Joshua 19:17-23 Every person is a diamond in the wild

Joshua 19:17-23 Every person is a diamond in the wild

The fourth lot fell to Issachar, to the sons of Issachar according to their families. 18 Their territory was to Jezreel and included Chesulloth and Shunem, 19 and Hapharaim and Shion and Anaharath, 20 and Rabbith and Kishion and Ebez, 21 and Remeth and En- gannim and En- haddah and Beth- pazzez. 22 The border reached to Tabor and Shahazumah and Beth- shemesh, and their border ended at the Jordan; sixteen cities with their villages. 23 This was the inheritance of the tribe of the sons of Issachar according to their families, the cities with their villages.

Background

The tribe Issachar appeared to have played an insignificant role in the life of Israel. In fact, it contributed in ways that were subtle yet critical in shaping Israel’s history. It provided scholarly wisdom to King David’s administration and to the children of Israel. Today’s devotion teaches us that every person has a unique purpose that can only be realised through careful and skilful mentoring. And we are not to judge a person by his appearance, capabilities or usefulness.

Observation

Issachar was the fourth of the seven remaining tribes to receive its lot. Issachar’s territory laid east of Zebulun covering the fertile and beautiful valley of Jezreel. It’s description consisted of a list of cities with the eastern portion of the northern boundary (see map below).

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Jacob’s prophecy concerning Issachar was undistinguished (see Genesis 49:14-15). However, Issachar played a subtle but important role in ancient Israel’s history. Traditional sources see Issachar as being dominated by religious scholars. This view came from a well-known allusion to 1 Chronicles 12:32, “Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do…” where they served as advisors to King David’s court at a critical time. It is well accepted that Jewish religious scholars at that time predominantly came from either the tribe of Levi or Issachar. In fact, Zebulun and Issachar was seen as close knitted brothers where Issachar would devote himself to the study and teaching of the law, while Zebulun would provide financial support. Zebulun was the rich merchant and Issachar, the religious teacher, both existed in symbiotic fashion.

Truth

Every person is a diamond in the wild

The tribe of Issachar appeared homely, lacklustre and undistinguished from his brothers. However, they provided invaluable wisdom to the administration of King David. Issachar’s role was subtle, hidden, nevertheless critical to Israel’s survival. Their scholarly contributions seemed muted at the back of more illustrious profiles of the Benjamites and Judahites who possessed military prowess, the wealthy Zebulunites or the priestly Levites.

Every believer possesses gifts that are needed for the growth of God’s kingdom. However, not everyone’s countenance standout from the crowd, and their gifts may not be immediately apparent at inception. However, given time and some nurturing, they will begin to radiate their peculiar glory. Hence, it is important not to judge a person by his appearance or immediate relevance to the ministry.

Diamonds as they are found in the wild are not impressive. They have none of the magical flashes of light which in the finished product make them unique among the noble family of gems. It is in polishing that the glittering brilliance of a diamond is acquired. The art of turning a rough diamond to its supreme glory is a long process requiring a superlative degree of skill. Similarly, the success of turning every believer into an effective minister very much hinges on the skill and vision of the mentor. Therefore, every believer is a diamond in its rough state. It requires on the part of the mentor utmost skill and patience in turning them to worthy instruments for God’s use.

Zebulun as every caring brother would, faithfully came alongside Issachar believing that he would one day take on his ordained role in the body of Israel. The church in the back of their evangelistic efforts must pay careful attention to the process of disciple making. In doing so, we present every member sanctified for the coming of Jesus.

Application

Do you feel lost not knowing the purpose of your existence? God has formed you in your mother’s womb and ordained your days according to His purposes (see Psalms 139). Even though you may not be fully aware of your purpose, God is directing your path even as you read these words. As you involve yourself in the ministries of your church, you will see in greater clarity your purpose in the days ahead.

Dear Lord, I thank you for calling me for a unique purpose and ministry. I give you the freedom to mould me and equip me for your purposes. Fill me with your Spirit, and cause me to take on your characteristics and to do all that you have done on earth. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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