- Verses 24-31 tell how many from each tribe came to join this army.
- Verse 32 talks about the sons of Issachar who understood the times and knew what to do. If you do not understand where you are, it will be very difficult to know what to do.
- Chronos (NT) — general time; a particular season where God is doing a particular thing in a particular way. Ex. There was a time in the late 40’s and 50’s where the healing evangelists were prevalent.
- Eth (OT) — a short window of time where something can be seized, stepped through, or done.
- Kairos (NT) — a specific, strategic, designed time; redeeming the time (Eph 5); a strategic time when something is supposed to happen; a now time; the best way to describe it and the water breaks meaning the baby is coming now; it’s a now time; when the baby is ready to be born, it cannot be rescheduled; there can be pain that accompanies this type of time.
- Another long Greek work—means the fullness of time; a particular era, dispensation; Gal 4, when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His son.
- It takes courage to step into something new.
- It takes courage to let go of something familiar and predictable and loved to do something different.
- It takes courage to say no to a good thing in order to say yes to a greater thing.
- It takes courage to trust God for future provision.
- It takes courage to attempt something you know could fail.
1 Chronicles 12:22, 23, 32: For at that time they came to David day by day to help him, until it was a great army, like the army of God. 23 Now these were the numbers of the divisions that were equipped for war, and came to David at Hebron to turn over the kingdom of Saul to him, according to the word of the LORD: …….32 of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command;
In this chapter, there is a shift coming to the kingdom from Saul to David. Verses 22 & 23 say that many came to David until he had a great army.
The prophet Daniel said that God changes the times and the seasons. The sons of Issachar understood the changing of the times. It is important that we also as the body of Christ understand the times in which we live.
Four words in the Bible (OT & NT) that deal with time:
It is a time of a lot of transition for a lot of people in the church and in the ministry. It’s a time when people are exiting assignments, eras, seasons. A lot of these exits are of God; some are not. Some people are just weary.
It is also a time of entering in. A lot of people are entering into new seasons. God is telling them to step up to the plate. Many are in transition; they have exited, but the new has not fully come. They are at an in-between place. For many, it is a time to stay faithful with what you are doing. Keep doing what you have been doing.
What should you to be doing at these different particular times in your life? What you are to do in your 50’s is different from what you were to do in your 30’s. Some people are discovering themselves, their gifts, their mantles. These would be people in the younger brackets. Some are in a place of re-discovering themselves; rebirthing ministry; rebirthing new beginnings.
One thing is for certain—you’re going to need help getting wherever you are going. There is no such thing as a self-made person. If you are successful, it’s because other people want you to be. It is vitally important that we help one another.
Joshua 1 is a time of transition in Israel that the Bible talks about. Moses had died; Joshua is now the new leader. He is called to continue the assignment, but it’s going to be different from the way Moses did it.
Moses’ shoes would be hard to fill. Three times in this chapter, God tells Joshua the same thing to calm his fears.
Josh 1:5-7No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
Josh 1:8, 9This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Josh 1:17-18 Just as we heeded Moses in all things, so we will heed you. Only the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses. 18 Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage."
One indispensable quality of leadership—not your gift, not your calling—is courage. I know a lot of gifted and called people that are not going anywhere. These things are important, but it is not enough. It is important to be called; it is important to be gifted. But these things in and of themselves are not enough to be established a leader. David was called; Moses was called—but their callings were not enough to establish their hearts to be in a leadership position.
Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is not even courage unless fear is present. It takes courage to go into an uncertain future, and fear will be your companion. You will never be able to eliminate fear—fear of failure; fear that it won’t work out; fear that they won’t accept the change; fear of rejection, etc. The key is that the courage must be stronger than the fear. Even as kids growing up, we learned that the person who was defined as the leader was the one who was willing to break out from the crowd and go and do things that the rest were afraid to do. After they did it, then the rest would follow and try the same thing.
A leader with courage is the one who decides to say and do publically what everyone else thinks, but will only say and do privately. Everyone may see what needs to be done, but a leader will be the first to act on it. Leaders must have the courage to be lonely, to be misunderstood, to be rejected, to be criticized, etc. Courage in a leader enables you to do these things.
A leader must have the courage to change a few things—first himself. You must be willing to change your organization. The stability and equilibrium of your organization can be a good thing, but they can also be deterrents to progress. To progress, you must change. You must be willing to change leadership positions around you. You must be willing to change styles and formats of ministry. In Christianity, the standards and the message are sacred—not the style. It’s amazing how many times the style seems to be what is sacred in a person’s ministry.
Howard Hendricks was a ministry leader in his 80’s. Another ministry asked him to come in to observe and suggest what they needed to do to help the church which was dwindling in numbers. He was showing them a few things that were easy to change, but they resisted. So he told them that they should put up a fence around their property and charge admission to show people how church was done in the 1950’s.
A leader must have courage to allow someone to speak into their life. A leader must have courage to have convictions to live by and stand upon. A leader must have courage to move forward with uncertainty.
1 Cor 16: 9 For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
As a leader you are called to lead people to places where you have never before and where they have never been before. You are asking them to let go of the known and embrace the unknown without any guarantee of success. That takes courage to do that. A leader must have courage to do what needs to be done.
I have found that it is not that leaders lack insight. Many times they see and understand what needs to be done. They just lack the courage to do it. We’ve all been there. Afraid. Cowering. Fearful. Afraid to release someone from a position because they have been so intertwined in something. We say we are praying about it, but in reality we are afraid to change it. Afraid of people’s emotions. But it takes courage to lead beyond that.
A leader must have courage to seize opportunities. A leader is not the first person to see an opportunity; they are just the first person to seize it. It takes courage to seize the thing that God is saying that you should do.
A leader must have courage to change. It takes courage to look at the landscape of the world, your ministry, your life with brutal honesty and then change what needs to be changed. It’s necessary to even look at people in positions of leadership with honesty and ask questions about change. To progress, we must change.
Years back, I was on a plan on my way to Colorado Springs. I was sitting next to an elderly man. He had been an elder in a church for over 30 years. I asked him about his journey. He started shaking and tearing up. He said: We as a ministry were stuck at 200 people for 25 years not able to get beyond those numbers. The leaders were starting to feel our years and wondering what we wanted to leave behind for the next generation. We wondered what the future was to hold for them. What could we pass off to the next generation? We took everything we were doing in ministry, everything that was sacred to us, and put it all on the altar – all of it. We began to pray and ask God to burn up everything that was not Him or that used to be Him but was no longer Him. It was probably the most painful time in our life without a doubt. I lost more people, lost more friends than I had in my whole life combined. But it was worth it. He said—yesterday, one of the other elders and I were in the hall of our church. The bell rang for worship service to start, and hundreds—hundreds of young people left their classrooms to go into the service. We looked at each other and both of us shed tears of joy to see what had happened.
The greatest hindrance to the present move of God is the methodology of the past move of God that still works a little bit today. Not a lot, but it works a little. It used to work great at one time, but not so much today. Systems unconsciously can conspire to keep the status quo.
As leaders, it requires courage to challenge what is for the sake of what could be and what should be.
Again, seeing the need for change does not establish a leader; the one who has the courage to act on the change—to remove a leader, to remove a program, etc.—is the one who is a leader. People will give you good will because they like you for a little bit. But to follow you for the long haul, they must respect you.
At times, leaders have to walk into the dark, where it is not clear, where you are not sure what to do. Darkness is usually seen as a negative. But I want you to look at darkness as the very stage of opportunity to establish you as a leader.
Darkness is not a demise or a demotion; it is an opportunity for promotion; an opportunity to establish you as a leader. My granddaughter at times will be afraid to walk in a dark part of the house. I will tell her that nothing is there. I assure her that it will be okay to walk through that dark place to get where she wants to go.
Fear can shut you down; it’s really emotional in nature. Fear can defy logic. When you are driving in the dark, you cannot see farther down the road unless you keep driving. If you stop, you can see so far. To see farther, you must continue to move in the darkness.
It takes courage to move forward with uncertainty. There are times when you know you need to do something, but when it actually comes to doing it, you become shaky and fearful about it.
I have heard it said that “fear not” is mentioned 365 times in the Bible.
As a leader I can live with the prospect of having tried and failed rather than not having tried at all. The average person fears on stepping out. The average leader fears on missing out.
Failure is part of success and learning; it’s a necessary chapter of your life that needs to be written. Fear of failure is a big reason for people not stepping out to do something new.
IT TAKES COURAGE
Look at what courage did for Joshua. Three time God told Joshua to be strong and of good courage.
Josh 1:10-11 Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, 11 "Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, 'Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you to possess.'"
Joshua commanded his leaders.
In Chapter 2, he sends out 2 spies. Notice what happened. He did not have much military experience to speak of; they knew that there were huge cities with major fortresses and giants; and at that point he had no strategy as to how he would defeat his enemy. You cannot let the ‘how’ paralyze you from doing what you know you must do. Joshua did not know how he would do it. He just knew that God told him to do.
Josh 3:1, 6, 7 Then Joshua rose early in the morning; and they set out from Acacia Grove and came to the Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they crossed over….6 Then Joshua spoke to the priests, saying, "Take up the ark of the covenant and cross over before the people." So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.
7 And the LORD said to Joshua, "This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
What day did that happen? It happened on the day that God acted upon what God had said. In that day, he was established as the leader. Not when he was called, not because he had a gifting. It was when he had the courage to do what God had told him to do—that was when his leadership was established.
Here are the successful things that happened after Joshua took that first step. Miraculous things began to happen.
Josh 3:13, 15, 16 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests who bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, that the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off, the waters that come down from upstream, and they shall stand as a heap." …..15 and as those who bore the ark came to the Jordan, and the feet of the priests who bore the ark dipped in the edge of the water (for the Jordan overflows all its banks during the whole time of harvest), 16 that the waters which came down from upstream stood still, and rose in a heap very far away at Adam, the city that is beside Zaretan. So the waters that went down into the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, failed, and were cut off; and the people crossed over opposite Jericho. 17 Then the priests who bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan; and all Israel crossed over on dry ground, until all the people had crossed completely over the Jordan.
Courage established Joshua as a leader.
Josh 4:14 On that day the LORD exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they had feared Moses, all the days of his life.
Joshua’s courage to act released Divine strategy into his spirit.
Josh 6:1-5 Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. 2 And the LORD said to Joshua: "See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor. 3 You shall march around the city, all you men of war; you shall go all around the city once. This you shall do six days. 4 And seven priests shall bear seven trumpets of rams' horns before the ark. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 It shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, that all the people shall shout with a great shout; then the wall of the city will fall down flat. And the people shall go up every man straight before him."
He became more concerned with what to do; the how-to-do-it was released into him.
An opportunity to express courage comes with God’s schedule. Fear was paralyzing a nation. When David went to the battlefield, he wasn’t looking to fight. He was just taking food for his brothers. Opportunity presented itself; Goliath had to be taken down. David had killed a lion and a bear and he was confident he could take out Goliath.
The battles you fight now are preparing you for future battles. Risk and courage is not just mindless decision making. In 1 Sam 17:40, it says that David carefully chose five smooth stones. Why smooth? Smooth stones are more likely to hit their target than jagged ones. David was not careless with his decision. He wasn’t careless when he killed the lion and the bear.
It takes courage for a man or woman to go into battle, but they cannot be careless about it.
|Being Careful||Being Fearful|
|Cerebral; thinking things through||Emotion|
|Fueled by information||Fueled by imagination|
|Calculates the risk||Avoids risk|
|Counts the cost|
|Wants to achieve success||Wants to avoid failure|
|Concerned about progress||Concerned about protection|
We see in Joshua and in David that decisions made in a time of darkness turned the tide for Israel. I heard a story about a man who became an associate pastor over a large church. The people loved him, but the elders and deacons hated him. They were having meetings about him. It was church politics at its worst. In one meeting, one particular elder stood up and railed against this pastor. But then this elder cussed while in the pulpit. This associate pastor had enough. He interrupted the man, went to the pulpit telling him, “You guys can do whatever you want, but you’re not going to cuss in the pulpit.” The man fired back at him saying, “You’d better watch it or you’re liable to get jacked,” and then turned around and punched the pastor in the jaw. But that pastor looked at him and said, “You know what? We’re still not going to cuss.” And that turned the tide of the whole church. In a few weeks, all of those elders and deacons were gone, all the hindrances were removed, and he was put in as senior pastor. This happened because he took courage in an atmosphere of fear.
In an atmosphere of fear, there is the greatest opportunity for you to be established as the leader in the hearts of people and ministry. Why is there fear? Because, it may not work out. Because you may suffer loss.
THREE EXPRESSIONS OF COURAGE
1. The courage to say no.
Opportunity does not always equal obligation. You are not always obligated to seize every opportunity. “Good to Great”—a good book. As important as a to-do list is, more important is a stop-do list. However, if the horse is dead, dismount. Ask yourself: If I had to do it over again, with what I know now, would I put that person in that position. If the answer is ‘no’, why would I keep them in it? Ask yourself: If I had to do it over again, with what I know now, would I keep that program? If the answer is ‘no’, why would you keep it now?
2. The courage to face current reality.
Someone who refuses reality is living in denial. The temptation as leaders is to put a positive spin on everything we do, regardless of the evidence. It is what it is; it isn’t what it’s not. It’s sometimes painful to look at current reality. It’s easy to surround yourself with people who are always stroking you—you’re so wonderful, etc.
We don’t want to face reality because it’s discouraging, embarrassing, and it’s disappointing. Too often we know it’s there, but we don’t want to think about it. We must be relentless in our quest to know the truth of what is going on around us.
Good decision making can only be made by having as much reality as possible. If you do not have a leader speaking reality into your life, things will not ever get totally fixed. It takes relationship to speak current reality into someone’s life and to safely receive current reality spoken into your life.
I have noticed that when I start to speak current reality into a leader’s life, they tend to draw back and isolate themselves. I know of a man who pastors a successful church in another state who is was recently put in jail for sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy he was counseling in the church. He lost his church, his marriage, and his family. What a tragedy it was for that church and that community. But how did he get to that point? Did he have anyone who would speak into his life? Did he allow anyone to speak into his life? I knew this person. He had no one speaking into his life.
We all need someone to talk to us about current reality. Someone who will tell you that you’re prideful; you’re angry; you’re disorganized. We need people to say those things in our lives without our being offended and without our becoming defensive.
God will shine His light upon us through personal revelation. He will also shine His light upon us by sending someone to intervene. You need covering for encouragement and support. But you also need covering to prevent you from a crisis or a fall-out.
It takes courage to open your life up to allow people to speak into your current reality because it is painful. During WW II, Winston Churchill set up a statistical office. The purpose was to get the brutal facts about what was actually taking place in the war. He put this office outside of the chain of the generals because he recognized that he could make good decisions without accurate and painful information. During wartime, it is a time of great promotion. And it was common for leaders to report that they were doing better than they really were. Churchill wanted to know the brutal facts, where they really were—not where they wanted to be, but where they really were. In a time of war, accurate information is vital the seven commandments of current reality:
- Thou shalt not pretend.
- Thou shalt not turn a blind eye.
- Thou shalt not exaggerate.
- Thou shalt not shoot the bearer of bad news.
- Thou shalt not hide behind another.
- Thou shalt not avoid constructive criticism.
- Thou shalt not isolate yourself.
3. The courage to dream.
Don’t let how get in the way of pursuing what. Be strong and of good courage. As God was with Moses; as God was with Joshua; as God was with David; that same God is with you in your hour. I would rather fail at attempting a great thing than succeed at attempting nothing.
Fear will be your companion; just don’t let it be your guide. You can be whatever God has call you to be; you can do whatever God has called you to do.