Letters to the Family of God
by Joe Franzone | February 10, 2022 | Pastor's Blog
Over the past few weeks, our letters have focused on personal evangelism. If you haven't read them yet, you can take a peek here.
Near the end of the most recent letter was an acknowledgment that we need to know and understand the times. That is to be a student of people, to earn a better ear from our listeners.
The actual phrase, understood the times, came out of a particular context. When David set himself to the task of King, he would hold counsel. The sons of Issachar were part of his counsel. They were unique, unique in a specific way.
They understood; they saw past the surface and thought through matters with objective truth. The times, the current trending of circumstances, and they knew, having experiential knowledge, tested by objective truth, and its application in real-time situations.
Meaning what? Well, meaning at least this, if they were going to understand the times so that Israel would know what to do, they were going to have to get themselves out of the way. Any personal opinion they held, any personal conviction they would hold to, was taken out of their decision-making thought process, taken out so that they could replace it with objective truth. As this happens, the text doesn’t say, then David would know what to do, rather the nation, Israel, would know what to do.
Is that something we should consider? I think it is. Because the counsel they gave was based on objective truth, God’s truth, the entire nation would know what to do. National unity based on sound counsel.
So, as they looked at the circumstances they were addressing, circumstances filled with the chaos of people doing what was right in their own eyes, hence the problem, they looked at it from God's perfect point of view. Therefore, they knew what to do because they were looking from the viewpoint of God. They got themselves out of the way. Therein, having God's thoughts about the particular situation they were addressing.
That’s a lot to consider, and we will consider it more in the coming weeks. However, the root of understanding the times, to know what to do, is to look at people and the trend of circumstances through the lens of scripture and not through our own convictions. Easier said than done, but a necessity still the same.
What does God’s word say about all the things which make life—life? Love, death, friendship, worry, care, dreams, ambition, truth, lie, sadness, etc. When we do that we are burning our convictions (which are there, hiding sometimes but still there) we then do what the early church we read of in Acts 6:7, 8:4, 8;14, 8:25, 12:24, 13:5, 13:7, 13:44, 13:46, 13:48-49, 15:36, 16:12, 18:11, 19:10, 19:20, 20:32. They were very good at getting themselves out of the way. This is a distinction that is ours.
Today we are used to thinking of ourselves as utterly independent. It can be easy to forget when we place our faith in Christ, we receive a fundamentally new identity. We are now part of Christ’s own body, His people, His church forever. All our other identities are temporal. Even our roles within our human families, or citizens of a nation. An amazing truth. A good question to ask ourselves is, do I think of my most basic identity as being in Christ and united with his body.
You see, to understand the times, we need to continue to understand God’s word and keep burning off our own convictions. As we do, our understanding will grow, and we will know what to do and say.
God bless you this week in all things great and small.