READ: 1 Chronicles 11-13
THINK: Look around. What's going on? Do you understand it? As a follower of Jesus, do you know how to respond to cultural issues and obstacles, while influencing others for Him? The men of Issachar had an ability that's vital for Christians today. They understood the times and knew what God's people should do. This ability doesn't come by experiencing or experimenting with worldly ways in order to relate. Rather, it develops by learning to listen to God and relying on Him for discernment regarding what's appropriate in any given situation. Do you desire to cooperate with God and inspire others with a clear vision of His plans through uncertainty or change? Then know God's Word, reflect Christ's character, recognize the voice of His Spirit and be alert to what He wants to do through you.
RESPOND: How does this account of David compare with the one in 2 Samuel? What aspects of David's reign does 1 Chronicles focus on and why? (See 11:1 first note.) Why did the Jewish community who originally received these Chronicles need encouragement? (See 11:1 first note, subpoint 2.) What was "the fortress of Zion" David captured, and why is it significant in Israel's history? (See 11:5 note and article on The City of Jerusalem, p. 518 in the FBSE.) Why did David become "more and more powerful" (11:9)? Why do godly leaders need strong support (11:10), and how can they get it? Why do you think David's men were so committed to him? Why did David refuse to drink the water that his men risked their lives to get him, and what does this reveal about David's character (11:17-19)? Why do you think David's "mighty men" were able to accomplish such great victories? What ability did the men of Issachar have, and why is that ability vital for God's people, particularly in times of uncertainty or change? (See 12:32 note.) How can we develop this type of insight and discernment?
PRAY: Give God thanks for working out His plan of spiritual salvation throughout history. Thank Him for His constant presence and encouragement. Ask God to help you be a support and encouragement to your leaders. Pray for understanding and discernment regarding what God wants to do through you and your church at this time.
ACT: Do something practical to support or encourage one of your leaders. Call or stop by and see if there is a task you can take care of that would help him or her in their personal life of ministry. Make it a point all day to do and say things that will encourage others. Also, is there something you've dreamed of accomplishing for God that could only be done through His power? Take a bold step and trust God to use you as one of His mighty men or women.
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