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Thriving in Hard Times

Thriving in Hard Times

Credit:IFCJ

The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 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.” — Genesis 26:2–3

The Torah portion for this week, Toldot, which means “offspring,” is from Genesis 25:19—28:9, and the Haftorah is from Malachi 1:1–2:7.

Genesis 26 is almost a replay of Genesis 12, which we read a few weeks ago. Genesis 12 recounts Abraham and Sarah’s experience when there was a famine in Canaan. In Genesis 26, we read about Isaac and Rebekah’s similar experience during such a famine. In Genesis 12, Abraham was promised the land of Canaan for his descendants, and in Genesis 26, the same promise was reiterated to Isaac. In Genesis 12, Abraham moved to Egypt because of the famine, where he told the people that Sarah was his sister so that he wouldn’t be killed by the locals who might desire his wife. In Genesis 26, Isaac moved to Gerar because of the famine, where he told the people that Rebekah was his sister for the same reason that his father had said this about Sarah.

In both stories, Abraham and Isaac emerged from the ordeal with their wives by their sides, and they also emerged very wealthy. However, there is one major difference. While Abraham became wealthy in Egypt as the people showered him with gifts because of Sarah’s beauty and then later on out of respect for the holy couple, Isaac was told specifically not to go to Egypt. God did not allow Isaac to leave Israel, so he went to Gerar, which was within Israel’s boundaries. Rather than being showered with gifts, God promised to prosper Isaac despite the famine. He said to Isaac, “Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you . . .”

True to His word, God did bless Isaac. Isaac planted crops in the arid land and reaped a hundredfold that very same year. While the neighbors around Isaac were withering in the famine, the verse tells us that Isaac became a very wealthy man because God was with him and blessed him.

This is such an important image for us to keep in our minds. We need to remember that our success isn’t formed by the conditions around us. Our provisions come from God and God alone. I love how the prophet Jeremiah put it: “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8).

For the one who trusts in God, there will always be provisions. God can prosper us in a desert and cause us to bear fruit in a famine. We need to place our trust exclusively in God. In His name we prosper and by His word we are blessed.

Hebrew Word of the Day

November 14, 2017

— Thriving in Hard Times

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A much-needed family trip to this biblical body of water shows how God can restore us, renew us, and bless us.

Monthly Teaching Resource

Tisha B’Av - Teaching Our Children Hope

Listen as Fellowship President and CEO Yael Eckstein explains the Jewish observance, Tisha B’Av, which occurs this month at sundown July 29-July 30, and the lessons of hope that can be found in the saddest day on the Jewish calendar, from her audiobook, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to Our Children. **

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How to Help

Pray With Us

Please join us as we gather together for prayer and healing during these painful and tense times in America by phone, Tuesday, July 28th, at 8 PM Eastern Time/7 PM Central Time/ 5 PM Pacific Time. Call in at 1-877-365-5237 to join. Yael Eckstein and The Fellowship’s Chairman of the Board, Bishop Lanier, will lead our Fellowship Family in prayer through this difficult time, and with our prayers may we find peace.  

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