Summary: Sometimes times of famine hits nations, cities and families. Though anything we have experienced in USA in recent days appears miniscule in comparison to history, the time is always coming for difficult financial times.
IN TIMES OF FAMINE
Genesis 26 begins with the pronouncement “Now there was famine in the land besides the previous famine that occurred in the days of Abraham.” The second verse goes on to say, “The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, ‘Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.”
There are a lot of similarities between the starving time of Isaac and current long recession our nation is going through. I read the tragedies in scripture that made hard working shepherds crawl on their bellies searching for food; then read the daily newspapers about increasing unemployment rates and business closings. Whether the downtrodden economy involves starving sheep or the closing of Circuit City, I believe the Bible gives wisdom to us on how to endure times such as these.
The first point is that when we suffer through a horrible ordeal, it may not be the best wisdom to escape, for there may not be an “Egypt we can go down to.” Is your business in trouble? Is your wife about to leave? Are your children so disobedient that rules seem to be transparent? Does your boss remind you of Nero? Our natural tendency is to flee to a place that apparently gives us greater opportunity—only to find out later we would have been better off remaining exactly where we are. Unbelief asks the question “how” can I get out of this? But faith asks “what” can I get out of this?
Secondly, I believe this passage indicates to those who walk with the Lord that He will be with us. But as we examine the promise “He will never leave us nor forsake us” that is mirrored in these verses, do we check our own hearts to determine if we have forsaken the Lord? When we continue reading Genesis 26, Isaac moves away, puts his wife and family at risk, and even lies about his own relationship with his wife in order to save his own hind. I am never ceased to be amazed at how one man’s sin can have such a dramatic difference in the lives of those closest to him. Friends, during times of great challenges, we must resist the urge of fearing man over fearing God. Our commitment to the Lord and our local church body should be unwavering during times such as these, otherwise we risk like Isaac putting our destinies into the hands of men who neither care about our future nor the lives we have been ordained by God to impact.
Finally, we need a complete understanding of what it means to be blessed by God. The fact is being sustained by God through tough times is a blessing. And in all reality it is more of a blessing than big houses or fast cars ever could be. Anybody who has ever been given peace through a possibly fatal illness of a child, an unplanned death of a close friend, or even the massive jolt delivered by a loved one who abandoned their marital vows in exchange for a temporarily feeling, knows what it is like to completely rely upon the Lord. This peace, given by God, is considered a blessing. And it is exactly the blessing God was promising Isaac if he would remain faithful and due exactly what the Lord was telling him. But Isaac did not.
How about us? Is our walk with the Lord equipped to handle the famine in the land? As the local news announces company after company that may go under and business after business laying people off by the thousands, are we ready to raise up our banner of trusting in the Lord and keep our oath of personal salvation as strong as ever? Fully relying on God is the first step for all of us.