|Listen to the Bible|
Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:
Genesis 29 and 30 deal with the 12 sons of Jacob, who would father the 12 tribes of Israel. The names of these patriarchs are prophesies giving the steps of the personal journey we all take, in our Walk with God. I'd like to invite you to take these steps with me today, as we personalize and spiritually journey through the prophetic names of the sons of Jacob.
1. Reuben - means “Seeing.” – 1st Born of Leah.
The first step, in our Walk with God, is the Gift of Sight. Without spiritual Sight, we cannot perceive our need of a Saviour, nor even discern our sinfulness to repent. Spiritual Growth and Conversion to begin with, both require the spiritual Gift of Seeing. This is why God instructs us ask Him to bless us with SIGHT.
Mark 4:11-12 "And He said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."
Revelation 3:18 "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
As Scripture tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:18, it is by "beholding" that we are "changed". Let us ask God to help us to see - and to spiritually behold Him, today. May we each keep our eyes fixed upon Him that we may be transformed into His lovely Image.
2. Simeon - means “Hearing” – 2nd born of Leah.
Once we have been given spiritual Sight, the next step is Hearing. We need to be able to hear God. The Gift of spiritual Hearing isn't given only to some Christians, but not not others. Scripture tells us that all of God's Sheep "hear His Voice" and "follow Him" (John 10:27).
God speaks to us in four main ways:
1) through the Bible
2) through people
3) through circumstances
4) through listening prayer
Let's take a moment and look more closely at how God speaks, through each of these ways:
God gives us special messages through His Word.
To show how this works, consider some of the most dynamic examples of how God has communicated with my family through Scripture. One dramatic demonstration of how this works happened to my father several years ago. God used a special verse to encourage my father when his truck broke down.
Having lived in North Pole, Alaska, my family were moving back to California. My father was the last one to leave Alaska, as the rest of our family had gone on ahead earlier in the week. Mid-week, Lou (my father) was following along driving a medium-sized, International truck containing the family furniture and belongings. He had just reached Prince Rupert, in British Columbia, when the truck’s clutch plate broke.
By the mercy of God, my dad found himself stranded on the side of a hill. But thankfully, he was only two blocks from a truck repair place. He easily walked the distance and the manager of the repair shop immediately responded by trying to find the needed parts to repair the truck. After trying all of his connections, the manager of the repair shop informed my dad that it would be impossible to get the parts quickly. It looked like there was no way for him to reach California by Friday, as planned.
Concerned, my father cried out to God in prayer. God impressed him to read in Isaiah Chapter 41. As his eyes fell on the following verse, his heart leaped with joy! It was just the assurance he needed to know that the Heavenly Father was going to fix the truck in time. (Parenthetical notes are added to the verse to show the personal meaning God gave to my dad).
Isaiah 41:15 “Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument (International was first developed making harvesting equipment) having teeth (the working parts needed for the clutch assembly): thou shalt thresh the mountains (as he was stuck on the side of a hill), and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff.”
Overjoyed, my dad shared God’s message with the skeptical auto-repair manager. Then my father was impressed to go to the bus depot as they had International buses. The man there told him where to go (a place about 20 miles away). The manager of the auto repair shop was able to get the parts and fix the truck. The next day, my father was “threshing” the mountains with his fully-functioning truck. Just as God promised, he did reach California on time!
God also speaks to us through people.
There are many ways in which this takes place. One example, in our family, happened when I was in the middle of writing one of my books. I reached the section on the two silver trumpets, blown on the Feast of Trumpets by the Children of Israel. Its significance was critical to the spiritual message of the book. However, I could not understand it. Having exhausted every method of Bible study and resource I knew, I was still at a loss to finding the spiritual meaning of the two silver trumpets.
Unable to proceed, I prayed, asking God to show me the prophetic significance in those trumpets. The very next morning I received a phone call from a person I had not spoken with for over a year. The purpose of the call? To share an exciting Bible study on the prophetic significance of the two silver trumpets! Praising God for His answer through this unsuspecting person, I continued writing the book on schedule.
God speaks to us through circumstances.
The most dramatic example of God speaking to me through circumstances happened when I was 18 years old. Upon graduating from high school, I was informed that my parents had saved up money to give me. It was intended for college, but the funds were mine to use as I saw fit. To my parents’ chagrin, I was leaning towards using the funds for a new car rather than a college education. But, true to their word, my parents were prepared to allow me to use the money even for the purchase of a new car. My dad asked only that I pray a “fleece” (like Gideon in the Bible) regarding how to use this money.
I am sorry to admit that I chose a foolish fleece, asking that if God wanted me to use the funds for college that it would be impossible to buy the specified car on the same we went to the car dealership. Secretly (for which I am ashamed), I believed that there was no way I wouldn’t get a car in one day, after all, my father and I were car shopping in the Bay Area of California. Even if the selected car dealer didn’t have my desired car, he could surely get it from a few hundred other dealers. Someone was bound to have the car! In spite of the immaturity of my prayer and the selfish choice of “fleece.,” God still lovingly intervened.
When we went into the Napa dealership, nothing the very motivated salesman could do could get the desired car that day. After hours on the phone with every car dealer throughout the whole Bay Area, my car salesman admitted defeat. More than 20 cars had sold that day, some minutes before the salesman called!
With a clear picture that God truly wanted me to go to college, I repented of my naughtiness, used the funds for college as my parents had hoped, and saw the abundant blessings of God for it. At college I met my husband, Mark, and had a life-changing opportunity to go as a student missionary. None of these experiences were worth losing for any car!
Finally, God speaks through listening prayer.
Listening prayer is the quiet communion that goes on continuously between God and His people. It is the Father’s “still, small Voice.” God speaks to everyone. But, if we disregard His Voice through disobedience, or choose not to take the time to listen, His Voice grows quieter and quieter. When we do listen, we will hear His Voice, for He has promised that His sheep hear His Voice (John 10). The authenticity of His Words are tested by His Word and by His Fruit. Once we are certain it is His Voice, we need to obey. To do otherwise is to slowly silence Him!
Let us ask God to bless us with spiritual hearing today. May we hear His Voice and be obedient to His Will, as good sheep.
3. Levi - means “Joined”– 3rd born of Leah.
This was the priestly line--only Levites were permitted to be priests. The meaning of the name "Levi" specifically references being "Joined with God". We are to join Him in service. We are to join Him in what He is doing, rather than asking Him to join us in our plans.
When God called Moses to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt to Canaan, HE was already at work to free the Children of Israel (Exodus 2:23-25). God spoke to Moses out of a burning Bush, calling him to JOIN God in the work He was doing for Israel.
The reality of it is that God is always at work around us. He is working for the redemption of lost mankind. Today, instead of asking God to bless our plans, let's ask Him to allow us to JOIN HIM in what He is already doing. And as He does, you can expect the unexpected. Joining God, instead of asking Him to bless us in doing things our way, is the third step in having a powerful and effective Walk with God.
4. Judah - means “Praise” – 4th born of Leah.
God's Throne is set up in the Praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). It is through Praising God that we are enabled to enter the atmosphere of Heaven, living as true citizens of His Kingdom.
Praise is not something we do only when we feel like it, or when things seem to be going well. Praise is the very breath of Heaven.
Psalm 150:6 "Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD (Yahweh). Praise ye the LORD (Yahweh)."
Psalm 34:1 "...I will bless the LORD (Yahweh) at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
In my own experience, I have found that praising God gives the strength to go forward in the difficult times. I have even found tremendous emotional and physical pain relief through praising the Most High!
5. Dan – means “God is Judge” – 1st born of Bilhah.
Christians often have a wrong idea of God's Judgment. We think of His Judgment as scary and painful. And this is certainly a final aspect of Judgment, in terms of dealing with unrepentant wickedness. But Judgment isn't only negative. Judgment is giving a reward. Eternal Life is a Judgment. This is the good Judgment God gives to His people.
God's Judgment Role is also a blessing in our lives before right now. In fact the Judgment of God is a powerful part of spiritual warfare.
In our family, when we have sensed that the enemy is working through people and circumstances to oppose the Work of God in and through us, we ask God to Judge! We ask Him to Judge whether or not a certain ministry work we are doing is His Will. If it is His Will for us to be able to accomplish this work, we ask Him to please render Judgment against the enemy, who is preventing or impeding this work. Time and again, the blockages melt away because we pray this way. And we have learned, dramatically, how wonderful it is to ask God to Judge on behalf of His people.
Daniel 7:22 "...The Ancient of Days came, and Judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the Kingdom."
6. Naphtali - means “Wrestling” and a "Hind" – 2nd born of Bilhah.
Wrestling was what Jacob did prior to receiving the new name of Israel. It's a word used uniquely in Ephesians 6 - the Armour of God. God will suit you up in His Armour, if you ask Him, equipping you to "as a prince, prevail with God."
As we wrestle in prayer, seeking the Blessing of God upon our lives, He empowers us to move with "hinds feet" upon Heavenly Places.
7. Gad - means “A troop comes” – 1st born of Zilpah.
What is the result of the prayers of God's people? The powerful fruits of prayer are born out in this seventh son's name. Gad means "A troop comes". God is sending Help. This is why the weakest, praying Christian is more than a match for all the hosts of Hell.
Psalm 91:10-13 "There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet."
Isaiah 59:19-20 "So shall they fear the Name of the LORD (Yahweh) from the west, and His Glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD (Yahweh) shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD (Yahweh)."
8. Asher - means “Blessed” – 2nd born of Zilpah.
Truly, when God has given us spiritual Sight and spiritual Hearing, when He has called us to join Him in His Work, we are praising Him at all times, and any resistance of the enemy is met with the Judgment of God; we are blessed!
But being blessed isn't just a byproduct of a godly life. It is also something we can specifically seek. Scripture tells us how to fully activate the blessings of God upon your life. When you do, whatever you do will prosper. This is the key to true success:
Psalm 1:1-3 "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the Law of the LORD (Yahweh); and in his Law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
9. Issachar - means “Wages” – 5th born of Leah.
A working man labors throughout the day for wages. The wages are the fruit of the labor. And it is at this stage that we find the motivation to continue on, even through the trials. For those who follow God, and have taking the prior 8 steps, God has promised "Wages". Their labor will not be in vain.
Isaiah 65:23-24 "They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the Seed of the Blessed of the LORD (Yahweh), and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."Hebrews 10:35-37 "Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the Will of God, ye might receive the Promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry."
10. Zebulun - means “Dwelling with husband” – 6th born of Leah.
God is preparing us to dwell with Him - now and forever. As we abide in Him, we bear Fruit. And we become a fit "bride" for the Heavenly Bridegroom. In Scripture, we are told that God doesn't want His people to become unequally yoked (2 Corinthians 6:14). God also will not be unequally yoked. He is working to fit us to dwell with Him - as our Heavenly Husband.
He is preparing us now, day by day. Dwelling = abiding with Him:
1 John 2:28 "And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His Coming."
11. Joseph - means “The Lord (Yahweh) will add a son” – 1st born of Rachel.
This Godly man is a figure (type) of Christ, and his coat of many colours was a precept of how Yahshua (Jesus) had His vesture dipped in blood as Saviour to all colours and races of men.
At first, in our Walk with God, we are priviledged to be His servants. But, He doesn't leave us there. God wants an intimate relationship that involves knowing Him and understanding what He is up to. So, He takes us into the more intimate bond of friendship with Himself:
John 15:15 "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you."
But God doesn't even stop at friendship. As the name "Joseph" means, "Yahweh will add a son". He makes us sons, who not only love Him and understand, but also are full inheritors of all that is in the Father's House:
Hosea 1:10 "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not My people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God."
12. Benjamin - means “Son of the right hand” – 2nd born of Rachel.
The right hand is a Hebrew expression for a king's power and authority. Not only will be counted among the sons of the living God, we will share in all that is at His right Hand.
Psalm 16:11 "Thou wilt show me the Path of Life: in Thy Presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right Hand there are pleasures for evermore."
These are the amazing prophetic promises God makes to all the spiritual descendants of Israel through the names of Jacob's 12 sons... What a wonderful God! Now, I encourage you to take the time to pray through each of the 12 steps. Ask God to bless you with each of them today. These are the blessings God has promised to spiritual Israel.