It seems like the bad economic news just keeps coming. Last week’s jobs report reflects the worst numbers in the entire lifetime of Generation X. Hopefully the recession hasn’t impacted your business or family personally, but even as I write this line, I know that the likelihood is that it has — or at least some of the people in your life.

You may know by now that I’m not a “doom and gloom” guy. I’m about as positive and optimistic as they come. That being said, I don’t think that the worst of the economic news is behind us. Things are changing very rapidly, and will continue to do so. In fact, I believe that what’s ahead of us is different than we could’ve possibly imagined.

The Importance of Hearing God

A Listening Heart

A Listening Heart

Back in March, God began to call to my mind the time in Isaac’s life when God spoke to him about starting a new business during an economic crisis. The passage is in Genesis 26, and it’s worth taking some time to study. Here are some of the highlights:

  • God spoke to him not to move to Egypt, where the economy was better off (he was considering it).
  • He and his “tribe” of people were nomadic. Raising crops was not part of their livelihood.
  • Farms all around were going under — there was a famine. When this happens, it means that if you’re considering going into farming, now’s not a good time.
  • After listening to and obeying God, Isaac plants crops. His harvest was 100x what should’ve been expected from the amount that he planted. One… hundred… times…

You may have heard preachers refer to this story in the context of an offering — as though Isaac gave money to a ministry or to a prophet or priest or man of God. Nope. His “sowing seed” was the beginning of a new (albeit temporary) business.

Countless Promises

The Scriptures are full of promises from God for provision — even during economic hard times.

“I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger; But those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.” (Psalms 34:1-10 NKJV)

The problem is this: if you’re dealing with financial pressure, worry, anxiety, concern — either because of focusing on your own situation or due to the fear of what might be coming your way given the constant barrage of economic bad news — then you’re successfully distracted from listening to God. In times like this, it may take additional effort, energy, discipline and focus to silence your soul and dig deep enough to hear from God.

But it’s critical…

and worth it.

“Moreover, by them [the words of God] is Your servant warned (reminded, illuminated, and instructed); and in keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalms 19:11)

No one — not the best Wall Street analysts, the most qualified business consultants, the academicians in the ivory towers, nor the people attempting to pull the levers of the economy and our society — can predict what’s coming.

But by hearing from God, we can be

  • warned
  • reminded
  • illuminated, and
  • instructed.

If your life has, in other seasons, deceived you into thinking that hearing from God wasn’t critical or essential, then this season is one of those that will serve to teach you that it cannot be overlooked.

Had Isaac not heard from God, he wouldn’t have received the abundance that came his way during the famine of Genesis 26.

I don’t know about you, but right now, I’m working hard to cultivate a heart that hears from God. My life depends upon it.

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