November 12, 2012
I thought it would never be over.
We in America live on a four-year cycle, in national politics. Like so many other things in modern experience, the digital, always-connected reality means that constant has replaced occasional in our personal space. Romney ran in 2008… and kept running. Obama ran in 2008, won… and then kept running. This four-year cycle became the most expensive in history; Business Week estimates $6 billion raised and spent to put our leaders in position. Could we get a little break before we start throwing mud/cow pies, for 2016?
It’s time to get back to business while there’s a brief lull in that battle. So… what’s up, now?
Career pursuits have become challenging for many/most of the people I know and serve. Professionals who were worried about maximizing investments in the last decade are now concerned about restoring cash flow – hoping for just enough to cover their personal burn rate. Assets that characterized the Good Life have now become personal liabilities; the lack of leisure time has idled toys and chateaus, making them remnants of an earlier bubble.
I keep coming back to an historic shift that occurred in biblical history. God’s plan had been made public… but it took decades for it to be enacted in human experience. Israel’s popular vote had gone to Saul – he was the people’s choice for King. God allowed it, but Saul’s opposition to God’s clear directives caused God to disassociate from his reign. In preparation for the next season, God tapped a young shepherd – David – to be His replacement for Saul. That was the long-term solution… but it would take years of conflict and commitment to bring God’s vision to the throne.
The time had come. Saul and his heir, Jonathan, were dead. David was God’s man for Israel. Looks good on paper, but when people are involved, process is necessary. The assent of the governed is necessary for the ascent of the governor; the 12 Tribes in Israel had to agree with God’s choice…
In America, we gather at political conventions to get the disparate troops together; in David’s time, the tribes had to send their delegates in the form of their militias: would the tribes give lip service, or military service, to David’s headship?
The account is important to consider: “These are the numbers of the men armed for battle who came to David at Hebron to turn Saul’s kingdom over to him, as the Lord had said… from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;… All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They came to Hebron fully determined to make David king over all Israel. All the rest of the Israelites were also of one mind to make David king.” (1 Chronicles 12:23, 32, 38). In those “…” sections are the census counts for 11 of the tribes: over 350,000 troops are listed. The smallest contingent mentioned are the Issacharians; how could 200 men – among 350,000! – be worth mentioning?
They were different than all the rest: they “understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” Thousands of ground troops whose best contribution was their ability to follow orders. Hundreds of officers who were spread across the tribes were in place to give those orders, and motivate their men. But who would be in the strategic compound – with King David – considering the ever-changing circumstances, creating strategies… and then formulating plans for the masses to mobilize?
The Men of Issachar were leaders. The few; the informed; the strategic: of counsel to the King, trusted by him to understand his vision… and to steward his resources to accomplish his mission. They must have been crucial to David’s future: God slipped their status into the historic account, with the intent to remind future generations of the importance leaders represent.
Today, it isn’t King David we’re seeking to serve; it’s his descendent, the Son of David, Son of Man, Son of God: King Jesus. His mission isn’t reframed every four years: it was delegated to us about 2000 years ago… and we need to understand our times, and figure out what we should be doing.
Visit the Situation Room: www.issacharinitiative.org. Be an Issacharian; we need you at the table!