Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The sons of Isaachar

Isaachar first appears in Genesis 30 vs 17. He is the 5th biological son of Leah. He came into her life when it was thought she was past bearing children, perhaps she thought God was done with her; the later part of Genesis 29 vs 35 says 'Then she stopped having children'. What I found most interesting about vs 17a is that it says 'He is listening Elohim to Leah', that is the literal translation but I did not find anywhere where Leah directly prayed to God recorded in that Chapter or the one before, In chapter 29 it says that the Lord saw that she was not loved and He opened her womb. He is the God of all comfort. God saw her struggles, He saw how she fought to be noticed, He saw that she was ignored, she went as far bargaining vegetables to get a night with Jacob, she used her maid as means to gain more ground in the family home.

I do feel that God was calling Leah, He was trying to pull her to Himself, all through her struggles.

When she named her son Levi which means attached, she hoped her husband would become attached to her. Well, he didn't really become attached to her but you know what God did with Levi - He attached Levi to Himself instead. Levi was the tribe chosen to serve as priests before God in Israel.

God was always pulling Leah to look up, but as we get a glimpse to her background we see that she came from a family where they mixed and matched things up, so she couldn't really see. Rachel had hidden her father's household gods when they left his house, they were still dealing at the level of household gods - idolatry, dependence on other things for help or divination, that was the kind of environment they came from, there was some fear of God but they were not thorough in their ways with God, they were not sold out completely to God, we see how Laban changed Jacob's pay 10 times and how he substituted one sister for another which created the dysfunction and polygamy in Jacob's home.

Issachar was a gift from God, same way Issachar is a gift to the body of Christ, Issachar will always be a vessel through which God will lend Himself to a people, to a nation, to a season, to a time. In Issachar we see God pulling Leah up and saying come to me, look up to me...

Genesis 49 vs 14-15: Issachar is a raw boned donkey lying down among the sheep pens. When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labour.

The literal translation is as follows: Issachar donkey of rib reclining between the hearthstones and he is seeing the resting place that it is good and the land that she is pleasant and he shall stretch out shoulder blades of him to bear the burden of and he shall become to tribute of one serving.

When Jacob called his sons together he said I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come. He gave each son the blessing appropriate to him. See Gen 49 vs 1 & 28

Issachar is a discerner, he may be a nobody, he may just be reclining when God gives him the Spirit of discernment to recognise that where he is reclining - is good & the land is pleasant

II Kings 2 vs 19 "Then the men of the city said to Elisha, “Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren" These were discerners, they didn't just give up on the city, they saw it's potential.

What does Issachar do: He bends his shoulders to bear the burden and becomes a gift of service - a gift through service...

What does Elisha do: 'And he said, “Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.' So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke.' 2 Kings 2 vs 22-23

1 Chronicles 12 vs 32: of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command;

There is one thing to understand times and there is another to know what to do. Issachar knew how to do both. 1 Chronicles 12 verse 1 records that David was still a fugitive but they knew that it was time for David to be king and it was the right thing to do to come to fight and make him king.

We see the tribe of Issachar again in Judges 5 vs 15 "And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; As Issachar, so was Barak sent into the valley under his command"

The princes of Issachar again, they did not leave the work to the lower ranks, at all times their chiefs & princes were present & got involved - rolled up their sleeves and got busy bearing the burden of service. The place of service is not always glamorous, the position of travailing prayer is not always easy. Our Lord Himself says 'A woman, when she is in labour, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.'

Some background is given in Judges 4 about the oppression of Israel under the hands of the king of Canaan for 20 years and Israel's cry out to God, I find in Judges 4 that a lot of the natural detail is given whilst in Judges 5 the spiritual detail is given. I find Judges 5 so rich, it is rich indeed in detail - we can only draw on a few aspects of it in this post as there is so much in there.

Vs 7 & 8: village life in Israel ceased, until Deborah arose - a mother in Israel. A mother to birth the purposes of God, she got up with the princes and willing volunteers.

Vs 15: they sing that Issachar was with Barak (and I don't mean Barack Obama :-), they sing again that Issachar rushed after him into the valley and in vs 18: they tell again that the people of Zebulum risked their own lives

Vs 15b & 16: they sing about Reuben, Gilead, Dan & Asher and this is not a song of praise or tribute but one of rebuke. They are described as ones with 'great investigations of heart' they want to "think" about it 'ones who shuffle their feet' 'who seat on their bums' and the song enquiry goes 'what were you waiting behind to hear - the bleating of sheep?'

Vs 19: the kings came and they fought and they took no gain of money. These are people who did not come to fight for financial gain or reward.

Hebrews 11 vs 16 'But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is NOT ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them'

There is a time when God is looking for people to act, people who will rise up, who will not care about rank, who will not act for gain or reward but who will simply be motivated by their love and passion for the purposes of God, who will say 'here I am send me', who will see a resting place and recognise that it is good, this is a place God could use, discern that this is a place God wants to use and say Lord how do we bring Your sanity back to this place? That time is now.

Deuteronomy 33 vs 18 -19 'Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out, and you, Issachar, in your tents. They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer the sacrifices of the righteous; they will feast on the abundance of the seas, on the treasures hidden in the sand.'

God is calling us to be a part of a heavenly fight, As I said earlier Judges 5 is so rich in detail

Vs 20 says 'They fought from the heavens; The stars from their courses fought against Sisera'

When Deborah rose up knowing what needed to be done, Barak and those with him including the sons of Issachar, they knew that there was a battle before them and they needed to fight it. As they mobilised and fought it on the earth. Heaven fought above for them and we know that heaven never looses a fight! The stars describe the angelic host.

I have been trying to write about Issachar for a long time and I knew then in my spirit that it wasn't quite ready until today. I had thought I would write something generic (about discernment, times & seasons) but I realise God wants to be very specific today.

At beginning of this year, God began to speak to me about His Church - His bride, as mentioned in an earlier post I shared this with In God's Company and we responded by standing in the gap for the Church. There were times like Elijah and Jonah - I wondered if we should abandon it through the course of the year BUT you have to remember what God said to you and set your face like a flint and keep going.

The church may not be looking like all she has been called to be right now, neither can we see yet the harvest that a no of us are looking to see in the greater public, just like when Issachar came to David, he was still a fugitive. It is time to push for the glorious bride of Christ to be revealed from her hiding place and for harvest to come. It is time to push for revival. There is so much darkness but that is when the light must shine brighter and brighter, and the darkness will not comprehend her.

We have come to the time in the Church where God is looking for mothers to birth the purposes of God, He is looking for valiant men, leaders & nobodies who will put their hand to the plough and not look back. The heavens belong to God and the earth He has given to the sons of men. God is looking for people who will stand in the gap to push for revival here on earth and as we push, heaven will back us up, people who will stand in the gap for the bride of Christ and pray the prayer of repentance like Daniel, like Nehemiah, like Ezra. He is looking for Peters and Pauls who will preach the gospel, Philips and Stephens who will evangelise the world.

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4

Some of the prayers that we need to pray at this time are prayers of warfare. To disarm principalities and powers blinding people's minds from seeing the light of the gospel and also to pray for the church to rise up & take her rightful place as SALT & LIGHT of the earth. We need to cry out and ask God to intervene as A MAN OF WAR.

The Lord is a Man of War, The Lord is His name Exodus 15:3
Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle Psalm 144 vs 1
He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze Psalm 18 vs 34

Ephesians 6 vs 19-20 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Acts 12 vs 5 'Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church' vs 10-11 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.

Acts 4 vs 31 'And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.'

God is looking for intercessors that will pray for the Church, that will pray for the gospel to be spread and that will go forth and preach same gospel amongst the lost.

A beautiful young lady called Praise wrote and I copy her post: Before we are SENT out by God, we are CALLED by Him. Our tendency is to skip the "called" part. And we get burnt out in our mission fields, because we haven't gathered the strength, and the wisdom from the quiet place. How is God calling you today? Is He beckoning you to spend time in His word? In worship? In prayer? In reflection?

Luke 9:1-2 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

This is the time that God is calling the Church to His feet in prayer, worship & fasting so that we can be sent out in power and for the Church to take her rightful place in the world.

I believed; therefore I have spoken

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