God will, on occasion, interject a special scripture message into what would otherwise seem a boring repetitive list.
In the genealogy list of Genesis, God reveals Enoch, who walked with God and never died – God just “took him”. (Genesis 5:21-24)
In the genealogy lists of 1 Chronicles, God reveals Jabez, who, being more honorable than his brothers, had awesome prayers granted – blessings, divine protection and the enlargement of his territory. (1 Chronicles 4:9-10)
In the genealogy of Jesus, where tradition would require only fathers be listed, Matthew names five mothers – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary, each of whom adds a unique flavor to the heritage of our Lord. (Matthew 1:1-16)
And in the 1 Chronicles list of Israel’s tribes who gathered to make David their king, God describes a very important ability that was demonstrated by the tribe of Issachar. They had understanding of the times and knew what Israel needed to do.
Israel was in crisis. (2 Samuel 1-5) Their first king, Saul, had initially led them to victories over their enemies. But Saul failed to honor and obey God. The Philistines won a great battle, and Saul died.
The hero David returned from exile and was made king by his tribe of Judah. But the other eleven tribes of Israel were convinced to make Saul’s son, Ish-bosheth, their king. For seven years, there had been infighting and a divided nation unable to face the Philistines. Now Ish-bosheth had been killed, and these eleven tribes had a decision to make.
Scripture does not describe in detail the role that Issachar’s understanding and knowledge played in bringing the other ten tribes together to make David king, but we certainly know it was the right decision. United under King David’s godly leadership, Israel quickly defeated the Philistines and every enemy. Jerusalem was conquered and became the City of God. The Ark of the Covenant was brought there and placed in a tent with continuous worship and prayer. King David and his subjects would enter and experience the manifest Presence of God. The size, wealth and power of the kingdom exploded!
My friends, the United States is in crisis. In addition to a long list of existing problems, we face a future where the dark side of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, cyber warfare and human genetic engineering may take this crisis to unimaginable levels.
Our nation needs a “tribe” who understands the times and knows what needs to be done. The “tribe” I wish to address is the Body of Christ in our Upper East Tennessee / Southwest Virginia region.
We all see the problems. What we must understand and fully accept is that there is no political solution. There is no scientific solution. There is no philosophical solution. There is only a God solution, and that solution is called “revival”: the spiritual awakening of the Church.
We also need to understand what the Lord is already doing in our region to bring about this spiritual awakening.
For decades, small groups of people have been crying out to God. About twenty years ago, more community impact ministries began to arise as people stepped out of their sanctuaries.
“Celebrate Recovery”, Coalition for Kids in Johnson City, Of One Accord Ministries in Rogersville and, most recently, Shades of Grace in Kingsport are just four of many wonderful examples.
Now God has accelerated, birthing Adoration 2017 (now, Adoration 2018), the Will Graham Celebration, the Holy Friendship Summit (now, Holy Spirit Collaborative), the multi-week Bristol tent revival, and the still ongoing Greeneville tent revival. In every case, God is moving, the Body of Christ is uniting, the love and Lordship of Jesus is being lifted up, and people are being saved, healed and set free.
At the same time, more and more churches and groups are experiencing God’s presence as they initiate regular gatherings for intercessory prayer.
I know of no other region in the country where God is doing so many things with so many people in so many ways, and there is a reason for this. God wants to ignite an abiding revival in our region that He can use to model and ignite revival in America.
What all of us need to do is, “JOIN GOD IN WHAT HE IS DOING!” (John 5:19-20) If we are not part of the solution, we remain part of the problem. (Matthew 12:30)
Sign up for Adoration 2018. Take your Will Graham, Bristol or Greeneville revival experience and do something new with it. Engage in the Holy Friendship Collaborative or another community outreach. Join a prayer group or start a prayer group. Cry out for revival! And exhort your family and friends to do likewise.
2,000 years ago, Jerusalem missed the time of God’s visitation, and Jesus wept. (Luke 19:41-44). Let’s not repeat their mistake.
God bless you, and God bless our community.