One. SENSITIVITY: ISSACHAR.
Genesis 30:14-18 - “During the wheat harvest season Reuben went and found mandrakes in the field and brought them to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, 'Please give me some of your son's mandrakes [so that I can be fertile].' … She answered, 'Isn't it enough that you have taken away my husband? Do you have to take my son's mandrakes too?' Rachel said. 'Very well; in exchange for your son's mandrakes, sleep with him tonight.' … When Jacob came in from the field in the evening, Leah went out to meet him and said, 'You have to come and sleep with me, because I've hired you with my son's mandrakes.' So Jacob slept with her that night. … God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. … Leah said, 'God has given me my hire, because I gave my slave-girl to my husband.' So she called his Issachar [hire, reward].”
1 Chronicles 12:32 - “Of the descendants of Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel ought to do, there were 200 leaders, and all their kinsmen were under their command.”
The temperament of Issachar is quite low-key. In this respect he is a double introvert: Mark-Phlegmatic/Luke-Melancholic.
But every one of the 12 tribes is necessary and important. Blessed is the church with a number of members with this temperament. Note the verse in 1 Chronicles above. The church that has members who understand the times, and what to do about it - is indeed blessed! But the City Church that has among its local churches a number characterized by the temperament of Issachar - is also blessed.
This son, tribe and temperament, is marked by a clear sensitivity to situations and the feelings and needs of others. You can also depend upon the faithfulness residing in this temperament. Out of these two characteristics, flows an obedient spirit. God loves the traits exhibited by this temperament. Fellow human beings likewise appreciate the Issachar spirit.
Two. SENSITIVITY: JACOB & MOSES.
Genesis 49:14-15 - “Issachar is a strong donkey lying down in the sheep shed. … On seeing how good is settled life and how pleasant the country, he will bend his back to the burden, and submit to forced labor.”
Deuteronomy 33:18-19. “Of Zebulun he said: 'Rejoice, Zebulun, as you go forth, and you, Issachar, in your tents. ... They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer righteous sacrifices; for they will draw from the abundance of the seas and from the hidden treasures of the sand.'"
Jacob especially prophesies over his sons, and Moses carries additional words for the sons now become tribes. To understand one's own temperament and giftings, it is helpful to see how each of the 12 temperaments listed by Dr. Tim LaHaye, correspond with the sons and tribes above. Again it is important to note that each of the tribes are necessary and helpful. In the last chapters of the book of Judges, we see the deep concern of the remaining 11 tribes when Benjamin was reduced to 600 young men without wives. Because of the provision the 11 tribes made, Benjamin's tribe received 600 virgin wives. Think what it would have meant were we to have missed the Apostle Paul, a Benjamite, and author of one half the books of the New Testament!
Both Jacob and Moses concurred concerning the servant spirit of Issachar. Issachar ben Jacob - may your tribe increase!
Three. SENSITIVITY: TOPAZ AND DONKEY.
Exodus 28:17. “Put in it settings of stones, four rows of stones: the first row is to be a carnelian, a TOPAZ and an emerald.”
1 Kings 1:32-35 - “King David said, 'Summon Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada.' They came before the king. … The king said to them, 'Take with you the servants of your lord, have Solomon my son ride on my own mule and bring him down to Gihon. … There Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet are to anoint him king over Israel. Sound the shofar and say, 'Long live King Solomon!' … Then escort him back; he is to come and sit on my throne; for he is to take my place as king. I have appointed him to rule over Israel and Judah.'”
Matthew 21:4-5 - This happened in order to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, … “Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Look! Your King is coming to you, riding humbly on a donkey, and on a colt, the offspring of a beast of burden!'”
Moses had the name of Issachar placed upon the beautiful golden-yellow topaz, the second stone on the Breastplate of Judgment that Aaron wore.
In the East, Buddhist priests wear yellow saffron robes, the sign of wisdom. This certainly accords with the insight concerning Issachar recorded in 1 Chronicles 12.
Most of the tribes of Israel had an animal assigned to describe their character. All of the tribes had an ensign for their marches recorded in the book of Numbers, and their wars as recorded in the book of Joshua. If an animal was assigned in this manner, then it would appear on the ensign: such as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the Wolf of Benjamin. The Donkey was a fitting symbol for the tribe of Issachar.
In the Middle East the donkey has a value assigned to it far greater than we in the West see in it. It was a sign of wealth, as in the book of Job. It was a sign of honor and prestige - for David had his newly crowned son as king ride on his own royal donkey; and Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday upon a donkey.
High in the Andes, there is scarce a time of dusk. Within moments the light of day changes to the dark of night. Fortunate the traveler or missionary riding a donkey at such a time. He lets the reins go slack, and the faithful and wise donkey picks his way safely home over the high and treacherous mountain trails.
Four. SENSITIVITY: FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT.
Galatians 5:22-23 - “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, … humility, self control. Nothing in the Torah stands against such things.” (CJB)
The character of Issachar well accords with the fruit of the Spirit. The full character of Jesus is seen in this fruit - and Issachar among the 12 tribes has a large share of this. His full brother Zebulun needed the Gifts of the Spirit as confirmation in his goings out - but Issachar rested in the fruit of the Spirit. Peace, patience, faithfulness, humility and self-control are noteworthy parts of the character of this tribe. Jesus Himself held in perfect balance the 12-fold positive attributes of the tribes - and that of Issachar in the quietness of his character -- shines out to honor the Son of man and the Son of God.
Five. SENSITIVITY: H. W. RIFFLE AND DREAMS.
Job 33:14-18 - “God speaks once, even twice, and still the hearer misses the point. … 'In a dream, in a vision at night, when slumber falls upon people, as they sleep in their beds, … he opens people's ears and seals the matter with a warning, … to turn a person away from his action and protect a man from pride, ... so that he will keep himself away from the pit and from perishing by the sword.'” (CJB)
It is significant how much of the Bible deals with dreams and visions. Joseph and Daniel stand out in this gifting. God told adversaries of Moses that he alone heard from God face to face. All other prophets heard from Him indirectly through dreams and visions. Jeremiah had to await a night vision from God for 10 days before he could answer the handful of Jews left in Jerusalem following the first captivity. Another time following a marvelous revelation He received from God concerning the restoration after 70 years - he reported that he then awoke - and his sleep was sweet! Dreams and night visions from God produce this response of “sweet sleep!”
Herman Riffel has a Mennonite background, but then became a Baptist pastor. He has written a number of books on dreams. Both John Sanford and Morton Kelsey - themselves authors of dream books - speak very highly of the work of Herman Riffel. Many books on dreams are not too Biblical or sound, but his are helpful.
Issachar quite probably received his wisdom and understanding of the times and how to take advantage of it - from dreams.
A word of caution: God initiates wisdom through dreams, visions and the Rhema word of the Spirit. This is certainly perfectly Scriptural and legitimate. Some believers however are tempted to take this out of balance with the Written Word. Smith Wigglesworth NEVER acted on the former immediately. Instead he went apart, and let the Written Word go through his mind from Genesis to Revelation. If ANYTHING from dreams, visions, pictures or Rhema words stood out as a contradiction - he immediately REJECTED that oral word. If no red flag came up through this consistent check-up, then he immediately obeyed.
I fear that many today rush into dreams, visions, pictures, revelations and words of the Spirit without employing this careful check. Confusion, frustration, deception and error are then SURE to follow. When Wigglesworth was asked what he considered to be the chief reason God used him, he did NOT say it was praying in the Spirit (tongues) much every day, though he did. It was instead the above guideline. He knew that God could get through to him on earth any time of any day. God also knew He could trust His servant to check EVERY Rhema word (including pictures, dreams and visions) with the written LOgos word before taking action. THIS, Wigglesworth said, is why God uses me.
Remember that the RHEma word is only mentioned in the New Testament 70 times. The Logos, written word, 330 times - 4 ½ to 1! George Muller and Rees Howells spent hours every day reading the Bible on their knees. ANY leading of the Lord by the Spirit, they too like Wigglesworth checked it out by the Written Word before acting upon it.
I give this word of caution, because every time I teach on dreams and visions, a number of believers pick up on it and tend to take it into an area of imbalance. I find this alarming, and even frightening. Smith Wigglesworth continually warned in like manner about following voices and such revelation apart from a stronger emphasis on the Bible itself. Mature Christians well grounded in the Bible - and accustomed to check out all Spirit revelation, do not take off into this area of imbalance. Younger believers, or those not solidly grounded in the Bible, need to hear and regard this word of caution.
Six. SENSITIVITY: FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE.
Exodus 18:17-23 - “Moses' father-in-law said to him, 'What you are doing isn't good. … You will certainly wear yourself out - and not only yourself, but also these people here with you as well. It's too much for you - you can't do it alone, by yourself. … So listen now to what I have to say. I will give you some advice, and God will be with you. You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases to God. … You should also teach them the laws and the teachings, and show them how to live their lives and what work they should do. ... But you should choose from among all the people competent men who are God-fearing, honest and incorruptible to be their leaders, in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. ... Normally, they will settle the people's disputes. They should bring you the difficult cases; but ordinary matters they should decide themselves. In this way, they will make it easier for you and share the load with you. … If you do this - and God is directing you to do it - you will be able to endure; and all these people too will arrive at their destination peacefully.'” (CJB)
There are 12 overall people groups in the world. One of the most interesting of these groups is our First Nations People. Many of you have seen “Dances with Wolves” with Kevin Costner. There you can see the wisdom of the elders of the tribe. They give time to hear from all - even the young hot heads. But like James of Jerusalem in Acts 15, the head elder gives his final word at the end, settling all controversy.
When a young boy reaches his teens, he is sent out alone to fast and kill an animal and receive a dream denoting his totem animal. Usually his father, unknownst to the son, watches over him at a distance behind trees. But this is a serious occasion in the life of this young “brave.” And the dreams received produce a sensitivity to the Great Spirit, and to the signs of nature and the earth.
It develops a faithfulness to be true to himself, and to his tribe and his people. An undergirding obedience comes from this. He learns the proper care of animals, and like Issachar, has a contribution and value to the rest of humanity. As this “Issachar” gifting is perceived and received by the rest of the world's ethnic groups, God can bring revival to our land. Throughout both North and South America there are First Nations People of hundreds of different tribes and backgrounds. Many of us honor them, respect them and increasingly draw from them. Like a Benjamin, the total human race will not make it in the fullness of God's purposes apart from all of our First Nations People. The Scripture reading from Exodus is an illustration of the wisdom that Moses received from one of this spirit. Some do not see this as wisdom from God - but remember that Jethro said - And if God confirms my words to you - then these good things will happen. We are sure that God confirmed this word of Jethro, and the blessing to the nation of Israel because of this, continued to the days of Jesus. We see him dividing the multitudes before miraculously feeding them into companies of 50's and 100's, just as Jethro gave counsel to Moses!
Seven. SENSITIVITY: 1948 VISITATION.
Proverbs 6:20-23 - “My son, obey your father's command, and don't abandon your mother's teaching. … Bind them always on your heart, tie them around your neck. … When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you wake up, they will talk with you. … For the commandment (mitzvah) is a lamp, the Teaching (Torah) is light, and reproofs that discipline are the way to life.” (CJB)
Of the entire 12 Embryonic Revival Principles God brought together in the 1948 Visitation, I personally find this one of great value. We cannot forego one of them - yet this is indeed in the primary core.
In a very high degree George Hawtin exemplified this 3-fold trait. During the four years I walked with and under him, I saw it as a consistent mode of his leadership. He did not move unilaterally. He moved in team spirit. But it was the sensitivity to the gentle nudging of the Spirit that especially intrigued me - and unknowing to me - like osmosis - rubbed off on me. Years later I found myself in a leadership position. Some 40-50 intercessors would meet in a 4-day “United Extraordinary Prayer” Conference. We would fast except for a very light supper each day. A core group would meet 2-3 times a day in prayer to seek the mind of the Lord for His direction in our 3 daily meetings. It was at these times I would sense the same kind of spirit exhibited by George Hawtin 40 years ago - guiding me to make continual changes in our pre-planned human agenda. Then we would find the same type of team corroboration leading us to Spirit obedience that I had witnessed, experienced and been part of in 1948.
In 1944 Mrs. Mary Bertha Allquist of Port Alberni, BC Canada gave me the answer to God's Urim and Thummim for Israel's High Priest. Mrs. Allquist was a Jewish convert and following her conversion became a missionary to her people. She had literally worn out 4 Bibles. Not only were the pages loose from the binding, but the margins of the pages were worn back to the printing! In the process she had memorized the entire Bible, and much of it in Hebrew.
The Scripture portion above exactly describes the physical position of the Urim and Thummim in the Breastplate of Judgment. Three wonderful blessings flow from its spiritual application for you and for me. Join with me in walking daily in this Revival principle flowing out of the 1948 Visitation.