Do you Understand the Times?

John Hill

"After removing Saul, he made David their king.  He testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do."'  Acts 13:22

"Now these are the numbers of the divisions equipped for war, who came to David at Hebron, to turn the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD...Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred..."  I Chronicles 12:23 & 32a (NASB)

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in our nation's history.  Many memorials, celebrations, and ceremonies took place and much was reported regarding the state of our nation and the prospect for the future.  Some think that America is beyond hope and predict even scarier times ahead.

When confusion, doubt, and mistrust abounds, they are quickly followed by fear, worry, and anger; which in turn paralyzes joy and stunts growth.  In the midst of such seasons, a cry goes out for those who "understand"; for people who get it.  We all want someone, or some group of people, who we can look up to with confidence, even when things are tough, and know that they will help us to recover and be restored.

Israel faced a similar time in her history as God's people.  With Saul as the people's choice for king, the nation had deteriorated and God wasn't pleased.  Eventually, God removed Saul in favor of David, a "man after God's own heart.  Later, the nation would rally around David and many would come ready to fight on his behalf.

Among these were the sons of Issachar, who are described as "understanding the times."  Can you imagine the great confidence that the people would share knowing that they had leaders who were savvy, knowledgeable, and who got it?  A new king in David, with a new army that was strong, and leadership who understood the times led to great "joy in Israel" (I Chronicles 12:40).

I imagine that as you read this, your hope would be the same for America, and even more specifically your own family.  Maybe you are struggling with doubt, anxiety, or even a measure of helplessness.  If you are like me, you long to be a person after God's own heart and to "understand the times" so that joy can come to your life as well.

Let me encourage you that while it may seem like the ability to "understand the times" is reserved for a select few who are brilliant and the capacity to be a person after God's own heart is reserved for spiritual giants, the Bible says differently.  I would submit to you that anyone can "understand the times" and chase after God's heart because to do so has only two requirements:  to know what God wants you to do and to do it.

We are told that the sons of Issachar had "knowledge of what Israel should do," and that is what gave them understanding of the times.  We are also told that David was after God's own heart because he did "everything" that God wanted him to do.  The bottom line is that if you want to get back on track and usher joy into your life, then you must find out what God wants you to do and then do it; even when you don't feel like it.

Have you asked God what He wants for you and your family lately?  How about Sunrise?  How about America?  Are you willing to do it?  Will you pray for others that they do the same?  Take time this day to find God's heart.

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