Joseph Herrin (07-23-2015)
I often come up against a common mindset which asserts that it is inappropriate for a Christian to make preparation for difficult days which are approaching. Some suggest that storing up foodstuffs, or making other preparations for coming difficulties manifests a lack of faith. Some have sincerely asked, “Can’t we trust God to take care of us no matter what may be coming?”
Debates over issues such as this often arise as Christians try to figure out themselves what they ought to be doing. A common approach is to look for Scriptures to justify one action, or another. Quite often the individual already has a biased position on the subject, so they look for Scriptures that support their viewpoint.
Go to the ant, O sluggard. Observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer, and gathers her provision in the harvest.
The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it.
Of the birds after their kind, of the livestock after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every sort shall come to you, to keep them alive. Take with you of all food that is eaten, and gather it to you; and it will be for food for you, and for them." Thus Noah did. According to all that God commanded him, so he did.
“Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?' For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
He charged them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a staff only: no bread, no wallet, no money in their purse...
The problem with searching out Scriptures to support one’s view is that a man can justify any position he desires by this method, and it leads to endless debate by people of opposing views. What is often overlooked is that these Scriptures were often given in specific situations, and were not intended to be used by Christians as inviolable principles to live by. Each situation a Christian encounters requires a fresh revelation from God.
As an example of how situations change, and the instructions of God change with them, consider the last verse cited above. This statement of Christ to His disciples to take nothing on their journey, no extra clothes, no money bag, no food supply, seems to be declaring a general principle. Yahshua was seeking to teach His disciples about faith. He wanted them to trust God to care for them as they set forth to labor in His kingdom. Yet, later on, Yahshua gave His disciples just the opposite instructions.
And He said to them, “When I sent you out without purse and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?” And they said, “No, nothing.” And He said to them, “But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one.”
The only universal and inviolable rule for the Christian to live by is to be led of the Spirit of Christ in all that they do. We are always on safe ground if we do what Yahshua commands us to do.
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
The Bible describes Noah as a righteous man. He walked with Yahweh and gave reverence to the Creator of all things. One day Yahweh spoke to Noah about a great judgment coming to the world. He instructed Noah to build an ark to hold every type of animal, as well as his family. He was commanded to store up food as well. Did Noah manifest a lack of faith when he built the ark? Absolutely not! Noah was demonstrating faith in God as he believed Him and acted in accordance with the divine revelation given.
We see that the critical matter is to hear from God. What He says, we must do. The source of our actions is the primary matter. Are we determining what we will do as we take counsel in our soul? Are we being driven by fear? Or are we being led by the Holy Spirit?
As I look at the Bible I see that God is not opposed to prepping. The term “prepper” has taken on negative connotations. Many think of preppers as people among the lunatic fringe of society. In some instances they are right. Not all prepping is righteous in the eyes of God. There are many who are acting out of self-interest and fear as they stockpile provisions, move to remote locations, and build literal fortresses defended with guns and bullets. It is no more commendable to do such things than it is to do nothing at all. The only praiseworthy action is to do as the Spirit directs.
God has frequently warned people about calamities to come, and given them instructions regarding how to prepare. Noah is the first example of this, but he is far from the last. Later, in the same book of Genesis, we read of God giving Pharaoh, the ruler of the greatest kingdom on earth, dreams that he could not understand. Joseph had the ability to interpret dreams. He was called before Pharaoh. He explained the meaning of Pharaoh’s dreams. Seven years of great plenty were coming which would be followed by seven years of great famine. Yahweh placed wisdom in Joseph’s heart to know what ought to be done.
“And now let Pharaoh look for a man discerning and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh take action to appoint overseers in charge of the land, and let him exact a fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven years of abundance. Then let them gather all the food of these good years that are coming, and store up the grain for food in the cities under Pharaoh's authority, and let them guard it. And let the food become as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which will occur in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish during the famine.”
Joseph told Pharaoh how he could prepare for what was coming upon the earth. Pharaoh recognized that a divine spirit rested upon Joseph, and he acted in accordance. Joseph was appointed overseer of the land and stockpiled grain in the years of plenty. Was Joseph acting contrary to faith? Absolutely not! It was God who revealed what was coming, and it was Yahweh who instructed Joseph to make preparations.
Some may argue, “Yes, but that was the Old Testament. We live in a new age and under a new covenant. We are to trust God to care for us miraculously, and we should not lean on the arm of the flesh.” Such arguments may seem spiritual, but they do not stand up to scrutiny. Yahweh does not always use supernatural means to provide for His people. Sometimes He speaks to the people in the church and informs them to do things that are within their natural ability to accomplish.
Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.
Once again we see that the critical thing is to hear from God and do whatever He says to do. When we obey God we are acting in faith. When we walk by the Spirit of Christ our actions are judged to be righteous. The revelation of God was supernatural, for these Christians did not discern by natural means that a famine was coming to all the world. What the believers did to prepare was within their capacity to do naturally, though I have no doubt that Yahweh blessed their efforts.
Here then is the point you need to firmly establish. What is God saying to you? Perhaps your mind is confused because there are so many voices declaring what they believe is coming. Many of these voices are Christian, while many are not. Yet even the unregenerate may have understanding. Remember, the dreams of famine in Egypt were given to Pharaoh, and he was not a worshiper of Yahweh.
It is understandable if you have some confusion regarding what to do. It is at times difficult to divide between soul and spirit. We may feel that we have heard so many dire prognostications from man that our mind has been influenced. How do we know what God is truly speaking? This was the situation in which a sister in Christ recently found herself. This woman is the mother of twelve children, eleven of whom remain at home. Her husband is an engineer, but he has turned down higher paying work so that he might remain in Spokane, Washington, and have time available to minister with his family on the streets of the city. This family lives a modest life and had little money to spare once necessities were paid for.
This Christian woman had been hearing others speak of economic collapse coming to the United States, and descriptions of the social unrest and chaos that would result. She was concerned that if these things were to truly come to pass that her family was not prepared. What would they eat? How would they be supplied? She did not have the funds available to invest in stockpiling supplies for her family. Rather than trying to figure out the matter on her own, she wisely sought out the presence of the Lord and laid the issue before Him.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Yahshua.
This sister in Christ prayed, “Lord, if there is going to be a collapse, you see our lack of money. Please send provisions if we are going to need them.” That same day, her husband was at work when his boss approached. She asked if he could use some canned goods. An elderly man she knew was recently widowed. He was clearing out his pantry of food items he could not prepare for himself. This Christian woman’s husband gratefully accepted, not knowing how much food was being freely offered. There were complete cases of food. It completely filled up their mini-van. This Christian woman related that she had not mentioned any specific type of food that God might provide for them, but she loves clam chowder and there were two complete cases of it among the food items they received.
This quick answer to prayer was bittersweet. It was precious to observe how quickly Yahweh had acted to answer her prayer and to provide for them when they lacked the funds to pay for supplies. Yet the blessing was attended with the realization that the Father was affirming that a collapse is coming, and it is not far off.
Others have written to me and stated that they do not have the financial means to make preparations. At times I hear from women whose husbands do not believe anything calamitous is going to happen in this nation. They ask what they can do when their husbands are not in agreement with making preparations. I would advise such ones to do as this woman did in Spokane, Washington. Take the matter before the Lord. If you cannot trust Yahweh now, how will you trust Him in days of trouble?
One positive outcome of days of woe and calamity is that a portion of the people of God are spurred to develop a more intimate, trusting, and obedient relationship to their heavenly Father. Make the most of your predicaments now by pressing into the presence of God. Rather than spending hours browsing the web, reading the words of this person or that, go into your room, close the door, and spend time talking to your heavenly Father. Ask Him to guide you, protect you, provide for you. Let Him search your heart and reveal those things He desires to change in your life. Be humble before your Creator, and trust Him.
In the book of Genesis, we read Joseph’s words when his brothers came to him in Egypt to receive the provision he had stored up.
The famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.
God has a remnant today as well. The majority of those in the church will not look to Yahweh for deliverance in a day of trouble. Most will lean on their own understanding. Many will turn to the beast system of world government to obtain provision and protection in the coming days. A remnant, however, will seek the face of God, listen to His voice, and obey Him with trusting hearts. Even now Yahweh is directing many of His children to make preparations. A great storm is coming to the nations. Yahweh will give each of His sons and daughters instructions on how they are to prepare. He will supply the means as well.
In the second part of this blog post I will report on how God has been guiding and providing for one man and his family as they have surrendered themselves to follow Yahweh wherever He would lead them, and to do whatever He would direct them to do.
To be continued...
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