Day 6: A Lesson in Prudence

"The seven years of abundance came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food."

Genesis 42:53-54, NIV 


The life of Joseph has always interested me. Part of God's eternal purpose was to make Israel into a great nation, and Joseph played an important role in that plan. First, Joseph was sold into Egypt by his jealous brothers. Next, he was falsely accused by the wife of his new master and thrown into prison. Then, he was put in charge of his fellow prisoners and finally he was freed and placed as second in command over all of Egypt.


Not exactly the route we would might have chosen had we been the ones doing the planning, but it was God who was doing the planning and, of course, His plan turned out perfect.


God had revealed to Pharaoh through a dream that He was about to bring seven years of plenty on the land, followed by seven years of famine. Since it was Joseph that God revealed the meaning of the dream through, Pharaoh wisely (and, no doubt, providentially) set Joseph in charge of making preparations for the famine. Joseph did this so effectively that not only was Egypt saved, but so were all in the rest of the world who came to Egypt for their food. 


While there are many lessons that one can learn from this glimpse of history, it is the lesson in prudence that I want to expand on today. Egypt survived because they planned for adversity. This salvation was obviously from God (as was the adversity) but the point is that they planned, they prepared, and they survived.


As a student of the history of economics, I have noticed how often this template has worked. Whether it was the wild money printing days of Germany after WW I, the reckless spending of America's "roaring twenties", or the days leading up to conflict in WW II, there were always a few people who noted what was going on and who made preparations for the inevitable downturn. Those who stocked up their pantries, paid down their bills, and who had a bit put by in savings were able to adjust to these crises brought on by the hyper-inflation of post WW I Germany, the Great depression of the Thirties and the "seven lean years" of WW II.


I think prudence dictates that we do the same. Now, no, I am not predicting some sort of calamity, but I do know that the world's bankers are printing up a lot of money right now. I do know that the world is less peaceful than it was just a few years ago. I also know that God cannot be pleased with our slide into immorality. Don't you think that it is barely possible that He might do something to get our attention? Have you ever considered that there might be divine consequences for a nation so evil that it demands that grown men be allowed to share bathrooms and locker rooms with our wives and daughters?


Maybe we should... think about such things. 


I also know that jobs can be lost, medical problems can arise, cars can need to be replaced, and a hundred other things can happen that can make our lives a bit "leaner" from time to time. That's why I have recommended to people for years that they give a bit of thought to the future - that they stock up their pantries to have at least a month's food supply on hand, that they pay down their bills and not live beyond their means, and that they have a bit put aside for the emergencies that inevitably will happen from time to time.


I know that some will say this type of foresight in nothing more than a lack of trust in God, but I have noticed that God has always been pleased with a prudent lifestyle, and I am convinced that we ought to employ that prudence in order to serve Him better in good times and in bad.


"Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. Ecclesiastes 11:2, NIV 


Today is day 6 of the thirty day challenge to read through the Books of Moses, with Genesis 36-42 being the reading for the day. May God bless you richly as you seek Him, and as you begin to make the most important plans of preparing your soul for eternal life!