There’s an oft-quoted verse in 1 Chronicles 12:32 that says the men of Issachar “understood the times.” “They knew what Israel should do,” is the greatness attributed to them. They were few, but they had divine understanding of God’s timing for their nation.
Timing is critical.
Miss the timing and your joke isn’t funny. Miss the timing and you’re clapping out of rhythm. Miss the timing and you’ve missed the Lord.
Time of Visitation
Bad jokes and people with no internal metronome never really hurt anyone. Missing the timing of the Lord can be bad. I’m not talking about saying that if God gives us revelation and we get the timing wrong as in, “the Lord said he’ll bless your house this year,” and it actually happens next year. No, that’s not a problem. If you take that to heart, it may make for a bad year because of your expectations, but the next year when God does it on His original timing makes up for it. Missing the timing in that kind of way is not really damaging. In fact, I dare say that anyone who ventures to listen to the Lord and hear His voice misses the timing on prophetic words early and often. It causes those with experience to share any words that involve days or timing with great hesitation.
What is damaging is missing the timing of the Lord because our eyes are closed. Jesus addresses this directly.
41When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it,42saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.43“For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side,44and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
Men of Issachar, Arise!
Most people agree that Jesus was speaking of Jerusalem’s fall to the Romans in 70 AD. He attributed this coming encounter to the fact that they did not recognize the time of their visitation. Jerusalem’s fall was attributable to their misunderstanding of timing. Israel was given a little over three years to accept her Messiah, but the news largely fell on deaf ears, or was outright rejected. If Israel had only understood the times, they would have known what to do.
Where were the “men of Issachar” in Jesus’ day? Where are they today?
Look around. Do things seem like they are going well? Is our nation moving toward or away from the Lord? Is the school your child is in getting more godly or more godless? Is what you are watching on television becoming more pleasing to the Lord or less?
What Do We Do?
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
We have a light that will shine in the darkness, but we must be able to perceive Him. We have been made by Jesus, but will we recognize Him when He comes to visit us?
The truth is that countless generations have made the same claim the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day that “if we had been alive during our forefathers’ time, we wouldn’t have killed the prophets.” Jesus told them they bore witness against themselves with these words because of what they were to do to Him. We are no different today.
Jesus longs for us to return to Him. He calls out for us. His Spirit and Power are ready, willing and able to radically transform our nation. God is but a humble call away. Jesus is here, today, knocking on our do or. Will we open it?
Now Is Our Time
There has never been a time like this in American history; one where God is so available to His people. I have personally heard more stories of God speaking, healing, moving and acting in peoples’ lives in the past ten years than in all American literature combined. He is showing us He is willing, so why are things continuing to disintegrate in our nation?
For all that God is speaking, I’m not sure there is a lot of listening. That seems counterintuitive, but consider how much Jesus spoke during His time on earth. Think of how often He tried to make clear to those who would listen who He really was. Think of how many who heard Him speak. Why then, did they “miss the hour of their visitation?”
God’s presence, power, action and voice do not force a reaction upon us. He waits. And God will wait for us to respond up until the moment He has declared He will wait no longer. And that is where timing becomes important.
What is important to understand about that timing is that if we want to know what our “drop-dead date” is, then we’ve already missed the hour of our visitation. If we ask how long we can continue in sin before we must repent, then we have misunderstood God’s patience, love and kindness.
Tomorrow We Are Out Of Time
Timing is not about understanding how long we have until God acts–in our case, against our nation–but how quickly we and everyone we know must respond. If we ask how long we can wait, our hearts are already darkened to the time of our visitation, because that time is NOW!
I have written about why that time is now in my book, The Year of the Lord’s Favor. I believe this is a critical time for America, and if the church will rise up today, God can heal our land. But we are rapidly approaching the end of our visitation, I believe. Let us not miss it, and end up like Jerusalem in 70 AD. Jesus longed for that not to happen, but their rejection of Him made it inevitable.
We have hope. We have time, but that time is not tomorrow, it is today.