I was reading in 1 Chronicles recently. The beginning of this particular bible book can be a bit mind-numbing. It lists all kinds of genealogies of who was born where and when. It has lists of who did what. In the middle of all of this detail there was a verse that jumped out at me. In chapter 12 the author is simply listing many of the people who joined David at the beginning of his reign. Saul has just died and he had been Israel's first king. He had not left the kingdom in all that great a shape. David has been crowned king, but not king of all Israel. Only a small portion. Yet over the first few years, more and more people began to defect to David. The author is detailing all of this and listing thousands of warriors, different tribes, and then right in the middle, in v32, the author says this about some men who came from a specific tribe in Israel. “. . . from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command.”
Among all these thousands who came, there were 200 leaders who understood the times. These men understood the world around them. They understood the history of their country and knew what had happened. They knew the spiritual condition and requirements of the people. They understood what was at stake with David. They knew what damage Saul had caused. They knew about the nation’s enemies. They saw the big picture.
But it was more than this because these leaders also knew what Israel should do. They knew that action was required. They understood that steps had to be taken to go to the next level. They knew that together they could do more than fragmented. They knew that making David king would bring the country towards unity, bring strength to the people and protect them against future problems. They were willing to live based on their convictions. They knew there was a bigger purpose to pursue.
I wonder if it would be good for us to consider these two things. The stakes are always bigger than our ministry, group or our own life. We are part of God’s kingdom. He has bigger plans and we miss this when we get bogged down in our preferences, our problems and our own little view of the world. It helps us when we realize that what we do is part of a bigger picture. It helps us put aside petty and unimportant things to pursue a bigger purpose with others. It helps us to boldly go where God leads and do with confidence what God calls us into. When we do this, a small number of people can make an enormous difference. May this characterize your life!
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