When facing monumental Change and trials ahead how are we to go?
When I was a young teen growing up, I found a book in my grandmother’s collection (she was an avid reader of good books and the Readers Digest). It was “Men to Match My Mountains,” by Irving Stone.
The cover of the book was a picture of the snow-covered Sierra Nevada Mountain range. In the foreground on the golden prairies below, was a small train of covered wagons… Those pioneers were facing the biggest obstacle of their months-long journey across America’s vast plains.
Men to Match My Mountains is a true historical masterpiece. It’s an unforgettable pageant of giants—men like John Sutter. His dream of paradise was shattered by the California Gold Rush. Brigham Young and the Mormons were extraordinary men too. They tamed the desert with Bible texts. Frontier America called for greatness …and got it. Nothing in history can match the stories of the pioneers who braved the challenges of the wilderness to bring our young nation to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
The title of that book always inspired my imagination with thoughts of courage and tenacity… strength and valor… vision and commitment.
I learned that the book title was inspired by a little-known historical quote from a man I’d never heard of, Sam Foss.
“Bring me men to match my mountains; bring me men to match my plains; men with empires in their purpose and new eras in their brains.”
quote by Sam Walter Foss…
I don’t know about anyone else, but from the beginning, I always thought that the subject speaking those words was none other than God, who made His mighty mountains.
And the men in the grand history of America’s frontier, whether they knew it or not, were prepared providentially by God for the challenging journeys that became their epic story. They laid the foundation for later chapters in the movement of vast populations of humans from around the world.
The Bible actually gives us insight on the divinely ordered migrations of civilizations on earth. It’s in Acts 17, when the apostle Paul preached to the intellectual pagans in Athens, Greece. He said:
“The God who made the world and everything that is in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made by hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation [ethnos = people group] of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might feel around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His descendants.’” Acts 17:24-28
We may not be living in the era of David and Goliath or the pioneer families facing their fears of fierce Indian tribes, but our generation is challenged by trials and enemies that are, in many ways, even more daunting than those of our forefathers. Why?
Because our generation has been spoiled on the lap of luxury and affluence. We’re soft. As the last of the so-called ‘greatest generation’ of World War 2 veterans pass on to their final reward, most of those left behind know nothing of serious hardship. For a variety of converging reasons, the greatest generation that survived the great depression, a world-wide war, and the dawn of the space age of technology, has been shamed by the era of their spoiled children and grandchildren.
Most of us have never had to literally fight for our lives. Most of us have never had to endure prolonged weeks of hunger. Suffering – as a whole society – has only been a remote nightmare that we mistakenly thought only happened in far-away primitive places like dark African jungles. When we heard about the horrors of whole communities of Christians being martyred for their faith in places like Asia and the Middle East, the Barbie generation rarely gave it a thought. If they did, they would brush it off quickly, thinking “it could never happen here.”
But …with the rise of humanistic self-indulgence and the all-too-common public blasphemy of God, and His righteous principles of virtue and even common decency, we’re left in a society that resembles more of a pig stye than the grandeur of whatever we attributed to the valor and strength of the pioneers of our past.
Ready or not, our generation really is having to prepare for the challenging journey of a lifetime.
Now, as godly people are humbly praying… interceding …calling out to Almighty God for His rescue and justice … for His redemption and deliverance…
…do you believe that the Bible has all the counsel needed …to equip those with ears to hear …and who have a ready heart …to take action?
Can you think of some of the many instances in Scripture when God’s people had a daunting journey or task ahead of them? Think of the principles, the virtues, and the attitudes that God exhorted His people to live out.
From a New Testament perspective, Holy Spirit has many building blocks of wisdom to make us think seriously about the actions Yahweh expects of His people. I’m drawn to Bible exhortations like Paul’s closing words in his first letter to the assembly [the Ekklesia] of Messiah’s faithful followers in Corinth.
“Be on the alert (be WATCHFUL), stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” I Co 16:13-14
Overcoming Adversity and Challenges in life is all about growing up, isn’t it? … maturing!
And you don’t really reach a higher rung in the climb to maturity until you use what you’ve developed so far to help someone behind you to come up a little higher for themselves. Am I right about that?
I’m reminded of another of Paul’s admonitions in closing his letter to the Corinthians…
“Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind.” 1 Co 14:20
Do you think God has a reasonable complaint against many in our affluent society? Maybe the scripture in Hebrews 5:12 is timely here…
“You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.”
Does that bring to mind any familiar behaviors we’ve all seen in our children as they were growing up?
The Lord has reminded me, over many years of leaning on the wisdom of God in the book of Proverbs, that we haven’t truly understood much about really living, until we’ve had to deal with our precious babies… Why is that? Having your own children sure does help you grow up fast yourself, doesn’t it?
I guess it’s because every challenge shows us how we need help… And where does our help come from? You might be thinking now of the familiar passage in Psalm 121
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.”
Now, if you’ve been pickled in secular thinking and the delusion of evolutionism, that’s a problem. Your deranged beliefs in impossible fairy tales may need to be challenged to “test all things” (1 The 5:21) and discover the fact that Genesis really is true history. That’s why I’ve posted my book about that on my website, AwesomeWorks.com
I don’t know how parents these days manage to stay emotionally healthy without the LORD. He truly is our strong tower of refuge (Ps 18:2; Pr 18:10).
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Ps 18:2.
There’s a sense of what Jesus is quoted as saying in John 9:4… that applies to us today… What do you think? He said:
“We must carry out the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming, when no one can work.” Jn 9:4
That speaks of the reality that there are different seasons in our lives – and in our time as a people of God – for different actions like we read in Ecclesiastes…
“To everything there is a season… a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
It’s time to take seriously our call from Almighty God, the LORD of Angel Armies, about how to behave …how to live …how to even think… when surrounded by real enemies of God and even our very lives. As Paul urged believers in Ephesians 4…
“…you are to no longer walk [behave – live – even think] just as the [unbelieving] Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their minds, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart…” Eph 4:17-18
Are we taking that commission seriously? If we do, we’ll truly realize that continuing victory in the battles ahead of us, demands some things. We must keep our focus on the appeals of that entire passage of Paul’s letter to the believers who were part of Messiah’s Ekklesia at Ephesus 2000 years ago. Check it for yourself… but in summary, if we’re honest, do you think there’s any room for compromise on these specific commands for every person enlisted in God’s army?
Why not think seriously on renewing your commitment to daily do the things that direct us in God’s way? What are those actions? They’re really pretty simple… Again… from Ephesians 4:17-32…
- Walk toward righteousness (v 17-24)
- Speak truthfully to others (v 25)
- Let not anger become sin (v 26-27)
- Work to meet others’ needs (v 28)
- Build people up with your words (v 29)
- Grieve not the Holy Spirit (v 30)
- Be kind and forgiving like God (v 31-32)
How do we hope to discipline ourselves to ever reach that level of maturity?
Listen to God’s word in Romans 15…
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Speaking of God’s people, Israel, in the wilderness, Paul writes…
“…these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction…” 1 Co. 10:11.
Isaiah drives the point home further, saying:
“Remember the former things long past, for I am God and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me…” Isa. 46:9.
Could it be any clearer? There’s one good reason we don’t know how to think like God and have the faith in Him that is required to please Him! What’s that. We don’t read His word… meditate in His word… speak His word… abide in His word.
When God’s own people don’t even have God’s word on their minds when challenged with what to do in the face of crisis, it’s only natural that they’ll wilt under the fearmongering words they’re hearing from all the puppets on the satanically inspired communist news network (CNN).
That’s why Ro 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Do we honestly want to follow our Lord faithfully? Then it shouldn’t surprise us to see that all the spiritual truths and concepts God teaches us for our good… all of them… have practical applications that work out in the ordinary activities of our everyday life.
God wants us to always keep our eyes on Him… that’s why we think of His axiom of life…
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
The lives of many Bible personalities give us pictures of how that works, don’t they? Think of Joshua, at age 79 [in 1406 BC] – the man whose Hebrew name was the same as Yeshua (or Jesus) – meaning ‘SALVATION.’ He was handed over the leadership of over half a million Israelite families. That suggests a total population of at least two and a half million, including women and children.
Do you think Joshua needed some special confirmation from God… to add to the skills he’d been developing in the wilderness under Moses’ mentorship for 40 years?
When the new generation of Yahweh’s family of Israel, were preparing to cross over the Jordan to begin the conquering of Canaan’s land of giants, they were given a specific instruction. They must keep a sharp eye on the movement of the presence of God. And what was that? The Ark of the Covenant being carried on the shoulders of four Levite priests. Why must they keep their eyes on God’s presence? Because they “have not passed this way before.” You can read about it in Joshua chapter 3.
“When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God with the Levitical priests carrying it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. However, there shall be a distance between you and it of about two thousand cubits (3,000 feet) by measurement. Do not come near it, so that you may know the way by which you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” Joshua 3:3-4
You really need to go read or re-read the details. What God did to give His people confidence that He would go before them in conquering the intimidating enemies ahead, is truly a model for us today. How? We can expect God to show us signs and wonders when we obey Him to step out in faith! It was much like when Peter stepped out of the boat to come to Jesus. As long as Peter kept his focus on Jesus, he walked in a continuing miracle. When he allowed the distraction of the sea waves to cause him to fear, you know what happened, don’t you?
Think of Israel’s (Jacob’s) son, Joseph, the great grandson of Abraham. His story begins in Genesis 37. There, began a new chapter… a new book… in Hebrew, a new “TOLEDOTH.” This was an historic new season of God’s working through His specially prepared people, the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
There are many great lessons and applications we can glean from the life of Joseph. Can you guess which one seems particularly applicable to the season in which our generation finds itself today?
The record starts in Genesis 41. Joseph was in the prison of Egypt’s Pharaoh. God gave him favor from the chief jailer. God gave Joseph opportunities. He gladly took action to use his God-given gift. He interpreted the dreams of two men who were thrown into prison with him. Time passed. His endurance in prison no doubt cultivated humility and patience in Joseph in his late 20s. Eventually God used those experiences to give Joseph an audience with the king.
Pro 18:16 says: “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before great men.”
It wasn’t very long before Joseph was given a new full-time job. His spiritual insight and godly wisdom earned him both approval and advancement of Pharaoh. Because of his divine foresight, Joseph was assigned to manage what became perhaps the greatest survival preparation project in the history of the world. His life became the gold standard for every pioneer, future survivalists, and preppers. He administered the accumulation and distribution of Egypt’s primary food supply of grain with divinely inspired genius. His efforts were efficient, fair, and, by God’s providence, astonishingly productive. Joseph’s example should cause every man living today to seek God’s wisdom and direction for just how to prepare for the survival of his family. And don’t we all need that? Especially as we face inevitable global crisis that could even compare with Egypt’s famous famine, over 36 centuries ago?
So, what patterns do we see God’s providence in the life of Joseph? How can we apply that principle from 1 Co. 10:11?
“…these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction…”.
Some have called this “The Joseph Principle.” Our question, when the world around us seems to be going through a time of judgment, is: “how can God’s people expect to flourish during a time of famine?”
As we counsel together with our closest community and family of like-minded followers of our Messiah, we must begin by reflecting on some long-established principles of Bible-based faith. Let’s remember what David’s psalm 37 said, in the midst of all the judgment being described for the enemies of God, “when the wicked are cut off,” and that “you will see it” (Ps 37:34, cf. v. 9, 22, 28, 38)?
Psa 37:25 “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging for bread.”
A similar but quite different situation was almost 400 years later, when God’s disobedient people were being taken into captivity by Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. Read about it in Jeremiah 29. There’s a favorite verse there that is usually taken completely out of its context. But read verse 4 to set the stage:
“Thus says the LORD of hosts (Yahweh Sabaoth), the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon…”
Look at verse 7:
“…seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf: for in its welfare, you will have welfare.”
Then God promises to bring his captive people back to their homeland, and says…
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Verse 29:11.
But don’t miss the next verse…
“Then (when? When they were in exile in a foreign country as captives – then) you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart, and I will be found by you, declares the LORD…” verse 29:12-13.
Let the power of that declaration sink in!
Joseph, four centuries earlier than Jeremiah’s generation, was certainly a captive in a foreign country. He certainly would have taken encouragement from Jeremiah’s prophetic promise of God’s assurance and providential help. But let’s realize that Joseph’s situation demanded that he learn some things in a hurry and put together a plan that would take years to fully implement and manage.
Joseph Creates a Long-term Agricultural Policy and Infrastructure (Genesis 41:46-57; 47:13-26)
Immediately after Pharaoh assigned Joseph to his new job, the Bible tells us that, “Joseph…went through all the land of Egypt” on an inspection tour (Gen. 41:46). He had to prepare himself by developing relationships with people doing farming in Egypt. Think of all that he had to quickly learn about the geography of the land, the conditions of the fields, the crops themselves and their growing seasons, weather cycles and irrigation, not to mention record keeping and delegation of work. He no doubt had to set up and oversee the training of what amounted to a Department of Agriculture and Revenue. During the seven abundant years, Joseph had the grain stored in cities (Gen. 41:48-49) with plans for distribution during the seven lean years that followed. Can you imagine the kind of talent needed by any man to create and administer all this? Even more, think of dealing with the drama among many different people in a system of absolute monarchy. If anybody ever needed God’s wisdom, Joseph would be at the top of the list.
How can we apply Joseph’s crisis preparation experience? (Genesis 41:46-57; 47:13-26)
1. From the outset, we must quickly analyze the problems needing to be resolved.
2. Pray for discernment regarding the future so that you can make wise plans. James 1:5 ESV
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
3. Commit yourself to God and His word first. Then expect him to direct and establish your plans. Proverbs 1:1-33 ESV
“The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,”
4. Gratefully and humbly acknowledge God’s gifts He’s working in you. Phil 2:13
“For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.”
5. Even though others recognize God’s presence in your life and the special talents you have, do not broadcast these in a self-serving effort to gain respect. Pro 27:2
“Let another praise thee, and not thine own mouth, A stranger, and not thine own lips.”
6. Learn whatever it takes to do your job with excellence. Pro 24:3
“A house is built by wisdom, and it is established by understanding”
7. Seek the real-world good for others, knowing God put you where you are to be a blessing. Phil 2:4
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
8. Be fair in all of your dealings, especially when the circumstances are grim and deeply problematic. Proverbs 21:15 ESV
“When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”
9. Value the sacredness of the countless types of honorable work that society needs. 1 Cor 12: 4-5
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord”
10. Generously extend the fruit of your labor as widely as possible to those who truly need it, regardless of what you think of them as individuals. Prov. 3:27
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”
11. Accept that God may bring you into a particular type of work under extremely challenging conditions. This doesn’t mean that something went wrong or that you are out of God’s will.
12. Have courage to believe that God will equip you for the task. 2 Co 9:8
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
13. Accept the reality that sometimes people must choose what they regard as the better of two very unpleasant yet unavoidable situations.
14. Believe what you do will benefit not only those you see and meet, but also that your work may likely touch lives for many generations to come. Eph 3:20
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us”
When we have clear understanding of these kinds of principles firmly set in our minds, then we can begin doing the necessary and productive work of preparing for the storm ahead. That’s where we get the chance to “count it all joy” and keep “a merry heart” in the hard work of helping others navigate through the storm.
Isa 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
Gal 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Psa 23:4 – “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
The Bible shows us patterns of God’s merciful provision. You can rely on His sufficient warning to His people BEFORE His righteous judgement comes. And what does warning lead to for those who are sensible?
- Planning and preparation
- Industry, warning others, and charity
Think of what He did with Noah and his family before the worldwide flood.
In Genesis 41, through Joseph, God assures the Pharaoh that He’s going to give 7 abundant years of food growth BEFORE bringing about a devastating famine.
Joseph advises the Pharaoh to diligently set aside a certain percentage of the harvest to prepare for the coming lean years. Pharaoh agrees and a law is established throughout Egypt that 20% of all produce is to be stored. Do you think we need to give Pharaoh some credit for trusting Joseph at his word and taking action?
When things are going well and the future seems bright, people typically find it hard to restrain from living high. Can you imagine the local population grumbling about being forced to set aside such a large portion of their crops for some future disaster that, to their minds, might never happen? They probably viewed Joseph and the Pharaoh as two tyrants conspiring to confiscate food from the population to make themselves richer.
Can you see why today’s challenges are similar to the brink of Egypt’s 7-year tribulation of famine? We’ve lived through far more than seven years of abundance in the richest generation of world history. Now, all societies on earth are facing what appears to many is what the Bible describes as the greatest tribulation mankind has ever or will ever experience. (Matt 24:21)
Despite all the arguments and opinions about the details of “the coming of the Son of Man” that “will be just like the days of Noah,” one thing is clear.
Yeshua said “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” Matt 24:42 …and … “For this reason, you be ready too; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” Matt 24:44
And He went on to say…
45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The following three stories that Yeshua taught in Matthew 24 concludes with the familiar parable of the talents. All of them are about preparation, preparedness, responsibility and trustworthiness to be productive.
Just as God ONLY entrusted the truth, wisdom and insight to Joseph, in our time He entrusts the same to His true faithful children. Those are the true Spiritual Israel, including both faithful Jewish and Gentile believers. The smartest secular minds and respected leaders weren’t able to figure out the truth in Joseph’s Day and they can’t discern it today. Most of the world’s secular and religious leaders are as much in the dark today as were Pharaoh’s wise men and magicians.
So please prepare. Find other like-minded followers of Messiah willing to prepare. Humbly bow before God today and ask Him, “What is my role? What should I do to prepare for what may be the most challenging period mankind has ever gone through?”
Trust that He will answer you. And then, when He gives you an answer, get to work! It’s time to take ACTION, Like Pharaoh did.
The Lord entrusted the Reclaiming Your Legacy program to us, to help you equip others with life-changing, if not life-saving, Biblical insight. I’m constantly aware of Yeshua’s warning, “to whom much is given, much is required, (Luke 12:48)” and “whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin,” (James 4:17).
Will you please receive and share the things you find beneficial here, with those who you care about? Will you pray, by God’s grace, we can keep up the work of preparing and sharing these things? If you think what we’re doing is worth continuing, will you join our team of praying truth-tellers who help us pay the bills and stay in the fight? We’ve been serving timely insight over a dozen years with just a small family of regular supporters. If God gives you the grace to help out with $5 or $500 a month, your investment will help us with much needed supplies, technology tools and equipment to make it possible for you to better share with others.
Thanks for being with us today on Reclaiming Your Legacy.