#115 "Feast or Famine"
October 2, 2007
"Now there was a famine in the land--besides the earlier famine of Abraham's time--and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him." (Genesis 26: 1, 12)
If you take up residence in the state of Michigan, you woke up Monday morning to the headlines, "Midnight Shutdown". That would be the government of our Great Lakes state. By the time you read this, agreements may have been made, bills passed, everything may be up and running..or not. For days there has been a flurry of activity over a balanced budget. An increase to our income tax has been approved as well as a sales tax on 23 different services. Folks already struggling in their finances, in a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, are understandably shaken. More money will come from pockets already turned inside out and empty. People are angry. Divided. Panicked over what will happen next. How are believers in Jesus Christ supposed to respond at a time like this? Let's look at Genesis, Chapter 26.
There was a famine in Canaan. Isaac's father, Abraham was dead and gone. He had survived the famine of Genesis 12:10. Abraham was the one who Jehovah had promised to bless. But what of his descendant, his son, Isaac, now in a famine of his own? Very simply, the promise would continue right on after Abraham's death. The whole of Chapter 26 stresses that the promise continued to Isaac. The descendants of the obedient servant Abraham would be blessed because of him. The obedience of one man brought blessings to his descendants. And Isaac truly was blessed. He sojourned in the land and enjoyed divine prosperity. His crops flourished and he became rich, right in the midst of a famine!
The Bible tells us that Isaac was so blessed that the Philistines envied him. They stopped up all of his wells and filled them with earth (v. 15). At that time, wells were tangible evidence of divine blessing. No matter where Isaac dug, and no matter how often the Philistines stopped up the wells, Isaac would reopen them. God's blessing on Isaac could not be hindered. No famine and no jealous Philistines could stop the divine favor of God on Isaac's life. He was Abraham's seed and heir to the promise God had given him. (see Genesis 12: 1-3)
Did you know that you are heir to that same promise? Look at Galatians 3:29. "If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." You are Abraham's spiritual seed and heir to spiritual privilege and position. You have God's blessing and divine favor on your life. No famine or tax increase or government shutdown can harm you. You can prosper right in the midst of hardship.
Nowhere is this principle more beautifully portrayed than in Psalm 91. Nowhere is there a more powerful testimony about where we find our true security and protection in life. Here we learn that God is our shelter and our hiding place. He is the sovereign ruler of the world. We can rest in His shadow. Safe in that shadow, we don't feel the full heat of difficulty. In the natural, shade reduces the heat of what we actually feel. As it is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual realm. You can say, "God is my refuge, my strong protection and my fortress. He is my God and I trust in Him." He draws you close, under the shadow of His wings, like a mother bird protecting her young. He is a shield and a rampart, providing a protective barrier and a wall-like ridge around your life. Verses 5-7 tell you that you need not fear. Though people and circumstances and situations are flying around you by day and by night, and even when everyone around you is in a panic, the trouble will not harm you. You can live in the promises of God, in the midst of it all when you know in Whom your true security lies.
The world is not your source of financial security. "Remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today." (Deuteronomy 8: 18) God is Jehovah Jirah, your provider. All of life is a gift from Him and nothing is possible apart from Him. In the midst of the famine of Genesis 26, your spiritual grandfather Isaac, took care of business, planted his crops and reaped a hundredfold "because the Lord blessed him." That same blessing is on you today, my friend. In the midst of unemployment, high taxes, economical instability and government shutdowns, take care of business with God and reap a hundredfold blessing in the midst of. Don't let the newspapers and the talking heads convince you that there is no hope. "Make the Most High your dwelling [and] no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent." (Ps. 91: 9-10)
God isn't broke today. He doesn't have a budget deficit. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10) All the silver and gold is His. (Haggai 2: 8) He is your source. He is your security. Don't panic. Trust. That's the way believers are to respond at such a time as this!
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