Summary: How do we respond when a famine comes into our lives?
Show the video “Distraction”
Have you ever experienced a time in your life when you have followed God’s instruction only to have a situation arise that makes you question whether God spoke to you or you were following some elusive dream? I know I have. I have followed what I believed was God’s instructions and felt a peace about my journey. Then suddenly a challenge arises and I am questioning God as to why He allowed this circumstance to present itself.
Case in point. My desire to be in full time ministry began with prophetic words being spoken over me by those whom I trusted that they were hearing from the Holy Spirit. I burned inside to see this prophecy come about. But as I shared last week, I saw much more disaster than I saw results. I began to question those who prophesized. I began to question God. My life became filled with doubt much like Abram’s.
Abram was told to leave his native land and go to the land that God would show him. In obedience he did so taking his wife, Sarai, his nephew, Lot, whom he had adopted after Lot’s father died, and all his livestock and trained servants, which numbered over 300. God promised him a land mass that was about the size of New Jersey. There Abram traveled around and built two altars to worship God. Life was grand. His relationship with God was intimate. God had proven himself faithful.
Then the famine hit. Suddenly it was difficult to find grazing areas for his cattle. Suddenly he was faced with the challenge of caring for 300 + people. I wonder if he began to question God. Did he return to the altars he had built and seek the Lord? There is no indication that he did. In fact, he looked to Egypt.
“At that time a severe famine struck the land of Canaan, forcing Abram to go down to Egypt, where he lived as a foreigner.” (Genesis 12:10)
Lesson 1: What is the world forcing you to do?
Egypt is the ideal place. The Nile River courses throughout the land. This reliable source of water results in plentiful harvest and healthy livestock. Abram has undoubtedly heard of this wonderful place and he leaves behind his altars and his promise and turns to Egypt for the solution to his problem. The Bible says he was forced to go to Egypt but the word indicates that he felt there was no other choice.
As I stated last week we are on a journey as a church. For two and a half years, we have not faced a famine. When I became pastor, the church had a little over $3000 in the account. Today we have over $9000. God has provided for us beyond what I could envision.
However now in my personal life I face the challenge of looking to God to provide for me financially due to my retirement from my secular job. God called me to leave my native country of the “Bread Business” to go into this land of being able to pastor you full time. In doing so, my annual income will drop from $50,000 to $15,000. I want you to know I will be asking for some financial assistance from this body. However, I also want you to know that I do not expect this body to be able to cover the $35,000 difference. This body cannot afford to do so. Moreover, I will never allow anything to drain the finances of this body.
Nevertheless, if a famine comes I must look to the one who called me to this place and not to Egypt, not to the world. The world can look enticing with its easy credit and schemes. Too often, we find ourselves in a bind and stop seeking God but rather seek a financial institute. We feel we have more to gain by making payments to man than giving to God. I will not say that I will never join the work force again. I would do that above causing financial stress to this body. Above all else, I trust in God’s proven ability to provide.
Lesson 2: In Egypt you are a foreigner
It is extremely difficult to live in a foreign land. The closest I have ever come to doing so was in the Navy. Through some circumstances that I will not divulge I once found myself far from the naval base in Subic Bay, Philippines. I could not understand those around me. Briefly I could not find anyone who could understand me. I desired safety but found a sense of doom. I was frightened.
The Bible says we are no longer foreigners to God but citizens and members of God’s family. (Eph 2:19) Peter warns us as foreigners in this world to keep away from worldly desires. (1 Peter 2:11) When we enter Egypt we may be giving up the right to be called citizens of God’s family. When we participate in worldly desires we become citizens of Egypt.