As we come to the close of 2020, you may feel like this has been one of the most troubling years in your memory. COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the way we live and carry out our day-to-day activities. Hundreds of thousands have died, just in the United States, with the number of diagnosed infections at 75 million worldwide. And, if possible, the economic impact of combating this disease has been even worse. The U.S. has seen its most divisive election cycle yet. There has been rioting and anarchy in the streets. And the fires on the west coast have been devastating. It’s tempting to open up Revelation from the Bible and proclaim that the end times are upon us.
from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;1 Chronicles 12:32
And I think that is why this passage hits home as we prepare for 2021. This verse is a part of the listing of those who supported David as king of Israel rather than Saul’s son. Among them was this group from the tribe of Issachar. They are described as men who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” In context, this is referring to making David king over Israel. But it would seem to be a valuable attribute regardless of the times.
Understanding Our Times
As believers in the world today, how well do we understand the times we are living in? It is very easy to see the world around us from a human perspective and see the sky as falling in and then worry and fret about what tomorrow will bring.
How much better if we understand these times from God’s perspective? He is sovereign. None of this has caught him off guard. And we have the promise that whatever happens to us, he will work it out for our good (Rom. 8:28). Yes, the world is unsettled. But God is not troubled, and so neither should we be.
So, as these men of Issachar, who understood the times they lived in, and acted accordingly, I should also act as one who trusts in the sovereign Lord. Rather than living with worry and fear, live with joy and boldness, bringing light to those living in darkness. We may or may not be rapidly approaching the end. But regardless, we should live as children of God, seeking his direction for our daily lives and trusting him.