All who were numbered of the forces with Dan, one hundred and fifty-seven thousand six hundred—they shall break camp last, with their standards.(Numbers 2:31)
Though the camp of Dan was positioned in the north, it was the camp assigned to bring up the rear. Some might say that this placed Dan as “last,’ but as we know, “last” in the Kingdom doesn’t necessarily mean the least. In fact, Messiah taught that, in certain situations, “the last will be first” (Matthew 20:16). So rather than looking at Dan as being the last and least, I want to look at an important principle revealed in their positioning that has value for us today.
The Hebrew word דן Dan is formed by the letters ד dalet and ן nun sofit (final form). Rabbinical commentators have made the observation that if these two letters were fused together into one letter, they would resemble the letter called ת tav, which is “last” in a sense, and yet, one of the important letters in the Hebrew alphabet. In fact, this letter is regarded as a “seal,” as if to say, God has put His seal of approval and authority upon something. When you consider that the word dan means “to judge,” it suggests that when God decrees a thing or makes a judgment, His last (not least) action is to seal that decision.
It isn’t hard for us to grasp the notion that God goes before us because He, in fact, told Israel, “The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you” (Deuteronomy 1:30). But as we know, Messiah is the “first and the last” which means, not only does He go before us into battle, He is also behind us to protect the rear. He seals us, as it were, with His Presence and thus He says, “The LORD will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12).
So then, as believers. we can trust that He has ordered our steps and prepares the way before us. With the same certainty, we can trust that He is protecting us from those things of the past that would love to sneak up and attack us where we are most vulnerable — from behind. But for those who have placed their trust in the Messiah, the things of the past have been forgiven and forgotten. The decree has already been determined and the past has been put under seal by the blood of the Lamb. So let us thank our Heavenly Father that Messiah is “first and last” in our lives in every way — the Author and FINISHER of our faith.
Blessings and Shalom,