“Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”
— 1 Chronicles 12:32a, NIV.
Many times we find ourselves lost in the world. We were swayed by the social pressures of the world and are drowned by the tides of the times. We speak about “standing firm in the faith” during our weekly fellowship but we later brush it aside and talk about our weaknesses and struggles along with everybody else.
I’m guilty. I mean, in church, we talk about the world and everything that is happening, in fear. We look at the forest fires of Riau and the Amazon, and wonder if climate change will affect our next generation. We look to the riots in Hong Kong and ponder about their struggles. We look at the trade war that the US is having with China, and we wonder how can we make ends meet with the next wave of tariffs. Then we look back home and consider our income, and we wonder how can we provide for our family.
I mean, sure, all of these are important. But are all these important in the sight of God? Do you know what mattered to Him?
Ever wondered how did the men of Issachar understand the times? Ever wondered how they knew what Israel should do? Notice that they didn’t just know what they should do. They knew what their nation should do. They knew what needed to be done and what ought not to be done. They joined David and counseled him. Not only were they valiant men capable of fighting wars (1 Chronicles 7:1-5, NIV), they were wise beyond their years.
Ever wondered why? Let me tell you why. These men knew God.
They knew and fear the Lord (Proverbs 9:10, NIV). It is this fear and reverence for God that gave them wisdom and insight that far exceeded others. These men of Issachar stood firmly on the knowledge of God. They held firmly to the promises of God and took their stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11, NIV). They knew full well that the battles they were facing aren’t theirs. They knew that the battle belongs to the Lord (1 Samuel 17:47, NIV). And because the battle belongs to the Lord, so does the enemies. They aren’t our enemies. They are the Lord’s enemies (Psalms 37:20, NIV).
It is for this reason why the battle that lies ahead of David isn’t against the flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 6:12, NIV). The men of Issachar knew that.
It is because the battle isn’t against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces that we must put on the full armor of God and stand our ground (Ephesians 6:13, NIV). We need to put on the belt of truth, wear the breastplate of righteousness, ready ourselves with the gospel of peace, take up the shield of faith, wear the helmet of salvation, and carry the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:14-17, NIV). It is through the preparing and equipping of ourselves with the truth that we are able to stand firm in the messiness of life. It is on the grounds of truth that we are able to weather the storms of life.
If we were to look at things through the lens of God, we will realize that the heart of the Lord encompasses all people (1 Timothy 2:3-4, NIV). If we were to hold onto the promises of God and to seek His heart, we will understand what God is doing. And when we know what God is doing, we will know what to do.
The yoke of Christ is easy and the burden light (Matthew 11:29-30, NIV) because it is His battles that He wants to fight. Why are we concerned about momentary struggles (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV)? Once we know that we are in the Lord and have devoted our lives to seeking His will, we will have a clearer understanding of the times we are living in. Once we know what God is doing, we will know exactly what to do. After all, it is He who tells us what to do (Psalms 32:8, NIV). Why should we fear?
Don’t you understand what God is doing? Ask God. He is our friend. He will tell us what God is doing (John 15:15, NIV).
Do you understand the times? Do you know what to do?