1 Chronicles 12:23-40 (Part 1) – Understanding the Signs of the Times So We Can Seize the Day

Posted: March 18, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 12:23-40 (Part 1 of 2)

Warriors Join David’s Army

This morning in my own personal devotional time as I walk through the book of 1 Chronicles (completely separate from my pastoral devotions that I will be posting from the book of Matthew while we are in shutdown mode due to the Coronavirus scare), I am today in 1 Chronicles 12:23-40. In today’s personal devotion on that passage, the thing that struck me for today was the part of this passage about the tribe of Issachar. There, it says that the leaders of that tribe were in tune “with the signs of the time.” That just jumped out at me.

That’s the thing that has been striking me hardest during this unprecedented time that we are now living in. In all my 57 years of living, I have never seen society so completely shut down by a health scare as we have been by this Coronavirus. We have had health scares before. Even the AIDS scare of the early 1980’s was miniscule compared to this in the way that it has completely and quickly shut down societal interactions and the business of the world as this thing has. Many people are in panic mode. Many people are scared and think this is an apocalyptic event and going into hoarding and into survivalist mode.

That’s where we of the universal church with a little c which is made up of all the churches of the Christian faith have an opportunity now to, in my opinion, “put up or shut up!” In that statement, I mean that for decades now, particularly in this last decade, we have taken an embattled mentality in the church. We see a world that is seemingly shaking its fist at God and saying that we don’t believe you anymore. Every social custom and cultural morality that had its roots in the Christian faith in society have been ripped to shreds. It seems that society no longer lives by the standards established by God in the Bible and seems to revel in that fact. As the church, we have come to talk about the world as us vs. them. We have come to see the world as going to hell in a handbasket and we want nothing to do with it. At the same token, we complain about our church’s being empty and wonder why no one seems to care about church anymore. Further, there are two and three generations of families that have never darkened the doors of churches and have really no clue what Jesus Christ represents other than He is significant in the history of man, that he is a great philosopher, an anti-establishment rebel rabbi that had some cool stuff to say about love. That is, if they know anything about Him at all. As a result, we who are churchgoers often looking at the world nowadays and shaking our heads. We feel marginalized in a world that seems to revel in the very things that the Bible says we should not revel in.

The put up or shut up time is now. It is now the time that we have an opportunity to re-establish the church of our Savior and Lord as relevant once again. Let’s read this passage about David’s being established as king of all Israel and particularly about that part of the passage about the tribe of Issachar. Let’s read it now:

23 These are the numbers of armed warriors who joined David at Hebron. They were all eager to see David become king instead of Saul, just as the Lord had promised.

24 From the tribe of Judah, there were 6,800 warriors armed with shields and spears.

25 From the tribe of Simeon, there were 7,100 brave warriors.

26 From the tribe of Levi, there were 4,600 warriors. 27 This included Jehoiada, leader of the family of Aaron, who had 3,700 under his command. 28 This also included Zadok, a brave young warrior, with 22 members of his family who were all officers.

29 From the tribe of Benjamin, Saul’s relatives, there were 3,000 warriors. Most of the men from Benjamin had remained loyal to Saul until this time.

30 From the tribe of Ephraim, there were 20,800 brave warriors, each highly respected in his own clan.

31 From the half-tribe of Manasseh west of the Jordan, 18,000 men were designated by name to help David become king.

32 From the tribe of Issachar, there were 200 leaders of the tribe with their relatives. All these men understood the signs of the times and knew the best course for Israel to take.

33 From the tribe of Zebulun, there were 50,000 skilled warriors. They were fully armed and prepared for battle and completely loyal to David.

34 From the tribe of Naphtali, there were 1,000 officers and 37,000 warriors armed with shields and spears.

35 From the tribe of Dan, there were 28,600 warriors, all prepared for battle.

36 From the tribe of Asher, there were 40,000 trained warriors, all prepared for battle.

37 From the east side of the Jordan River—where the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh lived—there were 120,000 troops armed with every kind of weapon.

38 All these men came in battle array to Hebron with the single purpose of making David the king over all Israel. In fact, everyone in Israel agreed that David should be their king. 39 They feasted and drank with David for three days, for preparations had been made by their relatives for their arrival. 40 And people from as far away as Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali brought food on donkeys, camels, mules, and oxen. Vast supplies of flour, fig cakes, clusters of raisins, wine, olive oil, cattle, sheep, and goats were brought to the celebration. There was great joy throughout the land of Israel

In this passage, we see that the 200 leaders from the tribe of Issachar “understood the signs of the times.” As a result, their knowledge and judgment provided needed help in making decisions for the nation. For church leaders, it’s equally necessary to know what is happening in society in order to plan the best course of action for the church. Knowledge of current events, trends, and needs helps us understand the thoughts and attitudes of the larger culture in which we operate. This understanding gives leaders information to help them make wise decisions for the church and make God’s message relevant to people’s lives.

Thus, this passage with its reference to “the signs of the times” is so relevant to us as the church at this moment in time. We have been complaining that the world no longer sees us as valid, no longer sees us as relevant. With the scale of this societal shutdown and with the possibility that it will not reach its peak for another month or two, people who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord and the peace of the soul that comes with that will be looking for something to believe in, something to hold on to. We have a unique moment in time both individually as Christians and corporately together as individual churches of the Christian faith to show how we are relevant once again to the society that has for decades tried to marginalize and shun us. We have a unique moment in time to demonstrate that there is more to life than just this mortal existence in this life on this side of eternity. We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate that at death we have two options – to spend it with God in heaven or to spend it separated from Him in hell. We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate that we are sinners and the rampant disregard for God does indeed bring judgment to us all, individually and to this entire planet. We have a unique opportunity to share the gospel. We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate how Jesus provides us with the peace that we know that even if this life on this side of eternity ends that we have security in where we will spend our afterlife. We have peace knowing that Jesus died for our sins and our belief in Him provides us with that security. People will be looking for something to hold on to and we must give it to them by sharing the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. We must understand the “signs of the times” and seize the day. Further, as churches, we must be willing to step out of our comfort zones and outside our walls and meet real needs of people that are suffering right now so that we can have opportunities, earned opportunities, to share Jesus Christ with people that we otherwise would not have the opportunity to do so. We must understand the “signs of the times” and seize the opportunities. Otherwise, we will demonstrate to the world that we really are not relevant to their lives.

Amen and Amen.

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