Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.
–1 Chronicles 12:32
A great model of having situational awareness is found in an obscure verse in the Old Testament. Look at 1 Chronicles 12:32: “Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their kinsmen were at their command.” A little history here will help you understand why this verse is so relevant to us today. Who was Issachar? He was the ninth son of Jacob, the patriarch of Israel. Before Jacob died, he pronounced a blessing on his sons and predicted their future. When it came to Issachar, Jacob said, “Issachar is a strong donkey” (Genesis 49:14). In Jacob’s day, that was a compliment. Then Jacob went on to predict that Issachar would find rest in a pleasant land. And that is exactly what happened. Years later when the Israelites divided the promised land, the sons of Issachar were given a small, fertile tract of land that was perfect for farming, and they became farmers. To be an effective farmer you had to study the weather and the condition of the soil. You had to be able to know when it was the right time to plant and the right time to harvest. But their skills did not just help them with agriculture–the sons of Issachar were also keen observers of their culture. The Bible says in 1 Chronicles that they sensed when it was the right time to anoint David as king over all Israel, and they were instrumental in doing just that. They understood not just the soil; they understood the culture, they understood their times, and they knew what they should do.
If we are going to be effective for God in this world, we have to be like the sons of Issachar–we have to understand our time so we can know what we should do. God did not leave us here just to take up space waiting for the rapture to come–He left us here to make a difference in this world in which we live. If we are going to make a difference, we have to understand what is happening around us. God calls us to be salt and light in this decaying and dark world. We have to understand the situation we are in so that we can know what we should do.
But the situational awareness I am talking about is not just an awareness of our culture as a whole. God wants us to ascertain the situation we are in right now individually, so that we can know as Christians what we are supposed to do. If you are a parent or a grandparent, how is your situational awareness about the spiritual condition of your children or your grandchildren? Are you aware of the temptations that are coming into their life? Are you aware of what you can do to help strengthen and encourage them? If you are married, do you have a situational awareness of the condition of your marriage? Where are the weak spots? Where are the points that Satan could gain a foothold in your marriage and destroy your home? If you are a student, are you aware of the unique gifts, abilities, desires that God has placed in your heart, so that you can be aware of His plan for your life? God wants us to be aware of the world in which we live, so that we can know what we should do.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #2: Gain Situational Awareness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org