Understanding the Times (part 1)

The world has changed quite a bit since I was a boy—from radios to iPods; from 13-inch black-and-white TVs to 50-inch flat screen HDTVs; from war bonds to computer viruses; from letter writing to skyping. Times have changed. The world I currently live in is very different from the one I was born into and grew up in, and where I started my ministry.

I was reminded of this when my wife and I accompanied two of our daughters and their families on vacation to Gulf Shores, Alabama, this spring. It was quite eye opening for Gloria and I. We were ushered into the information age by our grandchildren who, on the 14-hour drive (881 miles) from Michigan to Alabama, gave us a crash course in understanding the times.

This trip reminded me of a verse from the Bible that I would like to think through with you over the next couple of days: “Men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command” (1 Chronicles 12:32 niv).

In 1 Chronicles 10, King Saul took his own life; and in the first half of chapter 11, David became king of Israel and then conquered Jerusalem to solidify his claim to the throne. The next chapter and a half are dedicated to the names of some of the mighty warriors who followed David. Among them were these men from Issachar who, “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”

These men knew that times were changing. They knew that David was to be the next king of Israel. They knew that fighting with him was right and in the best interests of Israel.

There was a time when Saul reigned, but the times had changed; it was time for David to occupy the throne of Israel. These men understood this, and they knew what to do.

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