Of the tribe of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, two hundred chiefs; and all their relatives were at their command. 1 Chronicles 12:32
There were others who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do at crucial times in history. 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 and when he lost his pride on the back side of the desert, he found God in the vision of the burning bush – and was given the spirit of understanding.
Throughout the history of ancient Israel, the tribe of Issachar is portrayed as a family that was destined to prosper both physically and spiritually. The ancient Rabbis taught that the sons of Issachar were not only “courageous men“, but they were also called to serve the other tribes in the areas of finance and the ministry of God’s Torah.
How important it is that men should study the times in which they live, and adapt their work to the conditions which constitute their opportunity. He is the wise man who considers all the features of a case and adapts the treasure of which he is possessed to meet new desires and new demands. There may be change without change; in other words, the change may be but superficial, whilst the immutable may be within, giving order and dignity and energy to all that is attempted from without. Love is eternal, but its expression consists of continual variety. Prayer never changes as to its spirit and intent, yet every day may find it laden with new expressions, because human history has revealed wants which had not before been even suspected. He who understands every time but his own, will do no permanent work for society. He is like a man who knows every language but his own native tongue, and is therefore unable to speak to the person standing at his side. (J. Parker, D. D.)
We live in a day and age in which discernment is a sorely needed gift in the body of Christ– and praise God, it’s a gift which is freely given by the Holy Spirit!
If God gave the sons of Issachar a special spiritual ability, He’s willing to give you and me the same ability.
David needed people with clear discernment, wisdom, vision and the ability to think strategically. He also needed those who were willing to lay aside their own freedom to serve others. At another point in Israel’s history, the tribe of Issachar was among the tribes who stood on Mount G to speak blessing over Israel. That’s another amazing story. In reality, God gave the sons of Issachar not only the prophetic insight and the ability to see things from His perspective but also the knowledge of how to respond to what was going on around them. They saw God’s perspective and knew His solution. I don’t think you need great spiritual insight to realize that’s exactly what we need today! What is God’s perspective? How does He see things? How does He view the brokenness of people’s lives? The tragedies of our world? Have we become irrelevant because we’ve lost God’s perspective? Is the Church in the 21st century trapped in its self-importance? Are we more concerned about winning a cultural war, being right, and holding on to our position in society than about the things that move God’s heart? Where are the sons and daughters of Issachar today? Those who understand the times because they see things from a different perspective, those with insight and knowledge of what to do?