A. Overcoming the Archers’ Attack
Genesis 49:23 and 24 say, "The archers have bitterly harassed him, and shot at him, and lay in wait for him: but his bow remained firm" (Heb.). Joseph overcame the archers’ attack. The spiritual significance of this is that in all suffering we more than conquer (Rom. 8:36-37). The sufferings cannot suppress us; rather, we subdue the sufferings.
B. Being Made Strong by the Mighty One
Although Joseph was persecuted, harassed, and attacked, he remained strong. He was not only strong, but also agile. Verse 24 says, "The arms of his hands were made strong and agile by the hands of the mighty One of Jacob" (Heb.). The more Joseph suffered and the more he was attacked, the more he became strong. His suffering also trained him to be agile. In order for our arms and legs to be agile, we need to be trained by suffering. Joseph was a trained person; he was trained through his sufferings. It is the same with us today. All the opposition and the rumors only help us to be agile.
Joseph, of course, was made strong and agile by the mighty One of Jacob. The source of his strength and agility was God. If you read Joseph’s history, you will see that God was always with him. When he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, he said, "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (39:9). This indicates that God was with him. His strength and his agility came from God.
Today in the Lord’s recovery we are empowered in the grace of Christ to withstand all opposition for the Lord’s testimony (2 Tim. 2:1). Our strength is not of ourselves, but of the Lord. As long as we have Him as the source of our strength, no opposition can suppress us.
C. Tearing like a Wolf
In 49:27 Benjamin is likened to a tearing wolf: "Benjamin is a tearing wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and in the evening he shall divide the spoil" (Heb.). The term "wolf" is not a pleasant term. However, whenever you tear anything, you cannot be nice; rather, you must be like a wolf. When we had to tear down some things in order to complete the building of the meeting hall in Anaheim, I observed the expressions of those who were doing this work. The expression on every face was fierce. A gentleman cannot tear down anything. Whenever you are about to tear something down, you must be a wolf. Benjamin was a wolf.
In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul says, "Overthrowing reasonings and every high thing rising up against the knowledge of God, and taking captive every thought unto the obedience of Christ." When I was young, I thought that Paul was proud in saying this. Speaking about overthrowing reasonings and every high thing and about capturing thoughts is not nice, humble, gentle, mild, or kind. When Paul wrote those words, he was a tearing wolf. Many times when I contact others I am humble and nice. But at certain times I am like a wolf tearing things into pieces. In ordinary talk, I am a gentleman, but there are times when I show no mercy. Sometimes my co-workers and even my dear wife have asked me to be merciful toward others. But can you ask a tearing wolf to be merciful? If a wolf could speak, he would say, "In my language there is no such word as mercy." A tearing wolf shows no mercy. We are not tearing people into pieces; we are tearing Satan. We are also tearing into pieces the dissenting thoughts and reasonings. All these high things must be torn to shreds.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 105, by Witness Lee)