Monday, February 14, 2011

Revelation 7 (Part 7) Issachar


By Odon Bulamba (3rd June 2005)
Issachar was the fifth of the six sons born to Jacob by his first wife Leah.

Blessing in Genesis 49:14, 15
Issachar is a strong donkey,
Lying down between the sheepfolds,
When he saw that a resting place was good
and the land was pleasant,
He bowed his shoulder to bear burdens 
and became a slave at forced labour
Lying down between the sheepfolds,

God in Revelation 7 chooses that man and the Bible tells us God gave him enough strength. He was a strong donkey.

What does a donkey do? It pulls a cart and carries heavy things.
The donkey also lies down, “couching down between two burdens”. Nobody can tell a strong donkey: “Stand up!” Donkeys are stubborn, they are unique. All donkeys look alike, you’ll recognise them trough their actions only. If you try to push a donkey, they’ll turn around and kick. I’ve even seen a donkey bite a human being. They are really naughty and arrogant although they look good and seem to be nice and obedient. Their actions are rude.

So Issachar was given power from God, good power to work hard.
 Similarly when we got saved we all said; "I want to server you, I want to be with you and I want to pray."  and somewhere on our way, maybe because we carry a heavy bag, we decide to sit down.  If I prayed twice a day, I'll only pray in the evenings, if I used to pray before leaving home, I'll decide to pray on my way to work...with these new habits we'll start to lose our old good ways.

God knew that through Issachar, others would be born, Samson or David.

Issachar wasn’t good at working, so he started to lose his strength. A clever child that never reads his notes or never does his homework will start to lose his intelligence. In the same way, if we don’t work we might be strong at first but end up losing our abilities. We might find ourselves down.

God’s will was for Issachar to be strong and support others so that weak people could go to his descendants and find help. They were meant to feed and support the  disabled. God continues to bless them though. But whenever they find a place of luxury and easy life, they stop and settle there. “Why should we carry on?”

Similarly when people have needs, they kneel down and pray with power asking for God's help but when their need is met, they forget God.  If they were looking for a husband, then they have one, they forget God:  "God, Hallelujah!  God answered me.  Bless me now".  And that is it for God in their lives.

God’s will was for them to be the brightest.  Issachar’s tribe was supposed to protect and support others but when they found the honey of this world and God’s blessing among them, they stopped there. Most of these people want to study and do business. They are the cleverest ones among the tribes of Israel. They are strong not only physically but also mentally. All of them are doctors, scientists or philosophers. They have put God aside to choose the luxury of this world and they use their knowledge to create things for the world that might even destroy the world (atomic bombs and other things).
Sometimes, God looks at them and feels sorry for them. He remembered why he had chosen them: to be His people and to help others gain freedom. Unfortunately, they didn’t fulfil this role. Instead, they found themselves between two things; on the one hand they know God blesses them and on the other hand they work to survive, they make an effort to become someone in life. They are between two saddlebags (sheepfolds) and they find it hard to make up their mind. They carry God’s power on the one hand and the power of this life on the other hand: “What shall I wear tomorrow and what shall I do for God?” When we do this, we become divided, we don’t know where to go, what to start with, God, my family, my needs? At that stage, God opens His eyes widely, observes us and how we act.

What should they be doing?

Some people start with a prayer whenever they walk in their office in the morning “God bless me, bless my colleagues, bless my office.” One day when I reached work, I prayed and God said the
chair I was sitting on wasn’t good, someone had said a magic prayer on it. It wasn’t clean. So I changed the chair and thanked God for His protection.

Be careful in this world, we don’t know who is who, you might be listening to a witch, and you’ll never know. First pray and you’ll know. Through prayer you might discover your best friend or teacher is not who you think he is. Appearance can be deceiving. Be careful, just pray at every second.

Do we bend our shoulders to show God we can’t carry on?  Because of these two heavy burdens they were carrying they started to bend their shoulders. Will they carry on or just show they are tired because it’s too heavy? And how many times do we show God we can’t carry on anymore?

We tell God: “Give me enough faith, enough power and strength.” And God gives. But despite of all of this, when temptation comes, even though the temptation is lesser that our faith, we are the first to complain. “This is heavy, I can’t control it, I can’t carry on”. God then reminds us He had just given us more strength and just asks us to persevere. We complain more and more. Finally, God who tried to support us, sees that we don’t understand Him, we don’t understand He is with us. And sometimes we all do as Moses did: “God, I can’t speak.” But God has given us a mouth. You might stutter or not be able to express yourselves clearly, remember people will still listen to you. So if even people give you their attention, why do you think God can’t?

In this tribe, God will chose only 12 000 people. When Elijah (Yahweh is my God) and Moses will be back to announce Jesus-Christ, some people from this tribe will stand up, speak with power and go to their people to encourage them to believe in Jesus. These will be the 12,000 chosen.

This tribe understand the meaning of times

1 Chronicles 12:32: this tribe understood the times.

We are also called to understand the times we are living now. If you suffer, remember suffering is not your friend, you were not born to suffer it’s just for a time. First go through that time and then God will change your life. If you have a need today, think about this notion of time. Even in our faith, let’s think about time: we will not be Christians forever, one day this life will end and we will go somewhere to rest with God. When Jesus comes back, our Christian life will stop, I won’t read my Bible every day, kneel down, cry before God and spread the gospel anymore.

So, think about time. Whenever you go through a hard time, tell yourself it’s just for a time. If I suffer today, tomorrow it will end. If people don’t listen to me today, tomorrow, they will. If today God doesn’t respond to my prayers, tomorrow He will. By doing so, your faith will grow. But if you keep complaining you didn’t receive what you asked for and don’t know what’s next, you’ll lose hope.

Remember Jesus came on this earth and waited for more than 29 years to speak out the gospel although He saw people sin every day, commit crimes and abuse the Word of God. He was there,
observing, living with them until the day was right to start his ministry.  He was patient, waiting for the right time to come.

One day I had to go to a meeting and my plane was due to leave a 4:00am. But at 4:00 am we were asked to wait because of a technical problem. I was sure this would make me miss my meeting. We were late and I was complaining, ready to hate the people of that company. But behind this, God had a plan. The people who left before us had a plane accident as they were landing. Although we arrived with a two-hour delay, we were safe. I could have died on the other plane. This was God’s timing. When God delays things, let’s understand the time is not there yet.

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