The Tribe Of Zebulun
13 “Zebulun shall dwell at the shore of the sea; he shall become a haven for ships, and his border shall be at Sidon.
I think of the smell of the sea when I think of him. Initially this was because of the prophecy of Jacob. I also think of Jesus, because Nazareth was in the region assigned to Zebulun and Naphtali. Isaiah mentioned this, and so did Matthew.
Ironically, during his lifetime, most of what we know, has Zebulun tied to the land. It makes me wonder if the prophecy God gave him, was tied to a desire of Zebulun. Each of us has dreams we may be afraid to vocalize, yet God both hears and cares.
He was the sixth son of Leah, and the last boy, Dinah, a daughter, being Leah’s seventh child. We know very little about him, except for his naming. His name meant exalted, and his Mother said her children was her dowry God had given her. Leah, the sorrowful one, the tender eyed one, the rejected one, gave birth to honor, who would inherit the sea.
An oddity occurs in Jacob’s prophecy, he mentions a pagan city, older than Tyre, called Sidon. He ties Zebulun’s future to it. Sidon means hunting, fishing, specifically “in the sense of catching fish”. What does honor have to do with fishing, for the answer to that, ask Simon Peter.
1 But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
If you take the first word of Isaiah 9:6, and the thirteenth, and put them together, you get the word forgiven. Aren’t you glad that Jesus made glorious the seashore Of Galilee, and brought to light the way we could receive His riches. We were forgiven, never forgotten, never forsaken. Oh the depth of The Water Of Life, and His riches!
The greatest honor of Zebulun would not be the experiences of his family in The Old Testament, but those in The New Testament. The region the tribe inherited, would bear witness to the ministry of Jesus. The Great Fisher would traverse the seaside of the territory of both Zebulun and Naphtali.
Even going to the region of Tyre and Sidon, to heal the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7. He would also tell His followers, He would make them Fishers of Men. There is no greater honor than being part of Jesus’ plan. Concerning the miracle in Mark 7, it says He entered a certain house, have you ever wondered who’s house it was?
I don’t know, but I would venture it was a house ready to receive Jesus. Whether it was an acquaintance, a relative who lived there, or someone with knowledge of Jesus, there was a connection made. Say what you will, but He went there in secret, one desperate woman found out, He heard her cry, answered, and returned to Galilee.
I believe Jesus went there so that particular woman could find Him. I do not believe it was coincidence, I believe it was strategic. What if, Jesus appointed the inheritance of Zebulun and Naphtali all those years before, not so they would reap the riches of Sidon, but so Sidon could reap the riches of Jesus?
Who are we connected with who’s daughter needs Jesus? Who are we pouring into that needs Jesus? Are we on the coast of someone’s life who needs a haven for their ship? Are we a warehouse or a Lighthouse? If we are a Lighthouse are we purposely shining into someone’s darkness, not with judgement but with hope?
I’m not talking about showing them where they’re lacking, they know that, I’m talking about shining into their suffering. The word in Genesis 49:13 translated ship, specifically focuses on shipmen. God isn’t concerned about their cargo, or baggage, he’s concerned with their safety.
Are you connected enough with anyone who doesn’t know Jesus, enough to get an invitation to their house? To be welcomed, we must first be friendly, then attractive, not in a physical sense, but a relational one. Jesus wasn’t only Holy, He was interesting. Are we making ourselves attractive to non-believers? Jesus had something the world not only needed, but wanted.
23 They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters;
24 These see the works of the Lord, and his wonders in the deep.
I believe the verse in Psalms 107:23, 24, is prophetic about the time of Jesus. The great waters aren’t only talking about physical commerce, but spiritual transformation. The Sea of Galilee may not be physically great waters, but there was nothing deeper ever spoken or experienced, than the words of Jesus from Simon’s fishing boat, and it all happened in Zebulun and Naphtali’s inheritance.
Some would say that Zebulun was a lesser tribe, maybe you feel that way about yourself. Maybe you measure yourself against others, not their prominence, I’m sure you don’t care about that. However maybe you worry that the work you do is not as valuable. Perhaps you feel that you’re not contributing anything of lasting value, but you have to remember two things.
First, The Talent Giver isn’t giving you an arbitrary gift. He didn’t just give you what is left. Jesus handcrafted every talent, resource, and calling for each of Jacob’s children, and for you. What Jacob and Esau missed was this, Isaac may have had one birthright and blessing, but God didn’t.
He showed Jacob, through twelve sons, and a daughter, that God had individual characteristics, callings, and blessings for each of them, for us, and for you. The greatest lies of atheism aren’t only denying that we have A Creator, but a Glorious Creator, and that He created EACH OF US, with a specific calling, and purpose, just like Zebulun.
Second, each of us factors into God’s plan. It wasn’t a strategic move on Jacob’s part to have twelve sons, but it was on God’s part. Before Jacob ever saw even Reuben’s newborn face, much less Zebulun, Jesus saw his border expanding to the sea.
It was God who called you and I, and everyone else in this world. You are a strategic part of God’s Master Plan, to introduce The Master into the lives of those you specifically come in contact with. Jesus has made you a haven, so welcome every weary soul to a place of true riches, at The Feet Of Jesus!