The sons of Issachar, [were] men who understood the times.
–1 Chronicles 12:32
How are we to be living in light of the certain and soon coming of the Lord? As we look through Scripture, we find three qualities that ought to characterize every believer who is living in the last days.
First, the Bible says we are to be people of hope. It is easy to look at the world today and get discouraged. We see the very real threat of ISIS, we see Russia attacking our infrastructure, and we see the possibility of a nuclear Iran. There are many reasons to be concerned about the world situation. So how can we be people of hope given what’s happening in the world today? Our hope does not rest in Washington, D.C. Our hope is not found in any politician. Listen to what the psalmist said: “Now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You” (Psalm 39:7). Our hope is in the everlasting God. Romans 15:13 contains one of the most beautiful benedictions found in all Scripture. Paul closes, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” We serve the God of hope, and because of that we ought to abound in hope ourselves. Peter said, “Always [be] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Christians ought to be hopeful, optimistic people. We ought to be overflowing with hope.
Second, the Bible says we are to be people of insight. Tucked away in the Old Testament is a verse that describes how we ought to be living in times like these. You find it in 1 Chronicles 12:32, which describes “the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.” People who are living in the last times are people who understand the times. These sons of Issachar knew what was happening in their nation. They knew that there was a shift in the political winds. They understood the moral and spiritual climate of their nation. And we need to be the same way today. We need to have our finger on the pulse of what is happening in this country and in this world morally, spiritually, and politically. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Daniel 11:32, which says, “The people who know their God will display strength and take action.” God has called us not just to understand the times but to do something.
Third, the Bible says we are to be people of courage. God wants us to be fearless as we stand for him. Are you ready to stand for Him regardless of the cost? Persecution is coming. Are you ready for it? Sadly, most Christians aren’t. If they hear the possibility of suffering or persecution, then they run for the exits of the church. They hide under the bed. They are fearful of suffering. But Jesus said, “Get ready; persecution is coming.” Are you ready to suffer for Christ? People who are living in the last days need to be people of hope. We need to be people of insight. And we have to be people of courage.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How Should We Now Live?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.