A famine is a serious condition very few of us have really experienced. It is not just shortage of food, but more about the suffering that it inflicts on people and the inability to do anything about it.
The Bible talks about several famines that occurred. One such during the time of Isaac is recorded in Genesis 26:1. Some spiritual lessons can also be understood for our benefit from this situation.
#1. God uses times of famine to speak to us.
We can understand famine as times of difficulty. Those are times when, instead of standing far away, God draws near to us. In this instance God gave Isaac specific instructions as not to go down to Egypt but stay in the land of the Philistines where he was at that point in time.
It is a natural tendency during times of difficulty to try to solve problems using our own wisdom. We might feel like running ahead with our own plans. But it is important to listen to what God is saying.
God sometimes asks us to stay where we are instead of moving forward even though the pressure we face in the current situation seems unbearable. It is important we listen to his voice and not act until he tells us to do so. In Psalm 46 God speaks saying, “Be still, and know that I am God” (v. 10). So let us stay and not move when God instructs us likewise.
#2. God uses famine to reveal to us his purposes.
In this case, God told Isaac that he was going to confirm the oath that he swore to Isaac’s father, Abraham. God makes special mention about Abraham’s wholehearted obedience to his commands.
Now we need to note that obedience can take us through times of difficulty.But these difficulties, however big they seem to be will not stop God from fulfilling his promises and completing his purposes. So let us not get disheartened when we obey God and then have to pass through difficult times.
God told Isaac that the entire land where he was now living is going to be his and his descendants whom God will make numerous like stars in the sky. What a great promise; we might be tempted to think. But God said something more.The physical blessing of the land being given to Isaac was just a sign of the great spiritual blessing to follow.
We should never lose sight of this principle. When God gives us an abundance on earth; it is not just an end in itself. Ask God to show you the spiritual harvest that is to come out of it.
In the case of Isaac, God was telling him that the Saviour would come from his line and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. So the purpose of God in blessing Isaac was to make him a larger blessing to the world through Jesus Christ. May it also be so in our lives as well.