“Of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command” – 1 Chronicles 12:32
The most useful people, in any generation, are those who understand the times they are living in and how to successfully navigate them. Amongst the tribes of Israel that pledged their allegiance to David, these men from Issachar are specifically mentioned as being such people. We would do well to “note those who so walk and follow their example” (Phil 3:17).
First, these men understood the times they were living in. Too often, people are reacting to the latest news, feeling hopeful one minute and discouraged or fearful the next. We have the Word of God as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Ps 119:105). The Scriptures provide us with the perspective to see each day in the right way. Like Mordecai’s exhortation to Esther, we are here “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14), and can walk in that confidence.
Second, they knew what Israel ought to do. Understanding isn’t given to fill our heads; it’s given to move us in the right direction. As we navigate the twists and turns of this life, we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us, enabling us to know the next step and empowering us to take that step. That next step may be something as unfamiliar as walking on water (Peter), or journeying to the middle of a desert area (Philip), but we can rest assured in His guidance (Ps 73:24).
Finally, these sons of Issachar were leaders amongst their brethren. Paul exhorts us to follow him as he follows Christ (1 Cor 11:1). The Church needs godly men and women who can lead others by example. We may not feel like we are “leadership material”, but it is God who raises up a man or a woman. Our job is to simply be available and see what God might do. Let us pray for “sons of Issachar” to be in our midst and seek the Lord for both understanding and direction for these last days that we find ourselves in.