Sowing Into Promise

There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

Then the Lord appeared to him and said: “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you. 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…

Then Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold; and the Lord blessed him. The man began to prosper, and continued prospering until he became very prosperous; for he had possessions of flocks and possessions of herds and a great number of servants. So the Philistines envied him. (Genesis 26)

Each day of your life is a never-ending string of choices.  Some are mundane like as selecting your wardrobe for the day or where to eat for lunch.  Other are important life-altering decisions, such as choosing your spouse, relocating to a new city, or changing career paths.  Some of these decisions are made intentionally, as an effort to accomplish a goal that we’ve set for ourselves. Other times, we are forced to react to circumstances beyond our control, and we have to decide how we are going to respond to the situation.

In Genesis 26, we find Isaac in just such a place.  There was a famine going on and as the head of his household he was responsible for the well-being of his family and servants. He knew that something had to be done, but what should he do? He moved his family to Gerar, and that’s when the Lord spoke to him.  God made him a promise that if he would remain in the land, that he would follow through on the covenant that he had made with Isaac’s father, Abraham. 

So what did Isaac do? He not only stayed; he took it to the next level. Isaac responded to God’s promise by planting crops…in the middle of a famine! If God was going to give him the land, then Isaac was going to invest in it.  He poured time and resources into it. In return, God blessed him with a hundredfold harvest. Imagine the wealth, influence, and power that comes with being the man with all the food and resources in a time of want. Isaac became rich and powerful so quickly that the Philistines became jealous and the king even asked him to leave because he couldn’t handle the competition!

When we examine this story closely, we a couple of principles in action that lead to Isaac’s blessing:

  • Communication — There was an established relationship between Isaac and God.  In this passage, it does not indicate that Isaac sought God’s direction yet because of the relationship that existed between them (Isaac had seen God’s hand in his own father’s life), when God spoke Isaac listened. Too often we plan our lives and try to figure out our problems without God’s input, and that’s where we end up in trouble.  And then when God does speak, we must be willing to listen.
  • Investment — Isaac understood the principle of sowing and reaping, of investment and return. So when God made a promise, Isaac had faith enough to sow into that promise. God is constantly at work and it is our responsibility to make sure that we are on board with what he’s doing in our lives, families, and communities. Wherever God has planted you, make sure that you have bought into the vision.  Give of your time and resources to advance the kingdom.  God sees and rewards the sacrifices we make.

Where has God planted you?  Are you investing in yourself…your family…your church…your career…your community?  The blessings of God are real.  He’s waiting to pour them into you, but you have to sow before you can reap!

PRAYER: Father God, thank you for being a God that we can count on. Your words are sure, and you desire to bless your people.  Help us to be wise enough to follow the path that you lay before us and invest in that promised future.  Bless the seeds that we sow to ensure a bountiful harvest of blessing in our lives, the lives of those around us, and souls won for your kingdom.  In Christ’s name, Amen.

Put On Your Big Boy Pants

(Joshua 17:14-18 ESV) 14 Then the people of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the LORD has blessed me?” 15 And Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” 16 The people of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.” 17 Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, 18 but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.”

Whiney people wear me out! How about you? In a recent devotion, I wrote about the MASSIVE list of blessings that were reserved for the house of Joseph. BIG blessings. ABUNDANT blessings. They only needed to take the necessary steps to possess them.

In Joshua 17, Joshua continues to distribute inheritances to the various tribes of Israel. The distributions varied based upon the size of the tribes and the role they played in the progress of the nation. When the people of Joseph heard the description of their inheritance, their tone seemed to imply a dissatisfaction with the details.

  • “Why have you given me one lot and one portion?”
  • “The hill country is not enough for us.”
  • “The Canaanites have chariots of iron.”

Joshua had to help them see things from a God-sized perspective. He reminded them of their potential.

  • “You are numerous.”
  • “You have great power.”
  • “Go to the forest and clear land for yourselves.”
  • “You shall possess it to its farthest borders.”
  • “You shall drive out the Canaanites.”

It appears that the people of Joseph had taken on an attitude of entitlement. Is it possible they felt they should not have to fight anymore? Could it be they felt they deserved to have their blessing super-sized and ready to enjoy without further effort? We may never know, but their words sound an awful lot like disappointment. The reward just didn’t fit their expectations.

I’m reminded of the man who looked to Peter and John for a monetary handout. Peter responded by letting him know that he did not have money to give, but he could hook him up with supernatural healing. If the beggar was disappointed, it certainly didn’t show. He got up and started enjoying his new found freedom!

That’s the point Joshua was trying to make to the household of Joseph. They were blessed! The victory was still theirs for the taking. They just needed to sow the proper effort to reap the promised result.

Today, let’s realize how blessed we are. Let’s focus on the potential we possess. Instead  of getting our bloomers in an upset, let’s put on our big boy pants and show God how grateful we are by living in the abundance He has provided.

PRAYER: Lord, I realize the blessings I’m experiencing have come directly from Your hand. Keep my mind focused on You and empower me to grasp all that You have laid up for me. Amen.

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