There is always uncertainty when big changes are taking place, and for good reason. We don’t easily transition from established ways of life to what is unknown. The truth is, however, that change is an essential part of life, and we must learn how to adapt when necessary.
King David and his followers found themselves in such a period of transition when he took over the reigns from king Saul. It was all new for everybody, including David and his team. They were so accustomed to be on the run from Saul, that becoming the leaders of the nation was truly uncharted territory for them.
We read this story in 1 Chronicles chapters 11 & 12. David had a team of loyal men who followed him, men with special skills and superior strength — all helpers who stood with him:
Now these were the men who came to David at Ziklag while he was still a fugitive from Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the mighty men, helpers in the war, armed with bows, using both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows with the bow. They were of Benjamin, Saul’s brethren. 1 Chronicles 12:1,2
Others of similar caliber followed, until David had a great army of skilled and seasoned fighters from every tribe of Israel. Their leaders are mentioned with the number of men that they commanded, each with their special skill — all men of valor proven in war.
For at that time they came to David day by day to help him, until it was a great army, like the army of God. 1 Chronicles 12:22
Many people in Israel, including men of war, were still loyal to king Saul, making the transition to David’s reign a risky operation. It is exactly this division in loyalty that causes confusion in the heats of ordinary people: you don’t know who to trust, who to support, or whose advice to follow. This is also an ideal situation for deception to thrive and the rumour mill to come to life.
We find ourselves in such a time of transition; our world is changing, and with it comes uncertainty about the future. It is natural to be scared when big changes take place, especially when it happens on a global scale such as we now see.
God prepared David to be the new king of Israel, and provided him with the military backing to ensure things don’t get out of hand. Yet with that group of mighty men also came a tribe with understanding of the times — the strategists who knew what Israel ought to do.
…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
There is no need for Christians to be fearful or confused while established institutions fail and the world around us crumbles. And the yearning for our lives to return normal is also futile, for it will certainly not happen. This is a good time to learn from the sons of Issachar, to understand the times that we live in, and to know what to do. We have a knowledge base from which we can draw direction and find out what we ought to do. God’s Word does not only give us wisdom for every situation, it also tells us what will happen, and what to expect as He brings the present era to a close.
The changes that we see are no surprise to the Lord. He had His prophets write about it ages ago so that we would know that He has everything under control, and with it how to prepare for the radical changes ahead of us. The church age, also known as the era of grace, is coming to an end; soon the world will enter a time described by Jesus as the most difficult period the world has ever seen. Already we see how the attitudes of political leaders prepare the way for this new era; we hear talk about a great reset, the necessity to reduce the world’s population, global unity under a single government, scarcity of necessities, and other phenomena that will prevail during the Tribulation years.
How do we respond to these things? A large portion of the Bible touches on the days we live in to prepare us for it. As a matter of fact, more space is given to the last days than any other period in human history — including the time Jesus spent here. No Christian can afford to be ignorant about our immediate future. It is clear that God wants us to understand our times, that we are witnessing a shift under His leadership, and that we need to focus on Him instead of the troubles in the world. The Word will navigate us safely through the chaotic weeks and months that lie ahead of us.
Now is the time for Christians to step up and be like the sons of Issachar, as people who see the bigger picture and understand more than can be seen on the surface. You have a very important role to play while darkness is falling on the earth; you are alive at this very time for a specific purpose.
Pointing the way to Christ as Saviour in this late hour is more important than anything else that you have ever done. Your colleagues, friends and relatives are your personal mission field. Time is running out, and with it opportunities to reach out to sow the glorious seed of the gospel in their hearts.
In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good. Ecclesiastes 11:6
Soon we will stand before the Lord, and hopefully hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”