Understanding the times
These were the men who came to David at Ziklag, while he was banished from the presence of Saul son of Kish (they were among the warriors who helped him in battle)... From Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.... -1 Chronicles 12:1,32 (NIV)
When David was assembling his forces, preparing for the day he would be king, he found men from each clan who brought specific skills to the table. The men of Issachar? They understood the times and knew what to do. Can the same be said of us?
In seeking to understand our times, I remembered something from the last couple chapters of 2 Timothy. Check this sample and see if it sounds familiar:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.... -2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV)
Hits pretty close to home, doesn't it? And Paul goes on like that for a while. Now, I don't think things are necessarily worse today than they've ever been - Solomon said there's nothing new under the sun. But we cannot deny it's later than it's ever been. This is our time. What will we do with it?
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. -Acts 17:24-27 (NIV)
It took me a while to get this, and it kinda hurt my feelings at first, but here it is: God doesn't need me. I was invited onto the team, not so I could help Him (He'd already won by the time I arrived), but so that I could ride shotgun and watch while He does His thing. I was specifically chosen for this time in history, this place on the planet.
So understand the times, but don't fear them. We're in the batter's box. We've been chosen. We've been equipped. Our world needs to see a picture of Jesus. Does that thought excite you or does it paralyze you? As I stand at the plate, I can leave the bat on my shoulder and watch the pitches come whizzing by. Maybe I'll get lucky and draw a walk, getting a pass with little or no effort. But that's not what I was made for. I was designed for impact. I think I'll take my cuts and see what happens!
For a perspective on this topic that will make you chuckle, try this link, "The Last World Series Report": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7r1ywuWxzMM