Reign in the Rain
You can reign even in the rain of economic downturn, job losses, and social struggled. The present economic woes no doubt has heaped misery on millions of families bringing about increased chaos in already troubled lives, marriage breakdowns, loss of jobs and homes leaving many on the brink of depression. Instead of falling prices in an already weakened economy household see their cost spiralling out of control, with increased utilities and food prices. Every family, every home, every country on every continent is feeling the pinch, touched by the world economic meltdown. Your credit card has exceeded its overdraft limit, you are being pursued by lending and hire purchase firms for unpaid bills. Many friends and family you always ran to for help, you find they are complaining too, your best counts have forsaken you. Why does it always rain on me and, who do I turn to for help? For many drinks and drugs become their bosom buddy, while many unable to cope take their own lives. How can one keep a straight face and be positive when all things “you” are in negative territory, every sign signalled hopelessness and loss? Faith people are affected too, and while they usually confessed confidence in God, fall under austerity pressures. Many are found questioning why things are this bad they asked will the God I serve, ever loving and understanding come through for me?
Reigning, means you have taken control, and managing in spite of hardship. The scripture records many instances of men and women whose lives continues to be positive and remain in control despite the dark circumstances which prevailed around them. There was a great economic depression – a famine in the land and Isaac made a decision to travel to Egypt looking for an escape route. God appeared to him reaffirmed His commitment to the offering of covenant blessings to Abraham and his descendants (Gen 26), and told Isaac not to make the journey into Egypt, as He is true to His word and will bless him. Isaac with the promised blessings in mind and after many years of waiting for its fulfilment may have wondered how long it was going to take. He went to the King of the country and made a request to be allowed to settle in Gerar, the land of the Philistines. Isaac must have wondered why God wants him to remain in a place where the famine was rife and there was hope some place else. Just maybe Isaac may not have completed some task or plant the seed in order to affect the pouring out of blessings from God. What is clear here is that the moment he planted a seed, he reaped, not tenfold not fiftyfold, but a hundredfold (v: 12).
What was he not done before, and what has he started to do right? You ready for this? Normally crops planted are reaped in its seasons, and not many crops are turned over in the same year. Secondly, this increase happened in a famine, an economic stagnation when everyone else around him was losing all they had he was increasing in value. He eventually became so wealthy that the neighbours’ became envious of him and had to come to him to buy supplies. The Philistines started to antagonise him by filling up the wells with earth to stop him from getting water, and increasing tensions among them. The wealth and increased strength of Isaac reached the ears of the Philistine King Abimelech, who promptly requested, “move away from us, you have become too powerful for us” (v: 16). This was a sure indication not just that he was flourishing in an economic downturn, but that the covenant blessings were being fulfilled. As people of the world continue in Godlessness and sees your prosperity in a storm, it sure will arouse their hostility. Isaac moved on, settled in another place, dug additional wells, but wherever he went he encountered the same problems with his neighbours. He finally settled in Beersheba, where the Lord again appeared to him reaffirming His covenant blessings promise, and told him not to be afraid. Isaac pitched his tent Beersheba, built an altar there and called on God, and his servants built other wells. The Philistine King accompanied by his personal advisor visited Isaac in Beersheba, probably still fearful of Isaac because of his increased wealth and power. Isaac queried the purpose of his visit, recalling that it was he who threw him out of Gerar. Abimelech quickly responded that he now clearly understood that the Lord was with Isaac, and requested they entered into an agreement, that Isaac promised them no harm will come to them. Isaac made a feast to the king and his party as proof that he intended them no harm, “the men swore on oath to each other” (v: 31), the next day.
While in many instances rain has been used symbolically and positively to refer to the outpouring of spiritual blessings, surely Isaac received limitless supply. It has also been used negatively in people’s lives experiences, a popular phrase, “why does it always rain on me?” In connection to overwhelming episodes of grief and sadness, rather than seeing a ray of sunlight many see trials as raining pain. The present economic climate is rain in the lives of many, you often heard “some have a little sunshine…my life is only fill with rain”, indicative of the continuing depressed economic state. How can one maintain their sanity in this period of pain, how can we maintain control in the rain of economic meltdown? Habakkuk offers an exciting incite into how to survive in an economic storm when things seemingly are out of your control. “Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls…yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Hab. 3: 17 – 18). The prophet lived during a time of eminent invasion by a powerful Babylonian army, and recognized the utter destruction war brings. Sometimes besieging a city last for weeks and months, a plan to prevent commerce, food from being planted or harvested in fact starve the opposition into capitulation and surrender was the plan. However, the prophet learned the lessons of history of keeping faith in God despite prevailing circumstances. His declaration is a lesson handed down through time of the enduring qualities of faith in God through the storm. His affirmation to rejoice whatever comes, whether war, or famine, is a true message we should cling to in this financial climate. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Rom 8: 35). Like Habakkuk people must continue to be in control when others are losing their heads in the raining downturn.
Reign in the Storm
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