Living in the Land of Famine

There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, to Gerar.  Yahweh appeared to him, and said, “Don’t go down into Egypt. Live in the land I will tell you about.   Live in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For to you, and to your seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.   I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and will give to your seed all these lands. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed,   because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my requirements, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”       Genesis 26:1-5 (WEB)

I heard a pastor preached about this passage.  She made several points but the point that jumped out at me was from these first five verses.  Isaac was living in a land of famine – famine – and God told him to stay there!

When I am in a ‘famine’ I may feel lonely; I may be ‘short of funds’; I may wonder why opportunities are not opening for me to minister in a certain way to a certain group. I ask God to set me free from this famine!  I may even blame satan for keeping me in this time of famine!  What if it isn’t satan keeping me where I am?  What if it is God?

Look at what God says to Isaac.  God says that while Isaac is in this land of famine, He (God!) will be with Isaac and bless Isaac.  God will not be changing Isaac’s circumstances but God will be changing Isaac!

And God does the same thing with me.  God may allow me to stay in my famine in order to bring us closer together and change my heart, increase my faith, and – wait for it! – do more than what I could imagine – build His Kingdom!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles,[doesn’t take us OUT of the troubles! Why?] so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.       2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV, note and emphasis mine)

God looks at situations with eyes that see the big picture.  God is about saving souls and building His eternal kingdom.  But God is also more loving and compassionate that I can imagine.  Just as God promised Isaac, God will be with me and bless me, providing me with all that I need to grow and change in this time of famine.  And my testimony of how God stayed with me through the famine and blessed me encourages others that God will never leave His children nor forsake them.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we won’t be afraid, though the earth changes, though the mountains are shaken into the heart of the seas; though its waters roar and are troubled, though the mountains tremble with their swelling.       Psalm 46:1-3 (WEB)
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