And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all the lands.
- Genesis 41:57
Famines have existed for many years, yet we become fearful when we hear of them today.
Commonly called droughts these days, we blame Global Warming (or its cunning retitle, Climate Change) and anything else with which the media attempts to trance us.
Yet, in the book of Genesis, we not only read of Abraham enduring one but also his son, Isaac, in his generation and his grandson Jacob during his life. Three generations and three famines. Three of God's favourite followers in their times were all expected to suffer famines so brutal that they had to leave their homes, pack up their belongings, and travel to other lands just to live.
Jacob's famine, when Joseph ran Egypt, was so severe that all countries around that region and beyond came to Egypt to buy the most basic of meal ingredients — corn.
None of our three heroes caused the famines, yet had to walk through them.
King David also lived through three years of famine purposefully brought about by God due to the wickedness of David's predecessor, King Saul. (2 Samuel 21:1). King David didn't cause the famine, yet had to walk through it.
Elijah the Prophet lived through a famine so bad that King Ahab sent his House Governor into all areas just to find grass for his horses; which is similar to some farmers today getting cattle fodder from other States during droughts.
Elisha the Prophet, who followed Elijah, lived through a famine; another one brought on by the Lord.
Neither Elijah or Elisha caused the famines, yet had to endure them.
What did all these believers do in times of famine? They listened to the Lord, faithfully followed his instructions and survived.
Famines in these latter times are prophesied by Old Testament prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel and are found disguised in Deuteronomy. Furthermore, New Testament writers also predict famines in these days. We can't differentiate those which are designed by the Lord to bring about His purpose from those which are of natural occurrence, we can only surmise.
Despite the famines and other hardships, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob endured and were found faithful, yet they weren't the cause of the famines. likewise, we might not be the cause of sufferings through which we are expected to walk, but the Lord's desire is that, like those faith heroes, we also are found faithful through those trials.
Many people called by the Lord are unable to be chosen due to their inability to follow Him without question. This also means that neither are they found faithful. Famines are just another trial through which we might be called to live. If we look to those heroes and endure like them, praying all the way through, our faith should not waiver.
We can't forget what is written in Acts 14:22, that we, through much tribulation, enter the Kingdom. This is our desire, so faithful we must be found. "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."
Famines might be one of those tribulations, the threat and leanness of which we are meant to overcome.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, it always strikes me how the heroes of the faith went through so much to achieve your desired outcomes. I am forever enriched when I read their stories, as they always seemed to look into the distance for their blessing, with little expectation of having it now. Please change me to do what your will is for me, and remove any undesirable expectations I might have.