Issachar

It’s more than 230 days before the 2010 national and local elections. But it seems things are heating up. Even my Facebook page is getting flooded with posts campaigning for this or that presidentiable! In fact, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches recently came up with guidelines should a church decide to be partisan (that is, endorsing or campaigning for a certain candidate) or non-partisan (engaging in voter’s education without endorsing anyone in particular) for this coming elections. (In case you are asking, our church will remain non-partisan.)

In the midst of all these I believe we should be like the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32, NIV). Though very few in number, “They were men of great skill above any of their neighbours” (Source: Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible). Dubbed as “weather-wise,” they knew the right time to plant and to harvest. Deuteronomy 33:19 tells us that “They will summon peoples to the mountain and there offer sacrifices of righteousness”. That means that they also knew “the ceremonial times, the times appointed for the solemn feasts”. Lastly, “they understood public affairs, the temper of the nation, and the tendencies of the present events.” These were opinion makers. Thus there is such a dire need that we become like them!

In the coming elections, we must focus on pressing issues rather than political personalities.
We must sift through everything we hear or see nowadays to detect whether it is factual or mere propaganda. Does it really give us the information we need to know about a candidate and what he stands for or is it just a sleek infomercial? One area that we need to be discerning is how we handle surveys. Though a good marketing tool, surveys are not Gospel truths. They just reflect people’s preferences from a certain segment at a given time. We should always ask where they got the sampling for the survey, how they conducted it and how scientifically they interpreted the responses. Personally, I am always wary of candidates who would trumpet survey results as if they already won the elections. It is too early at this time to conclude anything at all. Popularity is at best fickle. What we could do now is to carefully weigh the qualifications, the track record and the issues the presidential wannabe got involved with. That way we can make a wise, informed choice the day we cast our votes.

Brethren, let us be like the men of Issachar.

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