I was reading through Scripture a while back when a phrase jumped out at me, and a day or two later it jumped again, 1Chronicles 12:32 “Men of Israel who understood the times & knew what Israel should do. In “Esther 1:13 “he spoke with the wise men who understood the times.”
In the book of Esther, King Xerxes has a mini-crises on his hand, his wife Queen Vashti, has refused his summons. To be fair to her, it could have been no fun to have to parade for your husband’s guests so that they too could admire your physical beauty. This seemingly mini-crises was no minor crises, however, it threatened to spread rebellion into all the households of the Persian Empire, the women of the Empire could all refuse to obey their husbands, something had to be done! No Empire could or would tolerate any kind of rebellion from its conquered subjects, much less rebellion within the houses and homes of the citizens of that empire, worse still rebellion from within the household of the King.
The wisest advice, from the most trusted sources within the King’s circles came from “men who understood the times” men who knew what the right course of action should be. Men who would ensure the King acted to preserve the dignity of his own reign, preserve the authority of his own home, and maintain the status quo of the era. Men whose advice would be in short, essential to best interests of the country they lived in.
This advice led to Queen Vashti’s permanent exclusion from her husband’s presences, and in addition she also lost her Royal Position. Another was chosen to replace her.
In 1 Chronicles, David is on the run from Saul, he has been anointed King by Samuel, but was not yet recognized as such by the existing King and people of Israel. To cut a long story short, there were many disaffected people within the Kingdom, who had joined up with David, many I am sure for all the wrong reasons, but people rallied to him. From the Tribe of Issachar, there were men who uniquely are described as men who “understood the times”. They were sensitive to the way the Lord was directing the nation, they were savvy to the political situation, they were astute men who could “read the writing on the wall”. They also knew what the Nation of Israel should be doing, that is unhitching themselves from Saul, and hitching themselves to the future King.
Brother and sisters, our King has granted us permanent and guaranteed access to his presence at anytime, we need have no fear of losing our position, or our privilege, the Holy Spirit within us leads us all to become a people who understand the times, we can see the writing on the wall, because we have the Word of God given to us, and we have understanding of the Word, through His Holy Spirit, and through the preaching and teaching of His Word.
We recognize despite living in a country with a political system that is obsolete, obsolete not because democracy will fail as surely as any other political system will fail, yes democracy is and was superior to communism, totalitarianism, dictatorship etc.
If we understand the times we understand that we have a citizenship in a heavenly kingdom, we have the King of Kings who can and will never fail us in any way.
This year we need to look to Jesus more than ever before, it is better for us to hide in the caves with Jesus, to wander in the deserts with Jesus, its better for us to be persecuted, to be rejected by the majority of the world around us, its better for not to ally ourselves with the fickleness of of changing “value” systems, which is as bad idea as Vashti’s attempt at rebellion.
Let us be men and women who truly understand the times from an eternal perspective!