Understanding the Times

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

As the Kingdom of Israel is being firmly secured in the hand of David, a roll call of support is given in 1 Chronicles 12. A family clan called the sons of Issachar are included in this group. These leaders of this ancient Israelite tribe were renowned for the ability to discern the times in which they lived. Though there number was relatively small (as compared to the other tribes listed here), the men of Issachar were considered a valued and necessary component to David’s kingship.

How can we learn to discern the times in which we find ourselves? Understanding the times is not an exact science. But, there are steps we can take to help us. Knowing how to read the situations we face will aid us and propel us into taking strides that will honor God and fulfill His desires. Let us examine these truths.

1) Stay in the Word of God. David cries out in Psalm 119:33 Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, And I shall observe it to the end. God’s people need to continually read and study the Bible. Understanding our times requires us to stay in the Word every single day. The Bible will guard us from sin, guide us to truth, and grant us the peace we so desperately need. God will teach us and transform us as we stay in the Scriptures.

2) Test everything by the Word of God. How can we know right from wrong? By bringing our decisions under the scrutiny of the Bible. If God’s word warns against something, we can trust in Him and go in the opposite direction. If the Bible commands us to do something, we can obey in full confidence. God validates our path as we study and live by His Word.

There will be occasions where discernment will be difficult to ascertain. So verify the truth through the lens of God’s Word.  In Psalm 119:137, we are taught the following principle—Righteous are You, O Lord, And upright are Your judgments. Testing our decisions by God’s standard will keep us in a state of righteousness and holiness all the days of our lives.

3) Pray about everything. Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Prayer is a prerequisite for determining the times. Continual interaction and fellowship with God through prayer will allow us to see our lives better from God’s perspective. And an eternal perspective keeps us grounded in the truth and allows us to see the things that are far better for us.

Understanding our times is not always simple and clean. We need the leadership and guidance of the Lord to truly discern our ways. Dear Believer, stay in the Word and continue in prayer. God has promised to lead us and guide us as we seek Him!

Tony French

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