The Sons of Issachar
Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.
1 Chronicles 12.32
1 Chronicles 12 is a stirring chapter that describes the “mighty men” who helped David in war. If you want to read about some valiant, heroic men, then read this chapter. Among them are the sons of Issachar, who are described as men who “understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.” People of understanding are able to respond appropriately to the circumstances that surround them. Elders, preachers, and parents need to understand the times in which they live if they are going to know what they, as God’s people should do.
Do we recognize the devaluation of life fueled by a humanistic system that lowers man to the level of nothing more than another beast of the field? Are we disturbed by the senseless violence that is often perpetrated by children? Do we understand that:
- Our society is losing the war in terms of morality?
- The times are becoming more and more Godless?
- Our times are becoming increasingly filled with senseless violence and destruction?
- People are turning more and more to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain of their frustrations and problems?
It is important to recognize that merely identifying problems does not necessarily “understand the times.” There are many people who fret and fume about the state of the world, without having any idea why we are entangled in a catastrophic mess. If we truly “understand the times”, we will recognize where to go to find the solutions we seek: To the word of God. Again, this involves more than merely quoting texts. It involves the ability to properly apply the principles of Scripture to our lives. And that involves more than applying our intellect; we must apply God’s revelation (our Bible) to the situation. We must believe that God’s word, when applied, will correct any situation involving sin. We must have the courage to follow it in the face of opposition from those who neither believe nor follow it. “Understanding the times” calls us to action, not to fear and dismay. People who “understand the times” are not going to be running amok, throwing their hands in despair, crying, “The sky is falling!” They are going to take up the armor of God and march into battle. They are going to live with the confident assurance that Satan and evil can be overcome.
Let us have the courage of Joshua and Caleb, those mentioned in Hebrews 11, and all others who demonstrated complete trust and confidence in God’s way to be victorious.