Can you picture the farmer standing at the edge of his empty field under the scorching sun, with no promise of rain, and no hope for a harvest? Sometimes life can feel this way, can't it? You've plowed and planted and worked so hard, but the circumstances around you are spelling nothing but defeat. It just feels like one famine after another. One problem after another. One valley after another. What do you do in life when it just feels like there's no way out, and no help from God?
In Genesis 26, Isaac was in a very similar place. He was stuck in the land of Gerar, where there was a famine in the land, just like the famine before it. And in verse 3 God tells Isaac, “dwell in this land and I will be with you and I will bless you”.
Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? When everything inside you is saying “I don’t like this… I want to find another place to be…” God said, “I want you to dwell in the famine. Stay in this place you’re in, and I'll bless you.” Sometimes it feels like the best thing to do is escape out of our trouble, but when God says stay put, we’ve got no other option, and there's no better blessing.
So, the next verse says that Isaac “sowed, or planted, in that land, and received in the same year 100-fold”.
Here Isaac is, staying in the land of famine like God told him to do, and he begins planting seeds in the middle of a desert season. How crazy is that?!
We all know that it takes fertile ground for a seed to grow. Yet Isaac, in obedience to God, just begins to sow seed in the middle of a famine!
Isaac did this as an act of faith, and God multiplied his reward 100 times over.
If we just stay where God said to stay, and we plant where God said to plant, we will receive the blessings only God can provide, even when the environment around us doesn’t look like it could yield a blessing.
Maybe you’re in the middle of a famine in your life, and you don’t know what to do, but God said stay. Here’s what you do… in the middle of a famine, when it feels like there’s no more hope. You set up your tent, and you plant. Don’t be afraid to sow love, and faith, and resources into the things and people that are around you, even when it looks like everything is bleak. Don’t be afraid to sow kindness into an unloving spouse... patience into a rebellious teenager... generosity into your church or missions. When God says stay, you stay and plant. Don’t worry about finding a way out. Sow prayer to God, even when it looks like your faith is in the middle of a famine. Believe, just like Isaac, that if you trust God in your famine, He’ll bless you in greater measure on the way out than you had when you went in.