Reaping Joy And Gladness In Times Of Famine

Joy & GladnessI have been reading through a study on Genesis from Precept Ministries International and the other day it had me reading about famines.  I only had time to look up 2 out of the 13 scripture references they gave so far, but in those two references, one lesson stuck out: God will do what He says He will do.

I found some comfort in the two references; in that no matter how bad I might mess things up, God is bigger than my screw ups.  He is able to STILL do what He says He will do.  When I don’t listen, or when I don’t follow His plans for my life, He STILL does what He says He will do.  When I don’t understand what or why He is asking me to do something, whether I do it or not, He will STILL do what He says He will do.

HE IS STEADFAST IN HIS PLANS FOR MY LIFE.  And even if I’m trying to follow Him and don’t get it right, He STILL will.  That knowledge is so liberating…  to not be held captive by the threat of possibly messing things up…  to not wait, feeling stuck until I am confident He is moving me in this direction or that.  Cause I believe He calls us to move, to action, to do something, because sitting and waiting does not grow our faith in Him.  It’s so empowering to know that, when I am trusting in Him, seeking after Him, I can bodily move forward with Him, because He will do what He says He will do, despite any of my shortcomings.

KISSING YOUR SISTER

In Genesis 12: 1-3, God said He would bless Abram (Abraham).

1Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; 2And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; 3and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.  And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

And then, in a few verses later, it says there was a famine in the land, causing Abram to travel to Egypt.  But because Abram’s wife Sarai was SO BEAUTIFUL, apparently we’re talking “killer” looks here, Abram asked Sarai to lie and say that she was his sister.

To me that’s strange, and gutless.  But, we don’t really know what was going on behind the scenes.  It could be that God impressed it upon Abram to take this strange course of action in order to receive all that he did from Pharaoh…but since that was based on a lie, and God is TRUE, I highly doubt this was the case.  However, it does bring up a good point: sometimes, God does ask us to do something that doesn’t quite make sense to us at the time.  After we listen, we see His sovereign hand on the other side of our obedience.

What I really believed to have happened was Abram felt God leading him to Egypt because of the famine, but got scared once he arrived and tried to take matters into his own hands…thinking God didn’t really have his back.  He stopped believing that God was really going to follow through with His promise to bless him, a promise that happened just a few short verses before his journey.

How often do we do that same thing!?!  We start out following hard after God, then get scared and try to take back control.  Or, we think we could do a better job.  And if we’re honest with ourselves, just like Abram, our decisions usually turn out strange and gutless when we look back on them.

Even after Abram lied and tried to take over the situation, God still used those circumstances and blessed him.  Pharaoh treated Abram well, gave him sheep, oxen, donkeys, camels, and servants, all because of Sarai’s beauty.  You’d think Abram would have learned to trust God after that, but he makes the same mistake again!  In Genesis 20, he tells another king that beautiful Sarai is only his sister.  And again, God blessed him, despite his lies and fumbles in trust.

14Abimelech then took sheep and oxen and male and female servants, and gave them to Abraham, and restored his wife Sarah to him. 15Abimelech said, “Behold, my land is before you; settle wherever you please.” 16To Sarah he said, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver; behold, it is your vindication before all who are with you, and before all men you are cleared.”

SINS OF THE FATHER REPEAT

And then history repeats itself in Genesis 26 with Abraham and Sarah’s son Isaac…with the same lie, to the same king despite being reminded of God’s promise to his father which also applied to him!

Abraham and his son Isaac almost messed things up big time by not believing God to come through in what He had promised.  But each time, He came through in big ways and blessed them still.  God used each of those periods of misplaced trust to bless Abraham and Isaac and increased their households, and blessed their families.  Even though they dared to think they knew better, God still came through for them.

WHAT HAS HE PROMISED YOU?

But what I love most, and what I think God wants us to remember is this: no matter how bad we might mess things up, He will do what He says He will do.

And I am believing in Him to do what I believe He has been whispering to me for years in these two verses…make us a family of more than just two.

4“Since you are precious in My sight, since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life. 5“Do not fear, for I am with youI will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west.” Isaiah 43:4-5
1“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, who seek the LordLook to the rock from which you were hewn and to the quarry from which you were dug. 2“Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain; when he was but one I called him, then I blessed him and multiplied him.” 3Indeed, the Lord will comfort ZionHe will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and sound of a melody.” Isaiah 51:1-3
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