Contributor: Leye Olayiwola
“Poverty is a curse. It’s a curse that stems (emanates) from disobedience. Being under the curse of poverty means one cannot be prosperous even if they worked hard. But Jesus Christ broke the curse of poverty according to Galatians 3:13”. It is hoped that the above statement, which is startling, is still fresh in our memory, after the awesome lesson titled The Laws of Poverty, which was examined in details last week. It is hoped that we have been very mindful of the laws that governs Poverty and we have been conscious in operating the superseding laws. We shall continue this week on the series of the teachings on Prosperity by considering the topic, Thriving In the Midst of Famine.
1. There Was a Famine in the Land [Genesis 26:1]
Famine is defined as severe shortage; extreme scarcity or serious economic downturn. The time of Famine is a Dark Time for those
• who do not know God (Daniel 11:32)
• Who do not know their covenant with God
• Who are filled with fear, panic, uncertainty and hopelessness (2 Timothy 1:7)
God’s promises for us during the time of famine abound.
• “In famine He shall redeem you from death……….You shall laugh at destruction and famine.” - Job 5:20,22 (NKJV).
• “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine.” - Psalm 33:18-19
• “They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough”- Psalm 37:19
As sons, daughters and friends of God, we don’t just survive in famine. WE THRIVE!
“The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” – Proverbs 10:22. To thrive means to;
• To prosper, flourish, succeed, and advance.
• To grow vigorously.
• To increase in goods and estate.
2. Isaac Thrived In Famine
[a]. [Genesis 26:1-6] : Obey God and stay wherever He’s placed you.
Isaac obeyed God and stayed where God wanted him to stay. Egypt looked more like the Promised Land in the physical. It must have been a land flowing with milk and honey in those days. It must have been the favourite place of abode that majority may have been migrating to. But God told him explicitly “Do not go down to Egypt”. Isaac stayed in Gerar because;
• God needed him there.
• God needs us right here, right now (except you are very sure He’s asking you to move).
• “Among the other nations, Judah and Israel became symbols of a cursed nation. But no longer! Now I will rescue you and make you both a symbol and a source of blessing. So don’t be afraid. Be strong, and get on with rebuilding the Temple!”Zechariah 8:13 NLT
• We are a symbol and a source of THE BLESSING – “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others]. And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves”. Genesis 12:2-3 AMP
“For You make him to be blessed and a blessing forever……” Psalm 21:6 AMP.
[b]. [Genesis 26:12]: He sowed and received in the same year one hundred fold – and the Lord blessed him. If anyone had told Isaac he could sow and reap anything in the land of Gerar, he would have disbelief it. But obedience to God made the difference. Suffice it to say that his obedience to God made the so called futile ground become fertile. The following are true;
• Unusual yield - even in fertile regions, yields are usually not greater than twenty-five (25) to fiftyfold (50).
• "You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture, and the hillsides blossom with joy. The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. They all shout and sing for joy!". Psalm 65:11-13 NLT. He reaped in the same year!
[c]. [Genesis 26:13]: Isaac waxed great, went forward and became very great.
• "He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow." Gen.26:13 NLT
• He was thriving - flourishing, succeeding, advancing, growing vigorously, increasing in goods, estates, bulk and stature.
• He became stronger and more powerful in wealth and influence.
[d]. [Genesis 26:14]: He had possessions of flocks of sheep, herds of cattle and a great store of servants. As a result of this fame;
• The Philistines were jealous of him and made efforts to stop him.
• Beware. Your godly prosperity will attract oppositions and resistance.
[e]. [Genesis 26:24]: He didn't give up - he wouldn't quit.
• Rehobeth (in Hebrew) means room, streets, a broad and spacious place, an enlargement.
• “At last the LORD has created enough space for us to prosper [thrive, flourish, succeed, advance and grow vigorously] in this land.” Gen.26:22b.
3. In Order to Thrive in Times of Famine, We must Keep Doing What Isaac Did
[a]. Keep Obeying God.
• Obedience is where THE BLESSING is. "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;" Isaiah 1:19 AMP.
[b]. Keep Sowing seeds
• Everytime is a good time to sow into the kingdom of God. There's never a bad time. Seize every opportunity to sow into kingdom based projects and works. "He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favorable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap". Eccl.11:4 AMP.
[c]. Keep Tithing.
• Isaac tithed. How do we know?
• ".......And [Abram] gave him a tenth of all [he had taken].Gen.14:20b; "For I have known (chosen, acknowledged) him [as My own], so that he may teach and command his children and the sons of his house after him to keep the way of the Lord and to do what is just and righteous, so that the Lord may bring Abraham what He has promised him." Gen. 18:19 AMP.
[d]. Keep on walking by faith.
• Isaac did not quit standing in faith. Waiting back in Gerar, he must have seen the physically futile ground. There would have been neighbours and many others who were helpless because of the unbearable conditios in the land. Yet, Isaac persevered.
• "Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward." Hebrews 10:35 AMP;
• "And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint". Galatians 6:9 AMP
[e]. Keep attending church.
• Our future is secure in Him.
• The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]. Psalm 92:12-14 AMP.
Living a life of consistent faith in God's promises in this modern world has never been more challenging. The good news, however, is that our God remains ever faithful. Hebrews 13:8 confirms this. He is the same yesterday, today and will be forever. We can have the same encounter like Isaac did many centuries ago in this challenging times. Thriving to the envy of others. Remember, in order to thrive in this modern times, we must keep obeying God, keep sowing seed, keep tithing, keep on walking by faith and in fellowship with one another. Finally, we must consistently confess our belief in order to appropriate God's promises regarding prosperity. Please say the following confessions;
"I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I hear.
I am going up higher. I am going to keep obeying. I am going to keep sowing.
I am going to keep believing. I am going to keep receiving. I am going to keep on walking by faith. In a time of famine, we are thriving. We are prospering.
We are flourishing. We are succeeding. We are advancing. We are growing vigorously. We are increasing." In Jesus Name. Amen.
Culled from the Book: 40 Days of Prosperity by Pastor George Pearsons