Faith + Patience Part 55 – FEAST and FAVOR in FAMINE!

by Rick

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Today we continue our series entitled, “Faith and Patience Volume IV — The Wonder Twins.”  I am using Joseph as an excellent example of our need for patience.  We are seeking to learn from the different phases of Joseph’s life.  Let’s get into it.

(James 1:2-4 TPT)

2  My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! 

3  For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. 

4  And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.

(Ecc 3:1 ERV)

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.

(Gen 43:34 NIV)  

When portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s.  So they feasted and drank freely with him.

Setting the stage.

In our last message, we left Joseph sitting at a table by himself.  Joseph’s brothers sat at another table and to their amazement, they were arranged in order of their ages.  This was weird to them.  Somehow Joseph’s steward knew exactly how to sit them.  But they shrugged it off as some sort of coincidence.  The way they were seated meant that Benjamin, the youngest, was sitting at the end of the table.

What do we know about Benjamin?  We know that he had an eventful entrance into the world.  His mother, Rachel, died while giving birth to him.  Because of her pain, in her dying breath, Rachel asked Jacob to name the boy Ben-oni, which means, “Son of sorrow” or “Son of my pain.”  She wanted Jacob to always remember her and the pain of losing her every time he looked at the boy.  Thankfully, Jacob knew better than to name the boy after a painful experience.  He did not comply with his dying wife’s request.  Instead, he named the boy Ben-jamin, which means, “Son of my right hand” or “Son of good fortune.”  Although Benjamin entered the world through pain and suffering, at least his father would speak favor and blessing over him every time he called his name.

Once Benjamin got past his eventful entrance into the world, he had to deal with his family.  His only full blood-brother, from his late mother, Joseph, was taken from him at an early age and he was thought to be dead.  After losing Joseph, Jacob held on dearly to Benjamin.  The Bible does not document much of Jacob’s treatment of Benjamin, but it is safe to say that he treated him well.  The two closest people to Benjamin were taken from him at an early age.  He lost his mother to birth complications and he lost his brother to the hands of his conniving older brothers, but somehow it all worked out for Benjamin.  He was treated well at home, he benefited from the love and favor of his father, and when his brothers came and got him to take him away to a foreign land, the favor of God was still upon him.

So there Benjamin was, the youngest of the entire clan, sitting at the end of the table.  He was in a foreign land.  A strange Sultan was sitting alone during an extravagant feast and all the meals were prepared at the Sultan’s table.  One-by-one the meals left from his table went to his brothers.  One-by-one Benjamin looked at the sumptuous plates.  Every plate, ten in all, seemed the same; they were all seemingly loaded with delicious food.  This was a good break for the family.  After all, they were in the middle of a famine.  

Then the time came for little Benjamin to receive his plate. The plate came from the same table, from the same man, but it did not have the same portion.  Benjamin looked at his plate, and to his surprise, the plate had five times as much as the previous 10 that went to his brothers.  Oh oh!  Would they get mad?  Would they be jealous again?  No.  The tides had turned in Benjamin’s life.  Not only had he received favor from his father, and not only was he receiving the favor from a strange Sultan in a foreign land, but his brothers were also treating him well.  Instead of becoming jealous, they celebrated with him.

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  God can turn your life around in a moment.

— The tides in your life can turn at any moment.  Have you been experiencing challenges?  Benjamin had his share of challenges early off in life, but the blessing was on him.  The blessing was permanent and the challenges were temporary.  After the challenges subsided the blessing was still there and the blessing caused Benjamin to experience favor.  

— One Word from God can turn any seemingly hopeless situation around.

— Think of your life as a chessboard.  You are making moves and God is also influencing the game.  With one move God can cause things to SHIFT in your life to the point where you are overwhelmed with His goodness.  In one moment Jacobs’ boys were starving at home, in the middle of a famine, not knowing what they were going to do, with one of the brothers being held, hostage.  In the next moment, all the brothers are reunited and they are enjoying a feast in the middle of a famine.  Hold on!  Greater is coming for you!  It can happen at any time!

2.  Favor is not fair.

— Grace and favor fly in the face of merit.  When God favors you it has nothing to do with your performance or fairness with others.  It has everything to do with God’s goodness.

— God’s promotions are not always about fairness or equity.  David, as an example, was placed over the Army of Israel without ever having served in uniform one day.  This promotion came by grace and favor.  Why?  Because it was part of God’s plan for David’s life.  What happened for David will happen for you time and time again as you pursue your purpose.  When it does, don’t question God’s goodness and don’t focus on fairness.  God’s favor is not fair.

— The way I characterize favor is when God raises up people to use their power, their ability, their influence, and their money, to help you in ways you cannot help yourself.  That’s what happened to Benjamin in today’s text, it has happened for me many times, and as you walk with God it will happen for you!

— It was not fair for Benjamin to receive five times as much as his brothers.  But it happened because Benjamin had favor with Joseph.  Listen, don’t fight against God when He is giving you what you clearly do not deserve.  You may feel unworthy.  You may feel like it is not fair.  You may feel a lot of things.  But don’t let your feelings get in the way of God’s goodness.  

3.  God does not have a scarcity mindset.

I know you know people who would read today’s passage and say, “Wait a minute!  They were in the middle of a famine.  They should not be wasting food.  They should have rationed the food.  Do you know how many people they could have fed with that food?”  

— Just like God is not fair when He releases His favor, the blessing of the Lord often seems irrational.  God is abundant.  He is extravagant.  He is a God of overflow.  He is not afraid of running out of anything.  So while it is okay to be prudent and pragmatic, you must also realize that when God’s favor is flowing He can give you a FEAST in the middle of a FAMINE!

— Right now the world is dealing with a global pandemic.  The markets are up and down; but mainly down.  Many businesses are struggling to remain open.  This is real life.  But if our real God causes you to increase and overflow in the middle of a global famine, don’t fight against His goodness.

— Never live your life with the fear of running out.  Live your life with faith in running over!

Declaration of Faith

Father, I believe Your blessing in on my life.  No matter what I face, I face it knowing that it will eventually subside.  My challenges are temporary, but Your blessing permanent.  Your blessing is able to take me from experiences of sorrow and pain to experiences of blessing and favor.  The tides are turning.  You can cause me to increase, even in the middle of a global economic downturn.  GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

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