Asher blessing in Deuteronomy 33, spoken from the lips of Moses and inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, includes such an anti-enemy clause!

Read it here. It is said of the Lord ... “He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee.” Deuteronomy 33:27

The noun “enemy” is spelled “oyeb” and means one’s foes. The Greek word is built upon the root idea of “hatred,” one who hates you! Twice in the King James Bible “oreb” is translated “foe or foes,” but the rest of its 282 appearances it is rendered “enemy or enemies.”

This does not necessarily mean harm to your enemy! It could come in the form of a friendly takeover! The first time “oyeb” is used in Scripture such is the case. God says to Abraham, “In blessing I will bless thee … and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” Genesis 22:17

To “thrust out,” in Hebrew “garish,” means to expel or drive away someone. Here the verb is placed in the Piel stem, showing drastic and intensive action!

“Before thee” is “paneh” and means one’s "face!"  God can get those pesky little rascals out of you face!

What a promise!

What a prayer for a loved one this would be too!

God can do it … deport the enemy!

Now that we have seen the promise, listen to some of the Jews turning this little “nugget” into a prayer.

God said, “I will thrust out the enemy!”

Therefore Moses prayed, every single day: “Rise up, Lord, and let Thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee.” Numbers 10:35

And now in Psalm 83:13 … “O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.” That’s thrusting them out for sure!

Then Psalm 58:9 … “He (the Lord) shall take them away (the enemies) as with a whirlwind, both living, and in His wrath.”

Sounds like this promise about the enemies took root!

And do you remember what Jesus said to the devil during that forty day ordeal, Christ’s Temptation? “Get thee hence, Satan!” Matthew 4:10 just says "Get out!"

What a blessing!

The enemies … “thrust out” … by our Heavenly Father!

Oh, by the way, here’s one creative way God did that, thinned the enemy population. He promised to “send the hornet among them” until they that were left hid themselves from Israel!” Deuteronomy 7:20

Hornets are wonderful scattering devices!

One or two of them could probably empty the cockpit of an F-16 fighter, even with all its state-of-the-art technology!

What do you think?

One more time ... “He, the Lord, shall thrust out the enemy from before thee.” Deuteronomy 33:27


                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, clearly presents the fact that as Christians we will have enemies.

It just as clearly promises that God can deal with them!

Deuteronomy 33:27, part of Moses’ last blessing upon the Hebrew Tribe of Asher, illustrates what I mean.

"The eternal God is thy Refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them."

The last two clauses of this Passage read: “He (the Lord) shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”

The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob here just promised to expel Israel’s enemies, but that’s not all! He further instructs Asher to “destroy them!”  This verb is an imperative, thus a command is being issued  “Shamad” means “to exterminate, to annihilate, to devastate” and once “to overthrow” something or someone.

Of course the enemies being discussed here are vile and reprobate people. God’s Grace has tarried and pled with them for hundreds of years, at least four centuries. They have spurned it at every opportunity.  These people have sinned away their day of Grace, as the old timers used to express it.  Crossed God’s deadline.

Now let me make one thing clear, very clear. We today in the New Testament era, in the dispensation of God’s manifold Grace, do not destroy anyone! Not even the devil! Vengeance belongs to God. He will handle such things … at the right time and in the right way!

But the fact remains. God empowered the children of Asher to overcome and decimate those wicked people. I cannot change that Bible fact. I do not want to do so. I dare not so “touch” the Word of God!

But, wait a minute.

While I cannot and will not today harm anyone, a person, I can and should “destroy” certain sins that track me!

They are enemies too!

I can “kill” old habits that would sap strength from my spiritual life, my walk with God. I can “sever” relationships with people who are leading me astray! Jesus even suggested that I amputate a rebellious hand or arm or excise an eye that would have wrought my damnation! That’s “destruction” for sure!

Listen to Paul: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth.” Then he explains: “Fornication, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence,” all of which are sexual sins!  To “mortify” means “to put to death! It’s “nekroo.” But lest we misunderstand, Paul adds coveteousness to the “hit” list of sins as well.

The “spirit” of today’s verse can be applied to the enemies of your spiritual health!

Slay that giant of laziness, the one that hinders or forbids your reading the Bible as you should!

Choke that sin of gossip or slander that grips you so tightly.

In Romans 8:13 Paul adds: “Mortify the deeds of the body.”

Same idea.

And, thankfully, just as God empowered Asher to defeat his enemies literally, we can do so to our besetting sins spiritually!

“Destroy them!”

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




I just noticed something about Asher, the Blessed Tribe, that is exciting.

When Israel marched, following the Ark of the Covenant and the Cloud of God’s Glory, Asher with all his multitudes marched between two other Tribes. Dan apparently went first, then after Asher, came Naphtali.

Asher, the Tribe of blessedness and happiness and victory, traveled between the Tribe whose name means Judgment … and the Tribe whose name means Wrestling!

Do you see the principle taught here?

Delight in the Christian life comes because we keep our sins confessed and judged and forsaken … and because we are always ready, vigilantly so, to wrestle with the devil and his cohorts!

Therein is victory!

Also this honored Tribe inherited some mighty good land … and some mighty bad land! Twenty-two cities were theirs according to Joshua 19:24-31.

Good cities like Beten which means “womb” and Amad which means “enduring” then on to Carmel which means “garden land” thus including Neiel which means “moved by God!” Hebron was theirs which means “fellowship” and Rehob which means “broad place” and Hammon meaning “warm springs” all the way to Tyre which means “rock” and Hosah meaning “refuge” and Ummah meaning “union!”

But bad cities like Achshaph which means “bewitched” and Bethdagon, “the house of Dagon!”  Achzib was included in their lot, meaning “deceit.” 

The Asherites could dip their feet in oil, so rich and good was some of their holdings! But they had to wear shoes of iron and brass so treacherous was some of their terrain. So it is in the godly life! We must learn to cope!

Good and bad will come our way! Hold to the good, spurn the bad! Asher learned successfully to do so!

Lastly, notice that Asher lives rather quietly, producing no King or great Prophet that’s mentioned in Scripture. However, there is Anna! A lady of pure reputation who loved being at God’s House. It was she who saw Baby Jesus in the Temple and recognized in Him the coming Redemption of God!

So, the people of Asher were sensitive and discerning of Jesus our Lord!

That alone is blessing enough!

In fact, Jesus, He is THE BLESSING!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell






Thank YOU for visiting our Website!

You are visitor number ...

Hit Counter


Copyright ©2007 DrMikeBagwell.org  All Rights Reserved.

Hosted by ChurchWebDesign.org

The Fundamental Top 500