Understanding the Times
And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. (1 Chronicles 12:32)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, activities have been shut down, including churches but God is not restricted by buildings. Today, our homes serve as churches where God’s word can be shared, and we can be refreshed. There are different seasons in our world today, such as winter and summer, autumn and spring, rainy season and dry season. Each season is unique and has a purpose. Understanding the times is critical, if we are to take the appropriate action.
1 Chronicles 12:32 gives us a description of the men of Issachar. Of all the tribes of the children of Israel, the bible singled out the men of Issachar as men of understanding that is, they understood the times, and knew what Israel ought to do at different times. They did the right thing at the right time.
We are in a critical time and if you do not understand the time, you may not know what to do. You may just spend this season living in complaints, focusing on things that are not important and you may not understand what God wants you to do. The COVID-19 situation has put a lot of time in our hands, but how do we avoid not wasting it? Even though it seems as though everything is at a halt, time is not! Time is your life, time is precious. Even in this lock-down, your clock of time is ticking hence we must ask God to give us understanding of this time just like the children of Issachar. The children of Issachar were in control; the bible says that the heads of them were 200 and all their brethren were at their commandment. When you understand the times, you will be in control, you will not let situations control you or determine how you should live.
What to do at this time!
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. (Hosea 10:12)
- Sow to yourself
In this season, we can sow to ourselves. Prior to this time, everyone was engrossed with business, one vocation or the other, but now most of those things are on a halt. It is a time to build something in our lives. God expects that this time should afford everyone an opportunity to draw closer to Him, an opportunity to sow into the realm of your spirit so you can reap spiritual fruits.
- Break up the fallow grounds
Fallow grounds are grounds that have not been used, they have been allowed for a long time to stay idle and hardened. There are things you have neglected in your life that are critical, this is the time to break up those fallow grounds and begin to work on them. The situation we are facing today has shown us several things that we have spent our time and resources on, do not really matter.
The spiritual lives off some believers have become fallow and hardened. This is the time to till your spiritual life, remove all the ‘weeds’ to ensure that your spiritual life is refreshed. It is time to seek the Lord until He reigns righteousness upon us.
- Seek the Lord (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
“…if I shut up heaven…”. Sometimes, God can bring a lock-down. Sometimes, God can bring things that can bring destruction because His people have gone astray, and that’s the only way to bring them back to Him. I do not know the source of this virus and I am not saying it is sent by God but I know that God allowed it, because He is in control. There is a ‘shut up’; men have come to their wits end, but the solution lies in the hands of His people.
According to verse 14, if you are a child of God and called by the name of God, you have a role to play in this time. Everyone is hit by the impact of the virus, no one is exempted, even those of us who are God’s children. That means we must take responsibility. God is expecting us to bring solution to what is happening. He is looking for earnest heartfelt prayer. God wants us to humble ourselves, to accept responsibility, to know that we are where we are today because the church failed in her responsibility and focused on things that do not matter, instead of reaching out to save lives. God expects that we stand in the gap and intercede for the healing of our land.
We need to rise and pray for the true healing of the land. True healing can only come from God. We must live up to our responsibility. God says He will heal our land if we pray.
How do we manage our time?
We are in a situation we can term a “Spiritual Sabbath”. God seems to have given the world a Sabbath where everything must rest. The law of Sabbath in the old testament was a very critical law which started in Genesis 2:2. God had to create one day specifically for rest and refreshing. Even God rested and gave a commandment to the children of Israel (Exodus 31:13-17). The Sabbath was a day the people would devote to God, get refreshed physically and spiritually. God was so particular about it, that it attracted a death penalty if one contravened the Sabbath.
Sabbaths come with blessings and miracles. In Israel, there were different forms of Sabbath they observed. While picking manna in the wilderness, whatever they picked on the sixth day, was to be preserved to sustain them on the seventh day, when they were expected to observe the Sabbath. That means, there would always be a provision even though you were not working. Another kind of Sabbath they observed was that which was in years. They would work for six years in their lands and on the seventh year, they were not to plant anything, but God promised them that in that sixth year, the harvest they would have would sustain them for the seventh, even to the eight year. That is, the harvest of the sixth year would carry them for the next three years.
I know many of us are bothered about our well-being. The truth is, your worry cannot change situations, so why not turn your focus to God, draw close to God and you will see the miracle of God. The God that feeds the sparrow is still alive. Even now, He still feeds the birds and clothes the flowers. (Matthew 6:25-31). Don’t allow situations around to move you into living a life of grumbling and complaining, thus making you lose your spiritual focus and fellowship with God. Your worry can not make a difference. If things are critical, we have a God that handles critical situations. This is a time to trust and believe Him (Psalm 37:25). Do not allow the needs of the hour distract from the spiritual benefits of this time - a time to draw closer to God and be refreshed spiritually.
It is also a time to reach out to others because there are so many who are living in fear because they do not know the Lord, they are hopeless.
Part of understanding the time is that you need to give your life to Jesus, if you are not born again. A lot of people have died without Christ and are hopeless for eternity but there is a security when you are in Christ. What we are seeing now, is just a signal of so many things that will happen in the future, and so you must secure your faith and hope in God by giving your life to Jesus.
I challenge you that we are in an extra ordinary time, and you can turn this season to become an extraordinary time of visitation and testimonies. If we properly align ourselves with God, He can turn around our situation. I pray that you understand the time.