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Understanding the Timesby Duane Mabee on October 14, 2021
The first 9 chapters of 1 Chronicles aren’t captivating reading. They are a bit like a voting registry from ancient Israel – lots of unpronounceable names. You get a break in chapters 10-11, but chapter 12 returns to naming names. A description in verse 32 caught my attention, though. It says the Issacharites understood the times and knew what Israel should do, HCSB. We desperately need men and women like that in our churches today.
Dr. A. G. Miller, former professor of African studies at Oberlin College in Ohio, describes our times as a glacial age. A myriad of societal problems has advanced through our society like a glacier in the last 2 to 5 years. Right now, they cover our world like a thick layer of ice but when they recede, we will discover that the landscape of society has forever changed. Life will be fundamentally different.
For most, that is an extremely frightening prospect. The one hope we’re clinging to is that things will return to “normal” soon! But, for those who understand the times, the changes will provide unparalleled opportunities for innovation, change and advance. This is no less true in the Church than in any other area.
The Church has thrived throughout the centuries because if its ability to adapt to whatever circumstances it finds itself in and take advantage of the opportunities to minister to people and share the hope of Jesus Christ. The Church’s approach to each situation looks markedly different from other places and times, but the Christ She serves and exalts remains the same.
In years gone by, Christian leaders said that to communicate Christ effectively you need to be able to exegete (skillfully interpret and apply) the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. Today we would probably say the internet, but the concept is the same. To effectively communicate Christ in any culture, we need to have a deep understanding of both the unchanging Word of God and the rapidly changing culture.
We need to seek the LORD to help us to understand both our times and God’s unchanging truths. Believers who can do that will find unlimited opportunities to advance Christ’s Kingdom in these days. Jesus said, look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest, Jn 4:35 ESV, (i.e., understand the times). The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest, Lk 10:2-3 ESV. May God give us men and women, boys and girls who understand the times and know what the Church should do.