This chapter lists the numbers of men from each of the tribes of Israel who cast their lot with David in his conflict with King Saul. All these numbers are given except those of Issachar, but of these it was said that all their brethren followed their 200 leaders in turning to David. The reason for their unanimity in this decision was that these leaders “had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” It was time to “turn the kingdom” to David, “according to the word of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 12:23). God had given them a Benjamite, Saul, as king for a time, but now David had been anointed, and it was the time to give “the sceptre” to Judah, according to the prophecy of their father, Jacob, given over 600 years before (Genesis 49:10).
How desperately we need leaders today who are spiritual “sons of Issachar,” understanding these times! Christ told the apostles: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:7); it was more urgent that they proceed to witness for Him “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (v. 8).
Nevertheless, He would return to the earth in some generation, and that generation should be expected (when they would see all these things) to “know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33). They could understand the signs, and even though they should never attempt to guess the date, they could “look up, . . . for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28), when they would see “these things begin to come to pass.”
The signs are everywhere, yet few of our leaders—Christian politicians included—seem to understand the real meaning of these times. Christ is “even at the doors!” HMM