We have just witnessed the peaceful transition of one government to another. In Israel, after the first King, Saul, things did not go quite so smoothly. Things got messy for a season. Eventually, David becomes the new King.
In 1 Chronicles 12, we read a list of all the soldiers who were loyal to David. There were 7,000 mighty men of war from this tribe, 28,000 who were drilled in battle formation from this tribe, and 120,000 with weapons from another. In among these impressive numbers are the sons of Issachar.
We read: “From 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.” (v32)
The list is impressive. In times of military and political instability, battalions and weapons are a comfort.
But there is something incredibly strategic that this small number of men from Issachar bring to the battlefield. They can read the signs of the times. The right might targeted in the wrong direction, is wasted.
This week, Jamie, Matt, and I (and Bob M) attended the regional ministry conference. Peter Hayward – the Bishop gave one of the talks. He attempted to make sense for us of the megatrends of recent, and predict how the church might need to plan and prepare itself as we go forward in messy times.
His view is that we are living through unprecedented levels of change in culture and the church. Greater change than we have ever experienced – greater than the 1960s for those who remember that era.
In addition to numbers, and arms, we need sons and daughters who know the times, and how we should respond.
Rev David Rietveld