Summary: Detailed individial look at each of the twelve tribes of Israel. With focus on the unique name and mission as a tribe fullfilling God’s plan.

The Twelve Tribes of Israel (Part 4) Issachar, Zebulon and Judah

“And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together,

that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)

Intro: Today we finish the sermon series titled “The Twelve Tribes of Israel”

My hope is that as we look at each Tribe…, it has been like going through an old family photo album, And showing pictures of grandparents and great–grandparents and uncles and aunts,

And seeing the value and richness of where the family has come from.

And hearing the struggles and triumphant of our forefathers and foremothers.

So we can see that God kept His promise He made in covenant with Abraham…,

Not only to make Abraham the father of a great nation,

But how God planned to form Israel the people…, into the Church today through Jesus Christ.

Today we are going to talk about the tribes of Issachar, Zebulon and Judah.

Let’s review all the names of the Twelve tribes…

1. Reuben Leah

2. Simeon Leah

3. Levi Leah

4. Judah Leah

5. Dan Bilhah

6. Naphtali Bilhah

7. Gad Zilpah

8. Asher Zilpah

9. Issachar Leah

10. Zebulon Leah

11. Joseph Rachel (Manasseh, Ephraim)

12. Benjamin Rachel

Now Israel…, Jacob is dying…, and on his death bed,

he calls each of children…

One by one and announces blessing and curses, judgments and promises about their destiny…

Jacob and Leah’s final two sons are Issachar and Zebulon.

Let’s first read Jacob’s prophecy of…,

I. Issachar

"Issachar is a strong beast of burden, resting among the sheepfolds." Genesis 49:14 (NLT)

The beginning of Issachar can be read in Genesis 30.

Leah became pregnant on a night with Jacob…, that she essentially purchased from Rachel…,

for a handful of “mandrake” roots…,

Mandrake are used as an herbal fertility drug.

So the bitter story of conflict and jealousy between Rachael and Leah…,

is a continuation of a true life “soap opera” of drama, scandal and deceit .

Praying to God on the one hand and then taking matters into our own hands the next…

Issachar is described by his father Jacob as a “beast of burden”

Notice the image on the banner, the “beast of burden” for the tribe of Issachar…

Perhaps Jacob was thinking of a “donkey.”

One thing that we must remember about the donkey,

is if the load becomes too heavy, with sacks weighing him down on both sides,

the donkey will just sit down, and refuse to go on.

The tribe of Issachar would be distinguished for their ability and strength to work hard,

but they would have a slave mentality and would live under the oppressive hand of their masters.

Hear is a life application point: Joseph P. Kennedy is credited for saying…,

“When the going gets tough…, the tough get going.”

(Joseph P. Kennedy was the father of John F. Kennedy)

When a situation is difficult and not easy…, people of strong faith work harder to resolve the problem. When the situation becomes hard, strong people work harder.

I don’t want to be like the “donkey-minded Issachars.”

They had the talent to be industrious,

but at times when things got bad or the enemies of Israel ... invaded the land,

instead of Issachar rising to the occasion and bearing the burden…

they were satisfied to just sit down and let others do the work and fighting for them.

(“resting among the sheepfold.”)

Do you know people who not only pull their weight…, but they also help pull others along with them?

Don’t let your gifts go un-given

Don’t let your talents be wasted

Don’t let your abilities be unused

God has made you great at something…, do something (worship) with what God has given you…

What will people say about you?

When there was a need she rose to the occasion?

When the work was demanding and challenging he worked harder and gave even more?

Or like Issachar…, when the going got tough… they were seen resting while others labored forward?

When the work becomes its most demanding…,

That’s when I try to step it up a notch. Instead of going to rest among the sheepfold…

Let’s turn our attention to the Tribe of…

II. Zebulon

"Zebulun will settle on the shores of the sea and will be a harbor for ships; his borders will extend to Sidon." Genesis 49:13 (NLT)

Notice the image of the “the ship” for the Tribe of Zebulon.

Can you see Leah, outside her tent on a hot Mesopotamian afternoon…,

Calling: Reuben…, Simeon…, Levi…, Judah…, Issachar…

Listen and hear the names and meanings of her sons…

Listen to the progression in Leah’s understanding and her faith

Reuben-- “ Behold a son.”

Simeon-- “The Lord has Listened”

Levi-- “God has joined or attached me to Jacob”

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