In time of pandemic or any occasion, what are we to DO?
Years ago a dear friend named Bob Hays quoted a Bible verse at a gathering we were both attending. I’ve never forgotten the important emphasis- thanks Bob! Further, sometimes it may describe you or I, while at other times it certainly does not and has not -and such is important when accenting such biblical texts.
Ok, “Love God, love neighbor” is ALWAYS correct regarding our life, but there’s more to it, for God’s will is involved or we do neither as He would have us do.
So, the verse Bob brought to the gathering? In 1 Chronicles 12 there is a long list of warriors of the tribes of Israel. The first half of verse 32 states:
“Of the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do…”
The rub is that there have always been as now, individuals, men and women and groups of them from this or that “tribe” who believe they have THE.ANSWER/S. Further, among professing Christians throughout history the same is easily documented.
Some were correct. God had indeed spoken to them, gifted them, called them. Their hearts and minds were open. They were wise enough to “count the cost” and consider the crosses, both spiritual and at least some of the practical ramifications of this, that or the other action or inaction. They laid their lives down for God and others and served the Lord and the people with honor and distinction. None of them were flawless regardless.
Some were sadly, even tragically wrong. They had faith in faith, faith in their own ability to “get it” perfectly or at least close to it… and things blew up in their face. Some took others down in the ditch with them due to presumption, arrogance and any number of motives. They may have failed due to a depth of ignorance of Father, Son, Spirit, the Word of God (Bible), interpretation or application. God and His will was in the north but sometimes things went south due to massive personal agendas which effectively cemented their heart and therefore mind and ears shut from truly hearing the voice of the Lord.
Often it is only in retrospect, AFTER the fallout and collapse, gross failings that any of us (individually or tribally) truly LEARN.
God via His Word in the Book of Proverbs continually calls for each of us to “get knowledge” and “get wisdom”.
Genuine humility is so foundational to “getting it”. The humble study to show themselves approved, listen for what is truly the voice of the Lord via others even when they don’t want to hear it, recognize the essentiality of historical information that can be cross-referenced and is true- whether or not they, friends or enemies care to do so or not.
Consider also the plurality of that last paragraph. There were numbers of people, not merely a big shot know-it-all individual. “SonS of Issachar.”
Most each and every major leader in both Testaments with the clear exception of Jesus Himself royally BLEW it in one or more areas of decision and judgement. That ought to help sober us from hero -or- idol worship, perhaps self-worship… no?
I often quote Jesus’ “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me.” It’s true, I have no reason to doubt it. And yet plenty of His sheep (including this one) blow it. The idea you’re always correct no matter WHO you are or WHAT your experience with God is itself a myth, fictional. SOMETIMES we know what we or for that matter, someone else or even our state or nation should do. Sometimes.
The world and entire Church in it now as in any time… NEEDS sons… and daughters of Issachar.
Time to pray, consult with people with greater, deeper relationship to God, maturity, wisdom, education and expertise in various areas than your own perhaps favorite way of doing things. Time to bail on personal agendas.
By the way, if your heroes are regularly, typically defensive and reactionary by nature, pray for them and find some godly folks who aren’t. Pay attention or I guess you’ll just have to pay.
One more thing: the RSV renders James 3.2a “For we all make many mistakes” in the context of talking about talking. Anyone can say anything they feel like saying. How much you wanna bet the sons of Issachar didn’t?
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn