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Dear Partner,

One of the most important things I have learned over the years about our heavenly Father is that He is not a "cookie cutter" God. What I mean is, He knows each of us by name, to the point He knows the number of hairs on our head. He wants to fellowship with each of us individually, as well as corporately when we assemble together. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And He is the God of Gary, and Sue, and you! He is so intimate and personal with each one of us and He has a plan for each of our lives.

One of the best ways to illustrate this is how different his plan was for blessing Abraham compared with Abraham's son Isaac. When famine struck Canaan in Abraham's day, the plan of God was for Abraham to sojourn into Egypt. Egypt's prosperity was not determined by the annual rainfall since its crops were watered by an irrigation system from the Nile River. The Nile is one of the few rivers on planet earth that flows from south to north. The headwaters begin in the mountains of Africa, far away from the desert climate of Egypt and Canaan. The Nile would continue to flow even during drought in Canaan. God's plan for Abraham was for him to stay in Egypt until the famine in Canaan was over. God richly blessed Abraham during his time in Egypt to the point the bible says,

Gen 13:1-2   And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold.

Many years later famine again struck Canaan. This time it was during the lifetime of Isaac, Abraham's son. Isaac remembered the story how his father had prospered in Egypt while sojourning there during famine. He began traveling south toward Egypt to do as his father had done. But God had a different plan for Isaac than He had for Abraham. Isaac was well on his way toward Egypt when the Lord spoke to him;

Gen 26:1-3   And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father.

I can only imagine the thoughts that must have gone through the mind of Isaac. After all, he had a family and servants that looked to him as the head of the household. His decision would affect all of them. He must have had thoughts similar to, "What? Stay here in the midst of famine? It is a short distance from here to Egypt and there is abundance there. We can be there in just a few days. But you want me to stay here in the midst of lack? You will somehow bless me here when there seems to be no way for our crops to grow?" Yet even though thoughts like these must have been in his mind, Isaac chose to obey God and remain in famine-ravaged Canaan. Then comes this famous verse:

Gen 26:12   Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.

Most preachers use this verse at offering time with an exhortation that goes something like this, "Yes, Isaac sowed in famine and God blessed him with a hundredfold. No matter how bad things may be in your life, just give sacrificially into the offering and you can trust that God will multiply back your offering one hundredfold." None of that is true. If "giving more to God" was the lesson to be learned from this type and shadow, we would see Isaac offering up animal sacrifices or tracking down Melchizedek (the priest) to give offerings to him. In the Old Testament there was no other way to "give to God." No, this type and shadow is not about giving more to God. It is about learning how to follow God's leading in order to allow Him to provide for you no matter how dire the circumstances you are facing.

For years I wondered how God was able to cause Isaac's crops to produce one hundredfold during drought when nobody else's crops would grow at all. Isaac had to wonder, "How will God bless me here? There is no rain from above. My father (Abraham) told me how he saw the Egyptians irrigate from the Nile river but all of our rivers are running nearly dry because of the drought." And right about there God dropped an idea for a new technology into Isaac's mind. A word of knowledge coupled with wisdom came to him in an instant "We could irrigate from well water." You can read in Genesis 26 how his servants dug well after well. Why so many wells? So a new technology that had never existed before could be introduced to sustain God's people. I recently saw a special on the Discovery channel that told how even today that same technology is being used in modern day Israel to cause the deserts to bloom with crops. They use something they call "drip irrigation" from well water in order to use their limited water supply in the most efficient manner possible to produce abundant harvests from thousands of acres that had always been barren wasteland before.

You don't have to be a genius for God to prosper you. All you have to do is receive just one idea from His infinite knowledge and then act on it. God gave the idea but Isaac and his servants had to dig the wells. Be encouraged today. God has a plan for your life too. No matter how dire your circumstances, God is able to bless you a hundredfold if you will listen to Him and obey.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you.   We thank God for your generous and giving heart.   God bless you!


Your friend and co-laborer,

 

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