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Our Response in Hard Times 1

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OUR RESPONSE IN HARD TIMES

In the past two weeks we have realized that we are blessed to be a blessing.

That knowing that we are blessed is the power to overcome our circumstances.

But today I’m going to take a different approach.

We are not going to talk about our walk in good times; we are talking about “Our response in hard times”.

And to do this we start by looking at the life of Isaac - Abraham’s son!

Genesis 12:2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

Therefore, we know that God blessed Abraham to be a blessing.

But what about Isaac?

Genesis 12:2-3 reveals God’s promise to bless Isaac, a promise He keeps.

Genesis 25:11 And it came to pass, after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac./

OK, that’s Isaac; but what about us?

Genesis 12:2-3 also tells us that we, as sons and daughters of faith, are children of Abraham, just like Isaac!

Galatians 4:28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.

And

Galatians 3:9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.

When God blessed Isaac, did that mean Isaac would never go through hard times?

LET US LOOK AT ISAAC TOGETHER:

But before we do that, let us consider; what is the natural thing to do in a famine, in a hard time?

Cut back on spending; save (hoard); work more overtime; etc

Genesis 26:1 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham.

There was a famine in the land at the time of Isaac just as there was a famine in the time of Abraham.

Abraham, the father of blessing, went through a time of famine, a time of hardship!

The Bible shows us that times of hardship have existed in every generation.

So what we are dealing with today in this time of hardship is nothing new.

There is a famine in the land!

It is something that every generation has to deal with.

But God has a plan and His word reveals the supernatural thing to do in a time of famine!

Genesis 26:2 Then the Lord appeared to him and said: "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.

Firstly, the Lord knows that there is a famine so why doesn’t He rain some stuff down to Isaac; because God as Father is more interested in Isaac’s character than his comfort; and it is the same for us.

The Lord is going to show Isaac a truth in the time of hardship.

It starts by being in the place God has put us.

The first thing He does is tell Isaac what not to do; do not go down to Egypt; STAY PUT!

WHY?

Because, throughout biblical history Egypt is always used to represent a type of the world and its grass always seems greener!

Therefore, the Lord is telling Isaac, “in this time of hardship, don’t go the way of the world”.

Go the way I show you!

What does it look like to go the way of the world?

Just watch the news for 5 minutes and you will see the way of the world!

Isaac obeys God and stays put; what does he then do in this land of famine that is supernatural?

Genesis 26:12 Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. 13 The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous;

When other were in fear - Isaac sowed!

When others were believing the worst - Isaac sowed!

When others were planning for failure - Isaac sowed!

When others were hoarding – Isaac sowed!

When others were holding back – Isaac sowed!

Isaac was not ruled by fear of the famine - he planted in faith for it takes faith to plant seed in a famine!

And God rewarded his faith by making him very prosperous.

What did Isaac sow into – his inheritance!

Genesis 26:2 Then the Lord appeared to him and said: "Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.

Isaac sowed into God’s gift, the land that God was giving him and his descendants.

Do we understand what is going on here; God is giving clear directions; don’t go that way, go this way!

Church in this season of famine in our land we must listen for the voice of God!

He is speaking - Are we listening – He is telling us to go His way, not our own; He is telling us to do what He wants, not what we want.

Isaac stayed where God told him to stay and did what God told him to do and that was sow in the famine.

Isaac sowed not only physically but also spiritually.

Genesis 26:25 So he built an altar there and called on the name of the Lord, and he pitched his tent there; and there Isaac's servants dug a well.

Isaac recognized where the power to prosper in a time of famine came from.

Deuteronomy 8:18 And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Not only did Isaac sow into – his inheritance – he also sowed into God’s kingdom by bringing his offering to the Lord.

So what was the response of Isaac to the hard time?

He did not go the way of the world

He sowed natural seed to reap a natural harvest.

He sowed spiritual seed to reap a spiritual harvest.

He sowed an offering to the Lord.

As a result, he re-dug the wells that the enemy had stopped up and the wells the famine had dried up.

Do we have a New Testament example of how to respond in hard times?

YES - God recognized a famine in the land, a famine of righteousness and He used the same principle by sowing in the time of famine.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

God sowed His Son, both physically and spiritually, in the time of famine and He expects a return.

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