Naphtali is a doe set free
that bears beautiful fawns.
A year or two ago, while browsing at a charity stall, I paid a small amount of money to buy an old Methodist hymnal. But the truth is, it is priceless. It is such a treasure. You can still be ‘burned’ by the fires of revival, glowing through these old words. My copy dates back to 1933, and, according to a handwritten note inside the cover, it was presented ‘to the Methodist Society at Melmerby’ in 1934.
This morning I ‘just happened’ to read this opening paragraph of the preface:
‘Methodism was born in song. Charles Wesley wrote the first hymns of the Evangelical Revival during the great Whitsuntide of 1738 when his brother and he were “filled with the Spirit,” and from that time onwards the Methodists have never ceased to sing. Their characteristic poet is still Charles Wesley. While for half a century hymns poured continually from his pen on almost every subject within the compass of Christianity, and while no part of the New Testament escaped him, most of all he sang the “gospel according to St.Paul.” He is the poet of the Evangelical faith. By consequence Methodism has always been able to sing its creed.’
Here are some of the most famous words Wesley ever wrote:
‘My chains fell off, my heart was free;
I rose, went forth and followed Thee.’
I made a mental connection with this great hymn and Genesis 49:21. How wonderful it is to be ‘set free’!
Apparently this verse in Genesis can be rendered:
“Naphtali is a doe set free he utters beautiful words”
That was Charles Wesley don’t you think? Liberated by Christ, he expressed his faith in excellent, lovely language, and the church at large has been the beneficiary. ‘He is the poet of the Evangelical faith.’
‘The image of “a hind (doe) let loose” suggests a free-spirited people, not bound to tradition. The tribe was located in the hill country. So this image was chosen wisely…The last clause – “he gives goodly (beautiful) words” (NKJV) – suggests they were a poetic people who could express themselves well. Possessing the abilities to run like does and speak beautiful words, the people of Naphtali would make ideal messengers.’ Warren W. Wiersbe: ‘Old Testament Commentary’, p.138.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord for setting me free from sin, death and the devil. In my glorious liberty, may I ‘give birth’ to beautiful things that will bless others.