So Far we had describe all the individual warriors of David to part 6

Part 6: The Warriors By The Well Of Bethlehem
Part 7: The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Benjamin
Part 8 & Part 9 : The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Gad
Part 10 : The Warriors Of The Tribe Of Benjamin, Judah and Manasseh
Part 11: Warriors From The Tribe Of Benjamin, The Kinsman of Saul

The warriors of David are made up of warriors from the various tribes and they are all elite soldiers, each with their own area of expertise. Together they are able protect King David and to advance the kingdom of David.

The church of today is known as the Army Of Christ. They are given various gift from the Holy Spirit. and they must aid in the development of the church using their various talents. Are we willing to work together to establish the kingdom of God?

So far we have covered many different warriors and today we will be studying the warriors from the tribe of Issachar. (1 Chron 12:32) The bible records 3 distinct characteristics of these warriors

1. They understood the times
2. They knew what Israel ought to do.
3. All their brethren are at their command.

These are feats that are difficult to acquire. Let us examine each of the different characteristics

1. Understood The Times.

The chinese bible translated by Lee Zhen Zhong describe it as “To have an understanding of the times”

The children of Issachar do not follow orders blindly, they understand the trends of their times. They are able to make the right decision base on it. Similarly, as christians in the church, can we fully understand the movement of the trends in our time? We often like to compare this generation with the previous, and lament that their values and moral standards differs, we accuse the younger generations for going after worldly trends and make nasty comments about them. Will that bring the people closer to God? How can we help the next generations be firm in their faith? How do we guide them to the right path?

In order to do this, we must be mindful of the trends of our times, so that we can , through prayer, develop a response and a strategy to guide the people in the right direction. The warriors of Issachar knows the times and that is something we ought to emulate

2. Knowing What Israel Ought To Do.

While most people will concur that knowing what to do is a simple thing, and it only requires basic logic and reasoning but it is interesting to note that, many a times the Israelites did not know what they ought to do. There are times they follow blindly, and they forgot that they are the children of God, specially chosen by God and not to be separate nation, unlike the kingdoms of the world.

They fail to understand that their moral values, culture and their way of life is meant to be different from the nations around, and they must preserve their purity. There are many things that the nations around them do, which they are not allowed to follow.

2.1 Doing The Will Of God

The Israelites are supposed to behave, base on the words of Gods law (Deut 6:1-9). So in order to know what Israel ought to do, they need to be well versed in the requirement of the Law of God .

The Israelites then were constantly swept away by the trend of their times, they are often influenced by the culture around them and are eager to follow the nations around them.

There are times when we fall into this same trap, we tell ourselves “We can do it as long as it is not against moral values. If we do not do it, people will find us weird. When in Rome, do as the Romans do” , But many a times we forget to consider our relationship with God, but rather place emphasis on our inter human relationship.

The tribe of Issachar is well aware of what they need to do, they understand the tide of their times, they value their human to human relationship, but at the same time they value their relationship with God even more. They would rather follow what God wants them to do.

There are times if we follow God, we may lose a friend, lose some popularity, and some friendly invitations. At the most we would be more lonely, but if we were to count our losses, our losses will be nothing compared to us offending God. We have to understand that if we were to offend God we would stand to lose even more. It is an important understanding to have.

As a christian we should know what we ought to do. we ought to know the will of God and do them.

2.2 Knowing The Right Conduct In The House Of God

Paul once gave this instruction to Timothy

“but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” – Paul (1 Tim 3:15)

Well, its easy if Paul is around, but when Paul is away and we need to handle some matters? How would we handle? How should we act in order to be pleasing before God? How do we judge between right and wrong?

We certainly do not wish to see problems within the house of God, but is it possible to have 0 incidents? I am certain that we are in heaven if there are no problems in church. This is because only in heaven there is true peace, while on earth we will face with problems. Therefore we ought to know how to conduct ourselves in the house of God

2.3 Knowing The Truth

What is most important to the house of God? Some may feel that it is money, because the church needs finance to preach, run religious classes, hold evangelistic gathering. But is money the most important? Remember, we can have the finance to build the largest church building but it is nothing if we do not have members. Then is Human to human relationship most important?

I feel that all those are important, but the most important thing should be the truth. We have to consider whether what we do is in accordance to the truth in the bible. We have to compare the decisions of the church in the light of the scripture.

The main reason is because the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15) . Those who are civil engineers will tell you that the pillar and the foundation of a building must never be shaken. If we destroy the foundation or a supporting pillar, the building will collapse. Therefore it is essential to guard the pillar and foundation.

The church is given one great commission, to preach and to defend the truth. If the truth has been changed and are no longer pure, won’t it clause harms to others? It would be better that it was not preached. So before we preach, the gospel we should always make sure that our message is the pure gospel message that brings salvation. We have to make sure the truth that we preach is not mingled with the teachings of man.

How can we achieve this? It requires the effort fo the entire church of God, and not just the preacher. Remember that the Gods church comprises of the entire assembly of the saints. Therefore it is every brothers and sisters responsibility to listen and discern the truth. This something that all Christians must know in the house of God.

The truth governs our conduct, teaching us what we should tell the others as well as the children. We must do everything in accordance with the truth. Truth is not the common understanding of man, only the truth from the scriptures saves.

What is this truth? It is the words of Jesus, just like what he said

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” – Jesus Jn 14:16

2.3 Going beyond the Teaching of Christ

The words of Jesus includes every instructions and every teaching, if we were to follow them, we can receive everlasting life. It cannot be added or subtracted. The biggest dangers in Christendom is not about adding and subtracting the teachings of Christ. but the danger of going beyond the teaching of Christ. This is far more dangerous compared to the adding and subtracting of the truth.

Some of you may wonder why? If someone decided to add or subtract from the scriptures, we are able to detect the change easily, we can compare them faithfully against the scriptures and root out the difference. But if the teaching goes beyond the teaching of Jesus, it takes much greater effort and diligent examination before one could detect the error. These teaching bear some resemblance to the original instruction of the Lord, but are mingled with ideas and suggestions from man.

One must be able to differentiate between the 2, which often requires close scrutiny and deep discernment of the word God.

2.3 Taking a Stand In Faith

There are some people who quoted the words of John

” Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” – John (2 John 9-11)

They claimed that because in order not to share in the evil deeds of the people who doesn’t preach Christ, one must shun someone who goes beyond the doctrine of Christ. But is it wrong to talk to him or to greet him?

We know that John is not referring to the basic mannerism of life, as we have many other friends who does not believe in Jesus, therefore living among them and maintaining a friendliness is of no issue. However, Christians should avoid taking part in work that will help propagate their teaching.

For example, if there is a religious organisation who comes to you asking for donations, should we donate or not? We should always ask what is the donation for? If they are asking for donations to help the victims of disasters and illness, we are obliged to help. Saving the helpless and taking care of widows have nothing to do with the truth.

However, if the donations are used to construct a new religious building, or to help propagate their teachings, then it is not proper for Christians to be part of the work, as the glory should be left for the practitioner of their faith.

Christians should be aware that Elder John is talking about taking a stand in the truth, if there are people who approach us for help because they are hungry and they need food. There is no problems with us providing help.

But if it’s about our stand in the truth, then we have to be strict in our stand, if we know that the request for help is to help him propagate this teachings that are erroneous, we must make our stand clearly. Only by so doing we would not take part in his misdeed.

This is an important point, unless a christian knows the teaching of Christ, it would be difficult for one to know if someone had transgressed the teaching of Jesus. We should be like the warriors of Issachar, to know what we ought to do. To be acquainted with the truth and to be able to discern rightly the word God

3. Having All Their Brethren Are At Their Command.

If one were to give a command and everyone follows, it does make the person feel great. In fact if a man can tame an animal, he will feel the satisfaction that he is able to tame the beast.

It is quite an irony when man can tame a lions and bears and yet were unable to get their children to listen to them. So what is the clause of this problem?

In order to get submission from others, our commands must be right, they must be reasonable, and only then will people follow. Even if we bear a grudge against the person who issued the order, we will still follow at times saying “though I do not agree with you, but I believe that your commands and instructions are correct in this context.”

The warriors of Issachar knows the trend of their times, and what Israel ought to do, hence their brethren are ready at their command. They trust that if they receive an order from their leaders, the commands have been thought through carefully. They know that if they have doubts about the order, they can check directly with their leaders whom they are sure that they know the times as well as what they ought to do. They would be able to provide a satisfactory reason for their orders.

Similarly, church leaders of the present day must be careful about the commands they give. Have the command been thought through? Have we thought through carefully before issuing a command. Let us learn not to make hasty decision but to consider carefully. If a church leader issues a command, we must be sure that we have a basis, and if your coworkers wanted to know more of the rational, you must be able to present your case from the scriptural perspective.

If you were to answer queries with answers such as, “Bro XX told us this” it will definitely arouse suspicions, how can we ever be sure that Bro XX must be correct? If our order is merely a based on a suggestion or just good advice from good brother, if there is no biblical support or spiritual basis, how can we be sure its a good idea to proceed? If we hastily gave an order, we may end up creating more problems than help.

There are 2 examples that I can think of

3.1 Saul and his Rash Oath

1 Sam 14:24-30 talks about a time where Saul gave a command without considering its feasibility. They are fighting the Philistines and in the middle of the war, he declared a fast. If anyone were to eat, he will be cursed. So now one dared to touch any food even when they are weary from better. Jonathan his son ate of it, and he criticised his Dad for the rash oath. If the army would have been able to fight better if they are allowed to eat.

Finally Saul was angry that Jonathan disobeyed, so he wanted to execute him, but all pleaded for him, and they felt that Jonathan not in the wrong, he is unaware of the oath. In fact that incident proved that the orders from Saul were not correct.

While some readers may what to be the devils advocate and say that fasting and prayer is a good thing to do before spiritual warfare, it would have sounded reasonable, however, those who are acquainted with the character of Saul will vouch that Saul is not someone who fears and trust God in times of adversity. His track recorded then had proven that he was prepared to disobey God and perform a sacrifice which he is not allowed to. He should have waited for Prophet Samuel, but yet he choose to disobey God.

How could someone like that trust in Gods deliverance? Will he in the midst of battle suddenly turn fervent and declare a fast and a prayer? If he is sincere about it, he would have done it way before the battle, not in the midst of it.

While another group of Devils advocate may claimed that although the command issue by Saul is at the spur of the moment, but he did it with a good intention, for his country and for God. While this reason sounds intriguing, but we must be able to discern the commands of God.

Is it true that one could do anything they want as long as their intention is good? The answer is definitely a NO, all our actions must be in accordance with the bible. We are not allowed to make void the teachings in the bible just out of good intention. Good intentions need not always be pleasing before God, especially when our good intention does not have any positive effects.

For example:

We saw a drug addict suffering madly from withdrawal syndrome. Can we out of good intention buy him some drugs to relieve him of his pain? We provided him money to help him acquire the drugs he need to get relieve from his pain.

Let us all be clear over one truth, our good intention need not yield a positive results, we must act according to the will of God, only by so doing we will be pleasing in his eyes.

3.2 David And His Census

David once gave a command at the spur of the moment, it was written in 1 Chon 21:1-4.

He ordered a census of the people to be taken, sometimes we may wonder, is there anything wrong? A king ought to know the number of citizens in his realm and the strength of his army.

Even Joab his general knows that it is against the will of God. It is interesting to note that Joab is not a very good man, but yet he is aware that David actions is going against the Lord. He oppose king David saying

“May the LORD make His people a hundred times more than they are. But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then does my lord require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?” – Joab (1 Chron 21:3)

While Joab has already warn the king that it will incur the wrath of God, yet David proceeded with the census, causing a plague that last for 3 days.

Learning from this story, we have to understand that just because our leaders are good people doesn’t mean they are incapable of issuing in bad command. Hence we should be careful every time we receive an order.

While new Devil advocates may say that the bible says that it is Satan that moved David to sin (1 Chron 21:1) so therefore it is satan fault for harming king David. People who blame David for the misfortune doesn’t have “spiritual insight” and are incapable to discern that it is the faut if satan, Then why did God punish David and not satan?

1 Chorn 21:7 tell sus that God was displeased and he struck Israel, so does that mean that GOd has no spiritual insight at all? At the same time, David admitted his guilt before God

“I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing; but now, I pray, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.” – David (1 Chron 21:8)

Was David being clear minded? he should have shift the blame to satan.

Here lies the greatness of king David, he did not push the blame to someone else, yes it is true that Satan have tempted David to do the census, but David could have chosen to remain unmoved by the moving of satan. Though the bible is silent about how Satan moved David, but I am sure that we have all received the temptation one way or the other.

David humbly admitted his guilt, he accepted Gods punishment.

At the end of the day

From the 2 examples, we know that we should never give hap hazard commands. That will result to even more problems in the future. We should always compare to see if our command is in accordance with the teaching of Christ. Everyone will be willing to follow Christ, therefore they will automatically listen to you.

The mighty man of Issachar understood the times and they knew what Israel Ought to do, they are able to command their brethren easily. These are feats that are lacking in the modern church, so therefore let us learn to emulate them .