We need men of Issachar, what?

Back in King David’s time, there were some men who provided such wise discernment and such bold leadership that they became famous for it. It was their lasting testimony. These were the men of Issachar, and they are described this way in the book of 1 Chronicles. They are men who had an understanding of the times and knew what Israel ought to do. In other words, they had one foot clearly planted in their current culture and understood the various ways that God’s will was being attacked: where the people were under attack. At the same time, they studied the Word of God and knew the Word. They knew the moral will of God and how to lead the people in response to the times in which they were living.

Needless to say, we need more men of Issachar in our own times. In my own life, I’ve always thought of the men of Issachar as sort of the greatest example of leadership that you could find. There’s lots of books out there on developing leaders and being a good leader and multiplying leaders. In my mind, the men of Issachar are the operating definition. Understand the times in which you live and know the Word of God well enough to know how to provide a God-honoring, life changing response to it.

For many years, I have prayed in my own life that God would develop me and mature me like the men of Issachar. Someone who knows the times and the way that we should go. I think all of us agree that we need it in these times. Even understanding abortion, even though it’s been around legally in our country for over 50 years now, people still don’t know it. They don’t understand the atrocity of it, the enormity of the evil that it is. They don’t understand it as child slaughter nor do they know how it’s done. They don’t know what happens as a result to the mother, the father, the grandparents, the surviving children of abortion. They don’t understand it morally and spiritually as child sacrifice.

It takes some people to know and understand it according to the will of God and then bring to us, as a people of God, how to respond to it. Same thing is true with in-vitro fertilization. Today, the pain of infertility is spreading. The more we abandon God’s will for our lives regarding pregnancy and abortion the more it leads to infertility. There’s a percentage of the population of women who suffer the terrible pains of infertility, and without much thinking, they turn to IVF. There’s no understanding of the process.

In IVF, we make many human embryos that are created, and then they’re thrown into a refrigerator, and they’re left there to die or to stay there for 5, 10, 15, even 20 years. IVF is a serious moral threat to anyone who wants to respect the sanctity of human life. Yet there aren’t many people, spiritual leaders especially, who take the time to explain the times in which we live, IVF, and the way that we should go in addressing the pain of infertility.

Same is true with contraception. There are different forms of contraception. And there are certainly hormonal contraceptives like the pill or IUDs that work in an abortifacient quality. Most of us don’t know this. No one talks about it. In fact, I would say at least among the evangelical church, it takes a certain amount of moral courage to question contraception. But if we know the times in which we live and the way that we should go, that means we have to speak to these times and help our people understand what are the ethical issues, what are the

bioethical issues that we as God’s people need to sort through so that we can discern the will of God for our lives and our times, both for us personally and for one another at large.

There’s a quote from Martin Luther that I have always loved. No one really knows if Martin Luther said this, but he’s been credited with saying, “If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God, except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are, at that moment, attacking, I am not confessing Christ. However boldly I may be professing Christ, I’m not confessing Him. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved. And to be steady in all other battlefronts besides his mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.” In other words, Luther is saying we need men like the men of Issachar. People who understand the times in which we live and the way that we should respond.

We need them in our homes. We need fathers and husbands to reassert their moral responsibility and not run from it. We need them to understand the lines of attack on their family. We need to help leaders in our churches understand the lines of attack and find the moral courage to lead well.

I am off to Romania in just a few days, and I’ll be meeting with leaders from all over that country trying to raise up men of Issachar to bring the Word of God to their people. Of course, while I’m doing that in Romania, we have a team in Brazil as well. We have Pastor Sandy and our own Jeanne Pernia down there meeting with leaders from 22 Latin American countries. We are just wanting to ask God to raise up more men of Issachar. As soon as I get back from Romania our co-worker, Mark, heads off to Columbia to meet with leaders there, and then he goes off to Nepal and then India to work with our Passion Life team in India.

Everywhere we go, we want to pray that God would raise up men like the men of Issachar, leaders who know the times and the way that we should go. I encourage you to join us in that prayer. We’re going to be in five countries in the three weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. It’s a pretty busy time. I earnestly invite you to join us as a financial partner, as a prayer partner and to follow up with us with questions that you might have and watch for some of the updates that we’ll send out. Thank you and God bless.