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May 5             Today’s Reading: 1 Chronicles 11-13

“Had Understanding of the Times”

1 Chronicles 12:32


It was the peculiar honor of the sons of Issachar that — “they were men that had understanding of the times.” Israel was passing through some troublesome, unsettling times. Critical issues had to be faced and dealt with. The Lord had now established David as king over his people. But Saul had just been slain. And some of the tribes of Israel did not know what to do. The question of the day in Palestine was, “Who should be king?” Many in Israel did not know whether to accept David as their king, or not. Some were inclined to seek a king from Saul’s family, and would not commit themselves to David. Others boldly came forward and proclaimed David as their rightful king.


David’s Men

From among the Benjamites were mighty men and helpers of the war. — “They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow.” From among the Gadites were men of might, men of war. Those mighty men who came to David in Ziklag were utterly devoted to the king. — “Then the spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band.” From among Zebulon, there came to David men expert in war who could keep rank, and “they were not of double heart.

            Among these bold and valiant men were the children of Issachar. And in our text the Holy Spirit singles out these men for one particular and very significant characteristic. He says of the children of Issachar that they “were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”

            I do not doubt that this sentence, like every sentence of Holy Scripture, was written for our learning. These men of Issachar are set before us as a pattern to be imitated and an example to be followed. If we would be useful to our generation, nothing is more important than this: We must understand the times in which we live and know what it is that these times require of us. We must seek the grace and wisdom of God to understand the times in which we live, and to know what Israel ought to do in these days.


The Demands of the Day

The day in which we live demands men of courage, boldness, and extremity for the cause of Christ in this world. The world has never known such perilous times as these. Men today are perishing in a church pew, going to hell with a prayer on their lips, a song in their hearts, and a Bible in their hands. Surely this day demands something from us. It demands men with courageous hearts, bold spirits, and extreme dedication to the Gospel of Christ. The souls of men and the glory of Christ compel us to be men of purpose and determination.

            What does our day require of us? What must Israel do in this day? What do the times in which we live demand of the people of God? This is a day that demands a bold, uncompromising, unflinching adherence to the authority of Holy Scripture. Let all men know, by unflinching testimony from your lips, that the Holy Bible is the Word, the only written revelation of the only true and living God.

            These days of darkness demand of us distinct and decided testimony to gospel doctrine. Let no one be ashamed to testify to all, in public and in private the utter depravity of the human race, God’s unconditional electing love, Christ’s particular and effectual atonement, the irresistible grace and power of God the Holy Spirit, and the sure perseverance of every sinner saved by the grace of God.

            These dark days of self-serving false prophets, hired for a dime and a smile, demand faithfulness, dedication, and sacrifice in preaching the gospel of Christ. Let us pray daily for God to raise up Elijahs and John the Baptists in our midst, men who will boldly proclaim the gospel, with fire from heaven burning in their bellies.

            These days of great need demand from every believing sinner, saved by the grace of God, a clear recognition of our most important priorities and our most weighty responsibilities. Child of God, consecrate your life to Christ. In the totality of your being worship and serve him who loved you and gave himself for you.

            Once more, this dark, dark day of religious wickedness demands that each of us exercise a diligent watchfulness over our own souls. Blessed Holy Spirit, be my Teacher and Comforter every day and every hour, constantly convincing me of my sin, of Christ’s finished and perfect righteousness as the Lord my Righteousness, and of judgment finished by my Redeemer’s one sacrifice for sin!






Don Fortner








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