1 Chronicles 12 describes David’s loyal followers gathering and supporting him as he prepared to become King of Israel. This chapter emphasizes the unity and strength that resulted from the various tribes rallying behind David, laying the groundwork for his reign and the kingdom’s unification.
The men of Issachar stood out among these tribes for their understanding of the times and their knowledge of what Israel should do (1 Chronicles 12.32). They understood that God had anointed David as king while Saul was on the throne. Their kinship with their brethren and willingness to support Israel led them to assist David and his men at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12.40). Their leadership in this matter served as a model for other tribes that were still undecided.
We can draw inspiration from the men of Issachar and apply their lessons to our modern world during our current cultural civil war, characterized by fierce rhetoric and ideological conflicts.
We need wisdom and insight above all else. We must understand the complexities of our times like the men of Issachar did while avoiding falling prey to mere sentiment or rhetoric. We must recognize the cultural shifts, ideologies, and conflicts shaping our world today.
A usurper rules the world (1 John 5.19). We recognize that this usurper is a master manipulator who duped our mother, Eve, into sin (Genesis 3.1–7). Jesus referred to him as the father of lies and a murderer from our beginning (John 8.44). On the other hand, Revelation 19.16 reminds us that Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, God’s anointed (Acts 10.38). Yet, unfortunately, many people, including some of our family, friends, and neighbors, still regard Satan as their king.
We must demonstrate the men of Issachar’s willingness to put our efforts into action since we know what we must all do. When making decisions, we must use sound judgment by weighing various options and understanding the consequences. The Gospel’s teachings give us a sound mind, which leads to discipline. These characteristics enable us to face our opponents and carry out our duties without fear (2 Timothy 1.7). Amid our cultural civil war, it is critical to make decisions guided by God’s truth and values, contributing to the well-being of others and the pursuit of justice.
Second, even in discord, we should strive for harmony, following in the footsteps of the men of Issachar, who were instrumental in establishing and maintaining national peace. Even though we offer peace terms to people whose sins have gotten the best of them (cf. Matthew 5.9), they must know that their rebellion against God warrants death (Romans 6:23). Nonetheless, we bring the good news of God’s gift of eternal life through Christ. Regardless of contentious issues, we are encouraged to approach discussions and conflicts humbly, preaching the truth in love (Ephesians 4.5). We can contribute to a more constructive and peaceful engagement with those harboring different points of view by encouraging dialogue and building bridges.
Third, Christian ethics should guide our responses to current issues, just as God’s commandments guided the men of Issachar. God has given us everything we require for life and godliness (2 Peter 1.3). We look to the Scriptures in our cultural context because the words of Christ will judge us (John 12.48). We can apply Christian ethics to issues of cultural civil war by drawing on Christ’s teachings and grounding our engagement in love, truth, and reconciliation. Even during heated debates, our words and actions should reflect Christ’s character (1 Peter 2.23). Peter reminds us that Christ suffered for us, leaving an example for us to follow in His footsteps (1 Peter 2.21).
Finally, the example of the men of Issachar encourages us to develop a voice of reason in these contentious times. We must cultivate a reasoned voice that speaks the truth, confronts sin, and offers hope, just as the men of Issachar did.
An event in the divided monarchy’s history illustrates this task. Ben-hadad, the Aramean king, had besieged Samaria, resulting in extreme conditions and even cannibalism. In a twist of events orchestrated by God, the Arameans were frightened into fleeing, leaving their supplies behind. The discovery of the abandoned camp by four lepers resulted in abundant riches and food.
Their consciences, however, troubled them, and they realized they couldn’t keep the good news to themselves (2 Kings 7.9). Likewise, we have information that is too good to keep to ourselves. As a result, we, like Issachar, should provide leadership and point people to the transformative power of the cross.
By incorporating these insights into our understanding of the men of Issachar, we can navigate the challenges of the cultural civil war with discernment, seek unity amid division, apply Christian ethics, and cultivate a reasoned voice. As a result, we can contribute to a more constructive and transformative engagement in our culture, even amid heated rhetoric and ideological clashes.
May the Lord give us the wisdom and courage to apply these principles daily. May we be reconcilers, peacemakers, and bearers of Christ’s transformative power.