Understanding the Times (Part 3)


“Of the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do, their chiefs were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their command.” I Chronicles 12:32 (NIV)

Hello there! This post is the third part of a series by the same title that I previously shared on my personal blog. You can read the first two posts, Understanding the Times and Understanding the Times (2), on my site: toyintaiwo.com. Now, on to the subject matter.

I had established from Scriptures that there is an appointed time for every purpose on earth, and there is a proper procedure for every purpose we set our hearts on. The reason many people’s lives are full of misery is that they do not recognize the right time and procedure for various activities in their lives. Hence, they take decisions that are not aligned with God’s agenda for their lives. Conversely, some people’s misery is the reason they miss the right time and procedure. They come under pressure to take wrong decisions and actions, thus stepping out of tune with God’s plan for them.

In I Samuel 13, Saul came under pressure to offer a burnt offering to God – something that was not his job to do – because the people were scattering away from him. That was the point when Samuel prophesied the truncation of his kingdom, all because he missed the proper time and procedure for the sacrifice. In Luke 19:42-44, Jesus prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, and mentioned clearly that all this would happen because Israel did not know the time of their visitation. The Saviour had come but they rejected him; they wanted a different kind of Messiah.

This leads us to an important point: your ability to discern the right time and procedure for every purpose in your life is tied strongly to your mindset. Those who accurately discern the times are not moved by external circumstances. They are also open-minded to the different ways God works so long as Scriptures are not contradicted. If Saul had focused on pleasing God, and not losing the people’s allegiance, he would not have fallen out of favour with God who crowned him king. If Israel had embraced their Saviour, perhaps Jerusalem would not have been destroyed.

What else interests me greatly is God’s wisdom in restoring the times. People can miss their time or bungle their purpose by doing things wrongly at the right time, but God’s wisdom can restore times by opening another opportunity to fulfill same purpose. We call this ‘a second chance’. The divine creativity in sometimes opening doors of opportunities from our mistakes and failures is amazing! Almost as if God knew you would make a mistake. While God does not know what we will do, He knows what we can do, and is always prepared to re-route us back to destiny when go off track.

When we commit to discerning the times like the Sons of Issachar, we may make mistakes because of our human frailty: external distractions or internal biases. But we must never give up trying to discern the correct time and procedure for every activity in life. Wise people grow by consistency of efforts and learning from others. Today I challenge you to quieten your mind, listen to God and broaden your knowledge through extensive reading. Knowing what to do per time is a priceless gift in life, and those who possess it stand out in their endeavours.

I pray your eyes and ears will be open to see what God expects of you at this time, and your mind will be equipped with wisdom to do it with precision in Jesus name. Amen.

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  1. Sir, this you shared is a topic that most people find very difficult to grasp especially when it has to do with making decisions to venture into a course (ministry, business,marriage, to mention a few). Learning to understand the times is what made Daniel sought the face of the Lord for the deliverance of Jerusalem from desolation, as the Lord had revealed to Prophet Jeremiah. Daniel 9:1-27.
    The question is, how best can individuals understand the time without misinterpreting the voice of self-motivation (for instance a goal getter or risk taker, who often will say I can do all things through Christ…..and sees every opportunity as open door) as the Voice of God?

    1. Very good question sir. As we see in Daniel’s case, he was responding to a written prophecy in interceding for Israel. So the first guide is to spend a lot of time reading God’s word.

      More specifically, our discernment becomes more accurate when we spend time praying and studying God’s word regularly. Also, we must be open minded to know God’s will, and not just bring our thoughts or ideas for God to confirm. This is the greatest risk we have in trying to know God’s will: when we already have ideas before coming to the altar of prayer.

      Ideas birthed in prayer (and fasting) are more likely to be inspired by God than those that came as suggestions from friends or society. So, we must watch the source of our ideas. Above all, we need God’s mercy to remain accurate in discernment.

      1. Thank you Sir for sharing further insight on this. A point you mentioned now resonates deeply in me; and it is worthy of note. I believe we all should lay it to heart to ensure we not guilty on this: “This is the greatest risk we have in trying to know God’s will: when we already have ideas before coming to the altar of prayer.” Very well said Sir.
        More grace for revelation and insight, on you in Jesus name.

  2. Thank you for sharing this Sir. The wisdom of this age and personal agenda (time) are major contentions that make many Christians put God’s timing off. From my experience, the best and most rewarding decisions of my life are made when I quieten my spirit and let him be the guide. Ephesians 1:18 is an hallmark prayer in this regard.

    1. Absolutely! Learning to quieten our spirits before God will help us be more sensitive and receptive to God’s guidance.

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