Understanding the times we live in !!
The sons of Issachar
1 Chronicles 12:32
1 Chronicles 7:1-5
With Peter Veysie
George Methodist Church
Sunday 28th February 2021
We are living in exciting times and I am not sure about you but I am sensing a real time of transition and turning of the tide. I love sailing in Knysna and before heading out, you have to look out for whether the tide is coming in or out and also what the wind and weather is doing. You can be sitting in the shelter of the harbour without any understanding of what’s going on out there. When the time is right and the wind is blowing in the right direction and it’s high tide, you get the best opportunity for a good sail but if your timing is wrong it can be a disaster !!!
I really believe that the Lord is raising up people who will be able to discern the times and the seasons as well as those who will be able to provide for that which the Lord wants to do as well as deep intercessors and worshippers who will guide and lead the way forward. We are going to have to watch out for the phonies out there as well many who may well steer you off course and take you on a tangent that you will find will consume you with fear and not bring you peace. There are a lot of these out there. We have become well aware of fake news and
Today I therefore want to share with you about the sons of Issachar and their role and responsibilities as one of the tribes of Israel. I will give you a bit of background from both the scriptures as well as Rabbinical literature and historical documents that I have found useful.
1 Chronicles 12:32 from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command and then who were these sons?
Issachar and who the tribe was.
1 Chronicles 7 :1The sons of Issachar:
Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron – four in all.
2 The sons of Tola:
Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam and Samuel – heads of their families. During the reign of David, the descendants of Tola listed as fighting men in their genealogy numbered 22,600.
3 The son of Uzzi:
The sons of Izrahiah:
Michael, Obadiah, Joel and Ishiah. All five of them were chiefs. 4 According to their family genealogy, they had 36,000 men ready for battle, for they had many wives and children.
5 The relatives who were fighting men belonging to all the clans of Issachar, as listed in their genealogy, were 87,000 in all.
In classical rabbinical literature, it is stated that Issachar was born on the fourth of Av, and lived 122 years. According to the midrashic Book of Jasher, Issachar married Aridah, the younger daughter of Jobab, a son of Joktan; the Torah states that Issachar’s four sons, who were born in Canaan, migrated with him to Egypt, with their descendants remaining there until the Exodus.
The midrashic Book of Jasher portrays Issachar as somewhat pragmatic, due to his strong effort in being more learned, less involved with other matters which led him to such actions like taking a lesser part in military campaigns involving his brothers, and generally residing in strongly fortified cities and, depending on his brother Zebulun’s financial support in return for a share in the spiritual reward he gains.
The Talmud argues that Issachar’s description in the Blessing of Jacob – Issachar is a strong ass lying down between two burdens: and he saw that settled life was good, and the land was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute – is a reference to the religious scholarship of the tribe of Issachar, though scholars feel that it may more simply be a literal interpretation of Issachar’s name.
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Issachar was one of the twelve tribes of Israel and one of the ten lost tribes. In Jewish tradition, the descendants of Issachar were seen as being dominated by religious scholars and influential in proselytism – the conversion of gentiles to Judaism.
1 Chronicles 7:1–5 lists the generations of the tribe of Issachar, totalling 87,000 “mighty men of valour”. 1 Chronicles 12:32 describes the tribe as men who “had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do”.
Where they lived and what they did.
The territory allocated to Issachar stretched from the Jordan River in the east to Mount Carmel on the west, near to the Mediterranean coast, including the fertile Esdraelon plain between present-day Lower Galilee and Samaria. It was bounded on the east by East Manasseh, the south by West Manasseh, and the north by Zebulun and Naphtali.
The sons of Issachar understood chronological time, but they also understood spiritual and political time.
“Children of Issachar – According to the Targum they were all astronomers and astrologers: “and the sons of Issachar, who had understanding to know the times, and were skilled in fixing the beginnings of years, the commencement of months, and the intercalation of months and years; skillful in the changes of the moon, and in fixing the lunar solemnities to their proper times; skillful also in the doctrine of the solar periods; astrologers in signs and stars, that they might show Israel what to do; and their teachers were two hundred chiefs of the Sanhedrin: and all their brethren excelled in the words of the law, and were endued with wisdom, and were obedient to their command.” – T. It appears that in their wisdom, experience, and skill, their brethren had the fullest confidence; and nothing was done but by their direction and advice.”
The sons of Issachar could discern what God was doing and when He was doing it.
They knew when one move of God was ending and another one was beginning.
They could discern when a leader was falling and another leader was rising.
They could even tell you who the next leader should be. They knew who to follow and when to follow him or her.
Not only that, but the sons of Issachar also excelled in knowledge of God’s law.
They were full of wisdom. In fact, God chose the sons of Issachar as one of the three tribes to go out in front of Israel whenever the nation moved. Judah (the praising people) went first; then Issachar (the wise and discerning ones) and Zebulun (the financiers). That’s quite a combination!*
The sons of Issachar were so sharp, and so spiritually astute, that the whole nation depended on them to know what they ought to do and when they ought to do it.
1. They supported a female ruler when it may not have been popular.(Deborah)
In the times when Israel was governed by judges, before it had kings (around 1100 BC or earlier according to some scholars), a woman rose up to judge the land. Her name was Deborah. Although women did have rights in Israel, it would still have been unusual for a woman to sit in authority over the nation.
Nevertheless, God was with Deborah. He placed her in authority, and the sons of Issachar knew it. Therefore, they sided with Deborah and went out to battle under her leadership. Pretty gutsy move! Why did they do it? Because they could discern the times and seasons, and they knew God’s hand was on her and it was her time to rule. They gained a great victory and freed the land from foreign rule as a result. (Read Judges chapter 5 for more.)
2. They supported King David before he became king–when he was NOT popular with King Saul, who was in power at the time.
Before King David–the 2nd king of Israel–began to reign,
warriors from the 12 tribes started gathering to him. All the tribes were split in their support of David except for one tribe. The tribe of Issachar was united in their support of David, according to the passage quoted above from 1 Chronicles 12:32.
Why did all Issachar support David? Because they knew that God had called him to become king, and they knew that his time had come. They could discern the changing of the times. It worked out well, too. David became the next king, and remains the most famous king of Israel in all history to this day.
3. The anointing of those who are – wise in provision,discerning and worshippers.
We are needing to understand that as we move forward the Lord is giving us a sense of his calling on our lives to be those who are deeply discerning especially around the amount of fake news, conspiricy theories and the challenges of people spreading false news about the vaccine. I am also aware of the need to ask the question – What’s in your hand? What recourses has the Lord given you to share with others and to find ways of doing this. We also need to understand that we are first and foremost worshippers of the Lord and this all needs to be done within a real heart for change and transformation. The time for harvest is coming but the workers are few and we need to ask the Lord how we need to labour in His vineyard for sucha time as this.John 4:35 just after the story of the samaritan woman at the well.