To go to war without strategic intelligence (intel) is just plain stupid! The sons of Issachar were blessed with the tools to accomplish two great skills: 1) to understand the times and 2) to know what Israel should do. Last week we looked at the first one and now we focus on the second.
The phrase, “knowing what Israel ought to do,” is actually not as “crystal ball-ish” as one might think. Yes, it did have a certain appearance of prognostication, but the truth is they simply put two and two together! It’s really not a supernatural, out of this world gift given to a special few. Since they could see the “times” and realize that Saul’s continued disobedience in refusing to listen to the wise counsel of Nathan (just like he did with Samuel), his obsession with trying to kill David (a more godly man, one called a “man after God’s Own heart”), and the abuse of power (along with the wasting of military resources) was a recipe for disaster. They saw the current losses to the Philistines in subsequent battles was only going to continue under the current leadership and policies and “knew what Israel ought to do,” i.e., get back to God-fearing governance and national obedience like they had under Joshua.
The sons of Issachar were also listed as mighty men of valor, a picture of able-bodied men that were a force to be reckoned with. This demonstrated a level of comprehensive, well-rounded development in these guys, spiritual acuity along with physical discipline and preparedness. Now is a good time to quote the passage in 1 Timothy 4:8, “Bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things.” These sons of Issachar understood this principle as they “exercised” godliness even more than they exercised their bodies, yet they were physically an intimidating lot. They clearly understood authority, or the chain-of-command principle, as it stated that the 200 chiefs had the command over their brethren. This shows such a genuine level of wisdom being able to put themselves under authority. In Matthew 8, Jesus saw the centurion understand this principle and He claimed He had “never seen such faith, not in all of Israel.”
The cry for heroes today that can see current trends and patterns from a biblical worldview and give futuristic advice, warnings, and strategy is at DEFCON 1! We have never had a more drastic abandonment of our children away from the evangelical church than we are currently experiencing. Oh my dear leaders, pray that God will raise up in your ranks some "sons of Issachar" that can give clear, confident, godly counsel to this emotionally-driven church culture. The time for godly heroes that can demonstrate and express what the church must do is NOW!