“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 men who "understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do". I'm constantly amazed at people who have no sense of the moment, much less of the times. It is not a commendation to a person's character to say that he treats every situation and circumstance alike. 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 you understand that our society is losing the war in terms of morality? Are you aware and alarmed at the increased acceptance of sexual immorality? Do you see the pressure being applied to force moral approval of homosexuality? Are you concerned about the rise in couples living together outside the commitment of marriage? Are you troubled by the message being sent to young people that sex before marriage is normal and even desirable? Do you understand the times are becoming more and more God-less? Do you understand that our times are becoming increasingly filled with senseless violence and destruction? Do you 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? Do you understand that people are turning more and more to drugs and alcohol to ease the pain of their frustrations and problems? Are you disturbed by the senseless violence that is often perpetrated by children? It would be easy to keep adding to the list, wouldn't it? It is important to recognize that merely identifying problems does not necessarily “understand the times". There are many people who fret and fume of 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 have insight as to the source of the problem and what to do about it. We will recognize that these horrors are merely the manifestations of sin. Once we come to "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 do not believe in, nor want to 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.