In case you haven’t heard, there was an election in America last week. People are up in arms about it on both sides of the table, with some even taking to the streets in protest. Social media is aflame with opinions, accusations, predictions, and scapegoating of every sort. World leaders are watching with angst over what it will mean for their countries. Minority groups are afraid for their very lives. Indeed, these are strange and trying times for many people.
Israel once experienced a similarly distressing time of transition: Her king, Saul, was descending into madness, while her soon-to-be king, David, was amassing an army of malcontents in the wilderness. Saul was hunting David like a dog in a wild bid to prevent David from gaining the throne, but the people who had tired of Saul’s reign were defecting to David day by day and revolution was in the air. Scripture says that among the people who joined David’s ranks were “men from the tribe of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).
As I survey the landscape of the western world today, especially among the professed followers of Jesus, I wonder: Where are the men and women of Issachar? Where are the people who understand the times and know what we should do? Does the Church have any prophetic voice left in her? Can she speak to the issues of our day with any vestige of divine authority?
I spend a lot of time with both liberals and conservatives, and most of them are well-meaning human beings, believe it or not. I often lament with Elbert Hubbard that “if men and women could only know each other, they would neither idolize nor hate.” Yet I also realize there are genuinely bad people in this world who have no business holding positions of power and that there are systems in place which desperately need to be renewed. These matters should not be ignored.
What should we do, then? I don’t know. What I do know is that both the political left and right are continually speaking past each other. Politicians are pontificating as usual and social media pundits are hurling anathemas to no practical end. Opinions abound, but the clear voice of authority–the word from God–is hard to decipher amidst the cacophony.
Where are the men and women of Issachar? Today, unfortunately, I have only the question and not the answer.