Why choose the name “12 Tribes” for a place that is dedicated to guiding people in finding paths of peace and healing helping them pull the broken places of their lives together again? How does “12 Tribes” apply to a space dedicated to mining spiritual truth from the Scriptures, encouraging Christians in their daily walk and teaching how to use this truth to bring restoration and wholeness to bruised hearts?
Well, this is the story:
As the years have passed in my own relationship with God, He has led me into a deep and passionate love for His Chosen People. The stories of antiquity captured my heart. The Old Testament stories make me feel like I am returning to something familiar, solid, eternal. He has been feeding my inmost being, showing me principles and practical applications from these adventures of old. The truth of this verse:
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NASB.
became powerfully alive in the midst of this journey with God! The Holy Spirit led me to study the book of Nehemiah for an entire year – I learned why names and lists are so important to the Lord and that the rebuilding of the walls and gates related to the rebuilding process of our souls (look for a book/study about this in the coming year). From there I was given a strong curiosity, a desire to examine the names of the 12 tribes of Israel to see what could be learned…and learn I did!
These 12 Tribes originated from the sons of Jacob, the Biblical patriarch….12 in number from different mothers. Their story is far from being dry or boring…the human drama excels the best plot-lines of even modern action-adventures and romance stories!
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NAMES
I believe that each of their names hints at a wonderful legacy for us to inherit…
You see, in Biblical times, great care was taken in giving a child their name. Frequently, inquiry was made to God on what name a child should be given. The name of someone was believed to represent 3 ideas:
the very person,
all that is known about the person,
and the very presence of the person…(you can see how incredible this concept is when considering that Christians asked to pray “in Jesus’ name”!)
To find the meaning of someone’s name was to know quite a bit about the person and the destiny of that person.
So, relating this to the 12 Tribes of Israel, first we investigate the meaning of their names. The Tribes (in order of birth) and the meaning of their names are as follows:
Reuben – viewing (or behold) the son
Simeon – hearing and obeying
Levi – joining or cleaving to
Judah – confession or praise of God
Zebulon – home or dwelling place
Issachar – reward or what is given by way of reward
Dan – judging
Gad – a company
Asher – happy or blessed (blessings). This word is always in the plural form.
Naphtali – a wrestler or striving with
Joseph – added, an addition
Benjamin – son of the right hand
Reuben – Focus/Worship
Simeon – Wisdom
Levi – Embrace
Judah – Praise/Declare
Zebulon – Abide
Issachar – Reward/Treasure
Dan – Discernment
Gad – Fellowship
Naphtali – Conqueror or victory
Joseph – Increase
Benjamin – Honor
The journey from new believer to mature; from weakness or fear or abuse to peace and joy and wholeness, could be said to follow thepath disclosed through these names:
As we “behold the Son of God”, fostering a new focus on Him, we are worshippers. As we hear His word and learn to obey it, we gain wisdom. Through worship and wisdom we draw close to His heart and experience oneness of spirit -His embrace. We declare His praise as we linger/abide in that embrace through the wisdom we have gained. His Presence becomes a reward and treasure to us as we grow. And we also grow in discernment (purpose and discretion) as we fellowship with the Lord as well as other believers. All the blessings of God are learned, understood, and experienced in the body of believers. But the blessings are allowed to be tested, and if we truly have developed the previous attributes, we will enter into the test, battle for what we KNOW is ours, and emerge as a conqueror or, at least, achieve victory. Finally, we will experience increase in all that God has promised us and our lives will bring honor to the Lord Himself and to the people that bear His name…
When you and the team at 12 Tribes Ministries work together, you will experience healing of the heart as we progress along the path outlined here, but particularly in these three areas: 1) of His Presence becoming a reward and treasure, 2) growing in discernment, 3) and understanding the blessings.
The record of the Tribes of Israel shows God’s interaction with His Chosen people – His love, His Covenant, His Desire, His Provision, His Joy, His Sorrow…of how He carries His Chosen Ones over His Heart, and of the blessings He intends for His Chosen Ones to receive. His “Chosen Ones” includes us, for “you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..!” (1 Peter 2:9)