As the Church watches and prays, we will increasingly be made aware of the dangers, both spiritual and physical, that are coming upon our land. That awareness will cause us to take up the trumpet. Blowing the trumpet is a picture of warning people of danger. Look at some of the Old Testament passages that speak of this task:
“Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.” (Isa. 58:1)
“Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the Lord because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law.” (Hos. 8:1)
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly.” (Joel 2:15)
Many will look at these passages in frustration, realizing they do not have the means or voice to warn a nation. But you can give warning where you are. You can speak to those in your sphere of influence about what you are seeing and what you believe the Lord is saying in our nation. It might be quiet conversations with neighbors or posts online to those whom you know and care about. Giving warning of coming danger does not always mean standing in the street and shouting. For most of us, it is lovingly letting others know what you believe is happening and how to prepare for that spiritually and maybe even physically.
Men of the tribe of Issachar in the Old Testament were described as those who understood the times and knew what Israel must do (see 1 Chron. 12:32). That is our role today. Understanding the times, but not leaving it at just understanding. It is also knowing what the people of God must do during those times. Perhaps a very practical prayer for the Church today is that God would make us as the sons of Issachar, understanding the times and knowing how to live in those times.
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Though God certainly can demonstrate His perspective to us without any sort of human input, my strong suggestion is that He works more often through knowledge than through lack of knowledge. By this I mean, we will be more likely to gain clarity about what God thinks if we are carefully and closely watching what is already happening in the world. When a working knowledge of world or national events is wed with the Spirit of God, the result is always more understanding.
Rather than watching the news or reading the newspaper and shaking your head over bad events, why not add a prayer for discernment to your watching and reading? As world events unfold, instead of submitting to despair or anger, seek the Lord’s insight over what is occurring. The result will be an understanding of the times in which we live.
The biblical text, however, does not end with the men of Issachar merely understanding the times. They also knew what Israel should do. This adds wisdom to knowledge. Knowing information is one thing. Having the wisdom to know what to do with that knowledge is immensely valuable.
We live in troubled times where there is little understanding of the times. There is probably even less wisdom to know how to deal with those times. How should the people of God live in these days? What sort of direction should the church take in the midst of the confusion of our days? If we as the people of God do not even know who we are or where we are going, how can we speak with a strong prophetic voice to our society?
Jesus gave signs to help us understand where we are in the flow of history. These were not so much given as a prediction, but as awareness and a call to prayer and action. The entire chapters of Matthew 24-25 are signs, both of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, as well as of his coming. The tendency of so many Christians is to blithely say, “Well, no one knows the day or hour so I’m not going to spend any time on that.” That attitude somehow assumes that Jesus gave signs for no good reason.
It’s not for prediction, but preparedness. Paul clearly teaches us, “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober” (1 Thess. 5:4-6).
Whether it is end times events that we face, or remedial judgments for our national sins, the watchman Church must not be unaware. The call is to watch and pray.
Lord, please help me to understand the times in which I live. May I not be dependent upon others’ opinions but always seek after Your accurate perspective of what is happening in my world. Give me wisdom in this hour so that I will not lack courage to speak up and sound the alarm. Help me to be awake and sober-minded to answer Your call to “watch and pray.”
–Adapted from With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America by David Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God that your sighing is not hidden from him (Ps. 38:9). Give thanks that you can cast all your care on him because he cares for you (1 Pet. 5:7). Confess to God the many times you worry, are fearful, or trust in something other than God (Ps. 37:5-6). Commit yourself to daily food from God’s Word and time with him in prayer. Ask God for victorious faith that overcomes the world (1 Jn. 5:4).
Pray that your church will be living proof of the fact that God fulfills the desires of those who fear him (Ps. 145:19).
PRAY FOR THE NATION RESOURCE: Pray into America’s Future! Most Christians believe that much prayer is needed for our nation. But most don’t know how to pray in an effective way that will release the power of God on behalf of our nation. Weaving together Scriptures and stories from America’s past, With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America by David Butts confronts our current situation and provides hope for our future. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.