Zebulun and Naphtali moments: God in the least expected places.

Your life isn’t probably full of big moments but smaller, unnoticeable ones. You have made decisions to give and go and to bless and love and it has all been done in a hidden way. Yes there have been times of great accolade and you have stood before crowds perhaps as they have clapped you. But mostly the audience has been one. You went to the unassuming, the least expectant, you found a need, a small cry you heard and you responded with love. It was of course an audience of two. The one who would receive you and the One in heaven who called you to join Him in the act of grace.

“Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali – to fulfil what was said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4 v 13-16)

Matthew continues to delve into the Scriptures to see prophetic connections between the decisions Jesus made and what the prophets foresaw (Isaiah 9).

The 2 tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali settled in this region of Galilee. Nazareth was in the area of Zebulun and Capernaum within Naphtali. The ministry of Christ would predominantly be seen here. It wouldn’t remain here. It would stretch far and wide. It would be carried beyond, along the trade route to the Sea and especially to the world of the Gentiles.

The Jews who have settled in Gentile territory away from the glamour of Jerusalem and its flamboyant religious festivals are in effect living in the shadows. But Jesus has come. The Light is here.

I know of a Pastor’s wife who bakes cakes for her neighbours to bless them. I have a friend who isn’t ordained but she has tirelessly taught the Bible to a group who come from a deprived housing estate and would never think of going to church. My daughter continually meets non-Christians online to discuss life and the gospel. The highlights of my life have been feeding a young prisoner boy food in a run-down prison of Burkina Faso; stooping low and contorting my body so that I could hug a man with severe leprosy in India; teaching the Bible in an isolated Enkaji (Masai hut) to a man with 4 wives and lots of children; singing action songs with children who had spent 8 hours making bricks in the factories of Pakistan; weeping with an escaped Chibok girl from the evil clutches of Boko Haram; sitting speechless but making plans to help those rescued from the traffickers in Cambodia; paying for someone’s petrol in Sainsbury’s; picking up dog excrement every Sunday morning outside church so that my people didn’t step in it; the list goes on.  You have your list. Think of them now.

We need to keep on making these lists.

These are the Zebulun and Naphtali moments: God in the least expected places and moments. No one knows you are doing it but He does. The hidden stages of life.

You won’t be on Youtube. But your acts will go viral because they will go way beyond so that only eternity will tell you what happened with that gesture, the act of kindness, the word of love shared etc.

Maybe today again you will go into the least expected place. There isn’t a stage but the Saviour is with you. It isn’t Jerusalem or a big church stage. There isn’t a crowd but He is watching you.

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