Genesis 26:3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.
We need to remember the context of this statement from God. Verse 1 starts off with, “Now there was a famine in the land.” We don’t have much emotional connection with that statement, but in those days, with no refrigeration and negligible international trade in foodstuffs – things we take for granted today – a famine meant people, or at least livestock, starved to death. Such famines occurred from time to time throughout the Bible, but when a drought happens today we are quick to blame “global warming,” or at least “climate change.” The fact of the matter is, weather does change, and it is hubris to think mankind has very much to do with it. (Other than the drastic effects of deforestation, but that’s another story.) The point here though is that God is telling Isaac to “tough it out” and not go looking for literally greener pastures. As the story continues we see that he was richly rewarded for his obedience, but at this point it was essentially blind faith. God promises us great blessings, but at the same time He doesn’t promise us “easy street.” Sometimes we have to tough out a famine, either materially or spiritually. Such things rightly cause us to examine ourselves to see if we have heard God correctly, but if we have confirmation from Him, then obedience is far more important than visible results.
Once again the Lord has spoken directly to my circumstances. I have been ministering in Omura for over 35 years now, but current Sunday morning attendance is around 10. We have been very caught up recently in the dream of building an assisted living facility on the land next to the church here, but yesterday the Agricultural Land Committee put a nail in that. At this point I’m having to work through the stages of grief about it, and that’s not easy. However, looking at the situation objectively, I realize that emotionally I was substituting the land and building for the fruit I wasn’t seeing in people. Such a facility wouldn’t be bad, but I’m not going to take land and buildings to heaven. This is an opportunity to reexamine the ministry here and be sure we have the focus God intends. The pastors conference we attended last week was on “Gospel Centered Church.” I need to let the Lord show us how to restore our center, so that we will be bearing the fruit that He desires rather than whatever our imaginations come up with.
Father, thank You for Your faithfulness. Thank You for showing me Your purpose in not letting us go ahead as we had been planning. Thank You also for pointing out that it was precisely my failure to plan that made us ineligible for the rezoning that was called for. Help me get through the grief of the death of the dream so that I can see Your dream for us, which is without question better than anything we could come up with. Thank You. Praise God!