In First Chronicles 12:32 we hear tell of some mighty men who came to David after the death of King Saul to bring about a revolution. Among them, some were “from the sons of Issachar, men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, the heads of them were two hundred. And all their brothers were at their command.”
First Chronicles 12 lists out the tribes and the numbers of captains and the numbers of men they sent to David. It records the attributes and the characteristics and specialities of all who were there, all who comprised David’s army. Just as modern warfare depends on specialist, so too did David’s army. One of the sets of specialities mentioned were sons of Issachar, mentioned above. When reading First Chronicles 12 it is easy to skip over and miss this extraordinary gifting which the sons possessed: they were “men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.”
They were specialists in strategy and tactical warfare, but more than that, they were operating in the supernatural. They were attuned to the Lord and His directions for Israel. The word times here is in reference to seasons, to opportunistic times. They had the ability to know the kairos times in which they operated. They were living in God’s revelations and receiving His rhēma words which allowed them to know instinctively what to do, what Israel ought to do. In today’s Christian vocabulary we would say that the sons of Issachar were operating under a prophetic anointing; were operating “with spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17). Because they knew the signs of the times, they were able to translate this knowledge and their experience (wisdom) into action – choosing the appropriate actions for the appropriate times. Ecclesiastes 3 has more to say on this knowledge of times. The sons of Issachar would have been central to David’s planning for David was a man who was walking with God and in constant conversation with Him.
We can also learn from this. For us to be effective in spiritual warfare, we need to be able to read the times – to know God’s times, both chronological and kairos – both the date and the season. From the Lord’s revelation we can then plan strategy which accords and is appropriate to the chronological season. But in this, we need to bear in mind Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.” This does not mean that we ignore our common sense and personal experience, knowledge or wisdom, it means that we must rely on His revelation for us in His timings. Then we can achieve success. Our duty is to do things God’s way – that means in His manner, at His timing and in accordance with His instructions and protocol.
First Chronicles 12:38 again confirms, unless we missed it all the way through the chapter, David’s mighty men were might men of war. For us to be mighty men (or women) of God, we too must be mighty in war. But as Ephesians 6:12 reminds us, in our war for God “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the world’s rulers, of the darkness of this age, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” For soldiers, for mighty men and women of war to be victorious, all need to listen to their commander-in-chief who is directing the battle they fight.
Let us all listen to our Lord with all our hearts and obey His calling.
Amen and Amen.
Based around the teaching of Pastor Dutch Sheets in his book:
Authority in Prayer: Praying with Power and Purpose