Joshua 19:10-16 The ministry of wealth is a divine ordination
Now the third lot came up for the sons of Zebulun according to their families. And the territory of their inheritance was as far as Sarid. 11 Then their border went up to the west and to Maralah, it then touched Dabbesheth and reached to the brook that is before Jokneam. 12 Then it turned from Sarid to the east toward the sunrise as far as the border of Chisloth- tabor, and it proceeded to Daberath and up to Japhia. 13 From there it continued eastward toward the sunrise to Gath- hepher, to Eth- kazin, and it proceeded to Rimmon which stretches to Neah. 14 The border circled around it on the north to Hannathon, and it ended at the valley of Iphtahel. 15 Included also were Kattah and Nahalal and Shimron and Idalah and Bethlehem; twelve cities with their villages. 16 This was the inheritance of the sons of Zebulun according to their families, these cities with their villages.
Zebulun’s allotment was by Jacob’s prophecy apportioned squarely between the two seas along the maritime trade route. This enriched the Zebulun tribe considerably giving them huge resources to support Israel’s military campaigns. Today’s devotion teaches us that the ministry of wealth is a divine ordination. God will entrust His resources to those who have His kingdom’s needs at heart.
Jacob’s blessing designated Zebulun along the seaborne trade and be enriched by it.
Zebulun will dwell at the seashore;
And he shall be a haven for ships,
And his flank shall be toward Sidon. Genesis 49:13
Moses did not deviate from the course of Jacob’s blessing, “they will feast on the abundance of the seas,” Deuteronomy 33:19.
As seen in the map below, Zebulun was flanked by the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee. Zebulun was ordained to prosper with material riches. Hence, they were positioned to benefit from seaborne trade.
Zebulun was given priority over his brother Issachar in casting lots for land allotment. Even the Song of Deborah celebrated Zebulun’s courage and loyalty, “offered their lives to death in the region of Merom” (see Judges 5:14, 18). Zebulun, in the absence of Issachar was listed among the armies who joined Gideon to battle the Midianites (Judges 6:35). Zebulun also contributed the largest military contingent (from the west side of Canaan) to David’s army and they were reputed as experienced and loyal (see 1 Chronicles 12:33).
Zebulun was given preference in part due to their diligent and selfless attitude but Issachar showed up as lazy and submissive in Jacob’s blessing.
Issachar is a rawboned donkey,
Lying down between the sheepfolds.
When he saw that a resting place was good
And that the land was pleasant,
He bowed his shoulder to bear burdens,
And became a slave at forced labor. Genesis 49:14-15
As we know it, the tribe of Issachar were later recruited as force labourers for the Canaanites.
The ministry of wealth is a divine ordination.
God alone is the source of wealth. Man may work hard, but without God’s favor, he will by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground. Genesis 3:19. Without God’s blessing, man will experience painful toil in scratching out a livelihood. He will not reap the abundant riches of the earth and will have nothing left over for retirement. However, God can place a man at the right place and at the right time to reap the opportunities at hand. Those whom God has ordained have an uncanny ability to spot trends and create wealth with seemingly casual effort. Many tried to win God’s favor by giving their businesses an altruistic spin. And by “covering” their soulish propositions with prayers and “prophetic” declarations. Nevertheless, the ministry of wealth is a divine ordination, definitely not a humanistic ambition.
God placed Zebulun squarely between the 2 seas which benefitted the tribe tremendously. The businessmen of Zebulun did not have to work the fields like their brothers in this predominantly agricultural nation. They traded in all kinds of commodities brought in by maritime traders. Jacob and Moses’ prophecies towards Zebulun reveal God’s overriding influence in determining the blessedness of a people or family. God had ordained Zebulun for the ministry of wealth, to support his brothers in the time of need.
The opportunity and ability to create wealth is given to those who are diligent and selfless in little things.
Jesus taught concerning the master’s reward to the faithful servant, “Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things.” Matthew 25:23. God entrusts resources to those who are faithful and who selflessly labours for the benefit of the whole community. Yet, many gave with the promise of manifold returns. This universal principle applies to material wealth, spiritual gifts and angelic resources. God’s plan is always to fulfill the great commission of spreading the gospel to the world. Hence, God will entrust to His faithful servants divine authority and resources as He did for Christ.
The tribe of Zebulun consistently demonstrated faithfulness and selflessness from the days of Jacob, to the Judges and to the reign of King David. It is no wonder that God enriched Zebulun so that he may help his brothers. As believers demonstrate faithfulness in tithe giving and in helping the poor, God will put them at the right place and at the right time to reap the opportunities at hand.
Are you burdened with anxieties while working relentlessly to gather wealth? Seek to hear God’s instructions every morning through His Word and obey Him. In doing so, He fills us with wisdom, peace and courage to accomplish our work for the day. Be mindful that abundant life does not come from material riches. Those who love riches are mired with all kinds of sorrows and temptations.
Dear Lord, bless me with riches so that I may become a blessing to others. I will be faithful to all that you have entrusted to me. Use me to bless those who are marginalised and to sow into the mission field. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.