When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the Lord blessed him. He became a very rich man, and his wealth continued to grow. Genesis 26:12-13 (NLT)
Are you in a financial famine? Or do you say like many do, “I need more money.”? The above scripture often touches our hearts during financial difficulties and rightly so. It reminds us that God is still in control even when the world around us is falling apart. It also reminds us that we are not forgotten by God and that He can and is able to bring us out of any financial trouble we may be facing.
This account of Isaac’s encounter with God occurs during an economic hardship that affected many. There are a few principles we can take from this part of God’s word that would help during challenging financial times as well as when we experience financial increases.
Be open to hear from God. Be open to hear the most unusual and seemingly illogical instructions.
Gen. 26:2 -3, “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.”
God wants to be an integral part of your life. Even in times of financial difficulties God wants to relate to you and to help you through the rough roads. He wants to encourage and direct you so that you would prosper through life.
As God speaks to Isaac He gave a command with the promise of His presence and of His blessing, “I will be with you and bless you” (Gen.26:3).
Just as He did with Isaac, He is willing to do with you. He wants to direct your life and be with you all the way as you carry out His will and in the process of life bring blessings to you.
Obey. Do what God tells you to do; even when it doesn’t make sense to you.
The blessings God gives goes beyond the person and the material. They extend beyond your generation. Imagine that – because of your relationship with God your family is blessed for generations. As God’s oath to Abraham was transferred to his son Isaac and to Isaac’s descendants, so does His blessings to you reach forward to your family for generations to come.
“because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” Isaac learned that well and obeyed God and stayed where he instructed him to (Gen. 26:5-6).
Think about this. Does it make sense? Imagine you have the opportunity to go where the economic climate is better. Or you have a job offer or business opportunity opened to you in another country and the prospects indeed look promising. As you ponder and pray about it, God tells you – “Don’t go; stay here with your family.” What would be your first response? Human as we are, we would think much about it and even question God. Although we know God wants what is best for us when a good thing comes along we might think that God is holding us back. In some cases, we may even think that it is the enemy trying to dissuade us from receiving the blessings of God. This is a tough one. But obedience to God is always best. Obedience to God is key to life and financial success.
Speak the truth at all times.
I like the Bible. It shows how much God is willing to relate to us even in our sinful state. The relationship of imperfect man with a perfect and loving God rings throughout. Sometimes when we are in difficulty (like Isaac being in a strange land) we tend to put up defence mechanisms to protect ourselves. From a financial perspective, during difficult we may lie to the creditors or avoid taking their phone calls. But there is no need to do this when God is with you.
When Isaac’s lie was discovered, it actually resulted in his safely being guaranteed by the very people he feared would kill him. Telling your creditor about your loss of income and your inability to repay as required can actually open the door for some relief. I have heard of cases where the debt has been cancelled! The creditor may be able to give you a longer grace period or offer an alternative that would help until you get back on your feet financially.
Don’t be afraid to be honest. God will honour that.
Take action to create wealth.
Gen.26:12-14 really encourages me to move forward with my goals regardless to what the economic forecasters as saying.
You don’t have to wait for the external conditions to improve or change in order to make an internal shift and take decisive action. If you wait you will likely never achieve your goals.
Isaac’s action to plant during the scarcity was a step of faith which God honoured. Not only did he reap 100% of his crop but his cattle and his household increased so much that his neighbours noticed it. When you move forward in faith – whether to change your career, work towards a promotion that doesn’t seem likely or start a new business or even find an extra income stream – God will prosper you and those around you will see it too!
Avoid relationship conflicts.
When you begin to prosper (while others are still facing financial challenges) not everyone will be happy about your successes. Some will want to learn from you while others will envy you and try to sabotage you in some way. This is what happened to Isaac. Each time he succeeded in digging a well and finding water – a much-needed commodity then – his “friendly” neighbours came to stake their claim on it.
The blessing on your life may cause others to envy (Gen.26:14), to fear you (Gen.26:16), to quarrel with you, to steal from you and to try to frustrate you (Gen.26:19-22). You may experience conflict in one way or another with friends or family members. People may think that your good fortune is undeserving. You may have ‘sudden’ friction between you and others that didn’t exist before. You may find that people just attach themselves to you to get what they can from you and not because they genuinely care about you. It’s unfortunate but this is how some respond.
The important step you must take in times like these is to let go and let God and not to react rashly to what others are doing. Isaac gave up what he and his servants had worked hard for but in the end they prevailed. So don’t despair. Don’t fight your enemies. God will make room for you and make you fruitful where you are (Gen. 26:22).
Finally, be patience, peace (shalom) will come.
The time will come as you continue to prosper and you handle relationship issues well that God will cause even your enemies to be at peace with you. Why? Your godly response to them (even when they do you wrong), will cause them to acknowledge that the Lord is with you (Gen. 26:28-29). They will want to make amends with you. Being at peace with your enemies will make the financial successes you receive even more pleasant.
Isaac’s situation takes us through the stages from financial struggle to success giving us some insight in how we should respond in times like these. The essence of this is that we should have a relationship with Christ, follow His leading, take action and live out the Christ life as He want us to.