Famine and Fortune

Genesis 26: 1, 12

Now there was a famine in the land. Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the Lord blessed him.

I have been thinking about the economic aspect of this corona virus problem and wanting to write on it. This passage has been running through my mind for a couple of weeks now. It has everything to do with our current economic situation. However, this story about Isaac is one of the Biblical passages which can leave you scratching your head.

When Isaac was confronted with a famine, he thought about going to Egypt, but the Lord told him to stay in a town called Gerar, and Isaac did. So, the first thing we learn from this passage is obedience.

Here is the second observation. Isaac, though facing a famine, did not hoard his seed. He didn’t put everything in storage, saved against the effects of the famine. He did quite the opposite. He sowed. Now how is this resonating for our current situation? Wouldn’t it be the easiest thing in the world to hoard all your resources. Aren’t you tempted to stop tithing? You know, some people have. I honestly believe that the better thing to do is to give more. That’s crazy sounding but how is any crop going to come up if we don’t sow?

The last thing we see in this story is that Isaac reaped a hundredfold in the very same year. I am saying that these couple of verses are a message for us today and that if we trust in the Lord, we, too, can reap in this very economically challenging time.

Isaac prospered in a time when it made no sense that anyone could. And this is why this passage leaves me scratching my head, could it work for us too? And if so, what is required? Well, apparently it only works for those who: trust God, obey Him, and sow. I would add that belief is part of that trust component. This only works for those who believe. So here is the problem with testing this theory. If you believe it won’t work, you’re right! If you believe it will work, it will. What do you think?

I think this is a message from the Father to all of us. I believe He is telling us to look to Him as our source of income, blessing and harvest. I think about what Jesus said about the birds of the air. They neither reap nor sow and yet our Father takes care of them (Matthew 6: 26). What will it take from us to receive God’s bounty during this famine? How can we be like Isaac? Can I even hear what God is telling me to do?

I have a friend whose salary has been reduced by ten percent and yet she said she is not going to reduce her tithe? What? That made an impression on me. I want to be an Isaac in this land. I want us to learn how to trust God so that the famine does not defeat us but that we, instead, reap a hundredfold in this very same year. I want God to show up and show off by blessing the socks off of believers. Tell us Lord, what to do and we will obey.

Okay, now do your part. Listen for the voice of the Lord. He is speaking to you. Listen attentively. Second, obey. Yep, that word that no one seems to like these days. Third, trust the Lord and believe that what He did for Isaac, He will do for you. Sow and then gather in your harvest. I am praying that you will increase during this strained economic time and that you will look back and see how the Lord walked with you continually.

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Savings Plan

Genesis 41: 29 – 30

“Behold, seven years of great abundance are coming in all the land of Egypt; and after them seven years of famine will come, and all the abundance will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will ravage the land.”

Do you have a savings plan? What is your philosophy on saving? I have always thought tithe 10% and save 10% but here is an interesting perspective from scripture.

After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams as above, he went on to advise Pharaoh. Joseph told Pharaoh to “look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance” (v. 33 – 34).

As you know, Pharaoh appointed Joseph to be this overseer and there was no one in all of Egypt with more power, position and authority than Joseph save Pharaoh himself. Joseph collected 1/5 of all that was produced during the abundant years and stored it for the coming famine years. When the famine came it was as severe as the dreams predicted. If not for Joseph’s savings plan, the years of famine would have completely swallowed up the years of abundance.

Isaac, in the time of famine, sowed and reaped a hundredfold in that same year (Genesis 26:12). This is one of the reasons I believe in tithing, even in the lean times. We know from other scripture that the tithe is 10 percent. So if you take this and combine it with the wisdom God gave Joseph you come out with: tithe ten percent and save twenty percent.  that is pretty aggressive, specially by today’s standards.  My advice with tithing and saving is, do it.  If you really can’t do these percentages now, just begin somewhere.  You know, you can pray to your Father and He may tell you to save ten percent.  That is between you two but I firmly believe He would have you on a savings plan and only an idiot would say that God does not expect you to tithe.

Our confidence must still be placed firmly in the Lord, not in our savings account. We need to follow His wisdom for our lives but He is not a God of foolishness. He is the God of the harvest. There is no harvest, however, without first the season of sowing. Further, every good farmer knows that you don’t eat all of your harvest. You must set aside part of the crop as seed for next year’s crop.

Let this example of an anointed man of God inspire you but also go to God for specific instruction for your life. Then develop your savings and giving plan according to God’s specifications. Allow Him to lead you in abundance so that you can avoid times of famine.