from Issachar, men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do—200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command (1 Chr 12:32)

If you look to the horizon and see dark, billowing storm clouds forming, you know to grab your umbrella before leaving the house. If you’re leaving for a vacation, the weather forecast allows you to look ahead so you know how to pack.  You don’t need much wisdom to read the signs.  Even the Pharisees could read the signs of the weather, but Jesus considered them absolutely clueless in reading the obvious signs of the times (Matt 16:1-3).

But when we seek out the hidden signs, the Holy Spirit reveals to us what we should do and the best time to do it.  Now we’re entering Issachar territory.  It’s no surprise that David wanted the sons of Issachar hanging around him.  They were keenly aware of God’s history with Israel and His promises for the future, which allowed them to perceive current and future conditions.  They did not simply mark time.  They correctly discerned time’s effect to this present world, or changing seasons. As a result, they were able to craft appropriate and effective strategies.

They kept abreast of everything that was going on, but their minds were not easily changed by the popular belief of the day.  I can imagine the sons of Issachar today watching a viral news story.  They wouldn’t yield to the fear or anger of a super-charged story attempting to steal their focus.  They would have noted patterns throughout recent history; identified the context surrounding the event; and most importantly, listened to God’s promises and prophetic words about the event.  I can hear them asking the Lord, “What do you have to say about this?”

Early Encounters with the Anointing

I remember one of my first encounters with this Issachar anointing.  Years ago, I was in Pakistan for a healing festival.  Throughout the week, I met with members of the persecuted church and felt their brokenness.  Some of these people had never heard the message of the Gospel, while others heard a version of Christianity that mis-represented Jesus.

_MG_9215One night, a woman opened the facial covering of her burka to speak with me.  She said that she had prayed that night, received the love of Jesus, and was even healed! I felt so excited; but in that next moment, she asked me a question that would shift my perspective forever.

“How long have you known about this Jesus?”

I asked for clarification through our interpreter, not understanding her point.

“Why didn’t you come earlier?” She looked heartbroken as she explained that her husband and son had both died years earlier without hearing about Jesus.  She said her village had never heard the message either.

The Issachar anointing helped me to understand the weight of this question.  Wisdom caused a shift in my understanding of the love God had toward them.  It also created a shifting season in my own life.  In the first article in this new blog series, I discussed the “us vs. them” mentality I used to operate under.  I believed my message, my lifestyle, was better than theirs. But in that moment, I started to realize that the problem in the worst parts of the world is not the presence of darkness.  People do not want to live in darkness.  Rather, they had not yet experienced His light and love.  Nobody had come to give it away.

When understanding came, I started to value what I understood.  And when I had value, I was able to steward it.  Then I could multiply it.  And through this process, my authority is expanding.  My worldview shifted that day.  Wow, I need to understand more so I can know what to do.  Sometimes understanding will manifest as love or power (for more on that, check out my e-Courses).  But I was now on a quest to pursue wisdom in connection with love and power.

The Wisdom to change a Worldview

In years past, we’ve seen movements that are focused on numbers.  How many people got saved today? Yet there were many issues with these movements—even killings in some parts of the world—because wisdom was not involved.  When we invite wisdom, we focus not only on love and power, but on understanding the culture we’re operating in; knowing the context; building family and seeing where they come from; and honoring regardless of one’s belief or worldview.

I started to see things differently when I went into their villages; when I loved on families; and even when I was smuggled by car into Taliban territory, hearing all the explosions going off around me.  Three key areas of my life shifted after that trip.

〉My priority shifted. I realized that there are some 1.7 billion people in this world who need the “cure for cancer.”  These people have lived their entire lives without hearing the Gospel, and I carried the cure.

〉My time, talent, and treasure shifted. At that time, we as a church had a $100 dollar bill, figuratively speaking.  $95 of that bill was going to the people who are already healed. That leaves $5 for the sick. Then $4.50 of that is going toward the people who have said no many times before.  That leaves $.50 for people who have never heard the Gospel. I wondered, Why is there only one doctor for every 380,000 sick people? I wanted to change that.

〉My biases shifted.  I repented from having a prejudiced view against the people I was meant to love.  I also repented from my frustration with the church over its inward focus, as I perceived it—the condition of the parking lot, the lighting, how I’m going to get fed today—instead of taking the medicine to the sick.

All of this led to my love message.  We can’t whip people into the shape we believe they should be in.  Once I see the Father’s heart and love myself, duty is no longer my motivation.  The Issachar anointing is about capturing the Father’s heart for these people, whatever the cost.

It’s about seeing the promises over the problems.  The reason the enemy has kept certain areas of the world under such a dark cloud is because of what the Father wants to do in those areas.  Imagine the area of your life or the world that seems darkest to you today.  Then ask the Lord, “How do you see this area? What is your plan and promise for this area?”

God is drawing out leaders who are impressed by simply making Jesus Christ famous.  Leaders who can discern the times and seasons.  The modern-day Elishas.

What are your Issachar moments in life? I would love to hear in the comments!