Summary: Message on the need for men of courage adn integrity during times of transition.
THE MEN OF ISSACHAR
1 CHRON 12:32
“…men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do-200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;”
This is a crucial time – When 11 tribes of Israel were without a leader, without guidance, and a model to follow. It is a time for special understanding. It is a time for real discernment.
It is often during these crucial transition times that a lack of wisdom causes people to make rash decisions. They assume the course already laid is going to be the course to follow. These times require people of real strength and character.
For the first 7 ½ years of his reign, David was king over only ONE TRIBE. After the death of Ishbosheth, King Saul’s son, the mighty men from all tribes came to Hebron determined to make David king over all Israel. I Chronicles lists them, sometimes mentioning their bravery.
But when it mentions the men of Issachar, it draws special attention to them as men “ .... who understood the times and knew what Israel should do..”
I. UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES:
A. Means having a deep understanding, keen awareness and discernment. It includes the mean of experiential knowledge which is received through some outside force.
Dan 2:21-23 - changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king."
1. What did they understand?
a. The “times” – They understood the times when things normally took place. They also knew when it would be time for specific event to take place.
b. They were able to interpret God’s written word by recognizing the significance of past events and applying the lessons to the present and the future.
2. It was a crucial time because it was destined that David should be king over all Israel –
a. The men of Issachar would understand what God was about to do, and would be a wonderful help in establishing the new kingdom.
b. David needed such men during this crucial time in Israel’s history.
c. The men of Issachar would see to it that David would not fail to accomplish the task of integrating the entire kingdom under his reign.
II. UNDERSTANDING THE TIMES IN SCRIPTURE:
A. There were others who “Understood the times and knew what Israel should do at crucial times in history.
1. Moses led Israel from bondage to the promised land. He was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and in actions (Acts 7:22).
a. Lost his pride on the back side of the desert, found God in the vision of the burning bush – and was given the spirit of understanding.
b. But even the, Moses became discouraged because the work of dealing with the people was too great for him.
c. So God put His Spirit on 70 elders who would help him carry the burden of the people.
d. Since they were elders – they were men of experience. But they too needed the Spirit to understand the times!
2. Joshua learned from experience when he fought the Amalekites, Moses stood on the mountain top with the staff in his hands. As long as he held the staff up, Israel would prevail. But when his hands grew weary, the Amalekites would prevail. So Aaron and Hur stood alongside and had Moses sit on a rock – while they held up his hands and Israel won the victory.
a. Later, Moses laid his hands upon Joshua declaring him to be his successor because Joshua was “a man in whom is the Spirit” ( Num. 27:18).
III. IN THE PROCESS OF TIME:
A. The 70 Elders died off – Joshua died and a new generation grew up “who did not know the Lord nor what He had done (Judges 2:10).
1. They had heard the stories of the mighty miracles – the red sea, the manna, and Joshua’s conquest of Cannan.
a. But this new generation did not know God.
b. None of the, were like the men of Issachar who knew the times and knew what Israel should do.
c. They were not seeking wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
d. The result was the repeated cycles of turnign from God, suffering defeats, crying out to God in sorrow, and He sent Judges to rescue them.
e. They only served the Lord as long as the Judges were with them.