And from the men of Issachar: men who were skilled in understanding the times to know what Israel should do. Their chiefs were two hundred, and all their kinsmen were under their command.” (1 Chronicles 12:32, LEB)

In this section of 1 Chronicles, the writer is describing those men who came to David’s side when he became king.  Here, men of Issachar came to David, they are described as “men who are skilled in understanding the times to know what Israel should do.”  I find this a fascinating comment.

Some observations:

  1. There is value in understanding the culture/times in which one lives for God. It’s important to understand here that this knowledge of the times was intricately linked with God and God’s plan for his people.  These weren’t just brilliant sociologists, their knowledge of the times was godly knowledge
  2. An understanding of the culture/times in which one lives for God must be linked closely with action. These guys weren’t just theoretical professors of current events, their knowledge resulted in a plan of action, they knew “what Israel should do” in light of current events.  They deeply understood history and culture and formulated a planned based upon that knowledge.
  3. Wise counselors are a necessity as one lives for God. David had the men of Issachar come and work for him, not just because they wanted to, but because they had a skill that he needed: they were perfectly suited to be wise counselors for him.

All of which is immediately applicable to every culture/age.  If we are to follow Christ in our own time and culture, we need people who are wise in God to understand that culture and help us navigate what it means to live and act for God now.  This necessity is no more pressing than at the present time.