Proverbs for Preppers
When did you last have one of those “Doh!” moments? You know, one of those Homer Simpson slap-yourself-on-the-forehead, what-an-idiot-I’ve-been moments? Sometimes it’s because of something that you’ve said. More often it’s because of what you forgot to say.
Sandy and I were on national TV recently. We were featured on a show called Biblical Preppers that was broadcast on the Destination America cable channel. Many of you are probably reading this as a result of seeing us on the show. (Welcome. We hope you like what you see. Be sure to subscribe by filling in your email address in the box at the top of the column on the left. Thanks.) Those of you who have seen the show have the advantage over me. I haven’t seen it yet. I didn’t find out that it was being broadcast until the show was actually on and I missed the first half of it. That would be, of course, the half in which we were featured. I’ll catch one of their many reruns.
The production company sent a producer and video crew to our home for two days in December 2013. Two days after the crew had packed up and left, I slapped myself on the forehead and shouted, “Doh!” I had just realized that I left something out – probably the most important thing I wanted to communicate. I didn’t tell them what I believe about the things that are happening and the real reason why I became a prepper.
I believe that God’s hand of protection has been taken away from America.
America has its detractors and it’s easy to find fault with it at any time in its history, but I don’t think you can find a better place to be in the 200-plus years of its existence. That’s why people have flocked to its shores and continue to do so by the millions. Those who are critical of America ignore or discount all of the good things that this nation has done for the world. You can’t be on Facebook for fifteen minutes without seeing that someone has put up the poster that says the only ones who would freely die for you are Jesus Christ and the American soldier.
Yeah, we’ve been just that kind of place. We’ve been just that kind of people. But things are changing, and they are changing rapidly. This was once a nation that knew God and sought to follow Him. It used to be that when the word “God” was spoken in a room with 100 people, about 90 of them would have the same thoughts about God go through their heads — who He is, what He’s like, etc. That is far from the case today.
At work I am required to ask people what their religion or denomination preference is. Overwhelmingly, the most common answer is “none.” For some people that means that they see no distinction in one religion from another – any one is as good as another. For others it means that they want to be free from religion and any thoughts of God at all. They don’t want to be ultimately accountable to anyone. To them, God is dead or never existed in the first place. But increasingly, especially among people under the age of 35 or so, when I ask the question about their preference, they don’t even understand the words that I’m speaking. I repeat it, thinking that they didn’t hear me, but it’s not the volume that’s the problem. It’s the vocabulary. They don’t know what the words “religion” or “denomination” mean. Honest to God! They live in a society that is so far removed from God that they have no words for Him or His culture. And friends, while it may not be the case around you and your immediate family and associates, it’s the society in which you live today, too.
God has been systematically removed from America for the past 50 years. My company held its annual Day of Prayer yesterday during which we prayed for our employees, clients, and key contacts by name. We prayed for one woman at a client company who, if you mention a problem or difficulty, will openly tell you that’s she will pray for you, and always closes every call with a “God bless you.” We marveled that she is allowed to get away with that at a major U.S. corporation in this day and age. Such speech is increasingly becoming prohibited in America today. Someone might become offended. We shouldn’t pray for people. We should never bless them in the name of God. Not in the workplace. Someone might complain. Or they might even file a lawsuit against us. This is the kind of place that America has become in my lifetime. Keep God to yourself or suffer the consequences. You will be persecuted prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Culture does, too. If you take something out, something else will move in to take its place. America is increasingly removing God from our society. People are turning away from the God who has blessed them, led them, and protected them. So what takes His place? Lawlessness. A casting off of all restraints. Corruption of moral standards, justice, and God’s word. (For more on this, see this hard hitting article.)
How does God feel about? A close reading of Jeremiah chapter 2 will spell it all out:
The word of the Lord came to me. “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the Lord says: “‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,’” declares the Lord.
Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob, all you clans of Israel. This is what the Lord says: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’ I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.”
That second paragraph tears my heart out. God is asking the people He has loved and cared for and who have turned their back on Him, “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols.” Some might hear that spoken as an accusation. I hear it as spoken from a grieved and broken heart. Still, God’s justice demands that He judge such behavior. Read his response to being abandoned by the people from the latter half of Jeremiah 2:
“Therefore I bring charges against you again,” declares the Lord. “And I will bring charges against your children’s children. Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this: Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.
Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the Lord. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth? Why then has he become plunder? Lions have roared; they have growled at him. They have laid waste his land; his towns are burned and deserted. Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have cracked your skull.
Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the Lord your God when he led you in the way? Now why go to Egypt to drink water from the Nile? And why go to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates? Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.”
Jeremiah is the story of God calling His wayward people to repentance over and over again, and their stubborn refusal to listen to God, heed His warnings, acknowledge that they had strayed from Him, and return to Him. As a result, God disciplines them by sending the Babylonians to eat their lunch in the bag they brought it in and carry them off to captivity for 70 years.
I believe that America is guilty of everything that brought judgment and destruction on the Israelites. I believe that God is calling us to repentance, but America is stepping up its resistance to Him instead of returning to Him. And I believe that God is removing His hand of protection from America.
That’s why I prep. I believe judgment is coming. Like Noah, I’m building an ark, so to speak. I trust God, but I see trouble coming and I take action.
And that’s what I forgot to say on TV.
I was listening to the radio in the car today and caught a snippet of a message by Chuck Swindoll. The title of it was “1 + 1 = Survival.” That will get a prepper’s attention! I only caught a couple of minutes of it, but it was enought to inspire this total rip-off of Chuck’s message. Thanks, Chuck.
Chuck’s was teaching from the book of Ecclesiastes, one of the “wisdom books” in the Bible. Bible scholars attribute much of Ecclesiastes to Israel’s King Solomon, who was reportedly the wisest man who ever lived. Wise, but not perfect. He screwed up a lot, but he learned from his mistakes. I’m glad he had the humility to share his mistakes and the lessons he learned from them with posterity.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation)
9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.
Trying to go it alone isn’t wise. It’s not easy, either, as you well know if you’ve been trying to do it all by yourself. America was built upon the concept of “rugged individualism,” but that doesn’t mean isolation from others. Your survivability will increase if you can find even one other like-minded person to band together with you.
Prepping can be a lonely pursuit. I recently saw a stat that said it’s estimated that somewhere around 3 million people in America are prepping for a coming emergency. Think of it — millions of preppers! It sounds like a lot, until you consider that there are over 300 million people in America right now. That reduces the stat to just 1 in 100. One percent. And how many of those are really pursuing it as actively as you are? Being a part of a prepper community, even if it’s just a community of two, can help you stay focused and fill in the gaps in your preps.
“If either falls, his companion can lift him up.”
Ecclesiastes points out the benefits of being in a mutually committed partnership. Falling can be a metaphor for a lot of things — failing, becoming discouraged, giving up, or literally being physically unable to do something by yourself. Having a committed partner to help you up when you’re down can be the difference between achieving your goals or joining the ranks of the 99% who aren’t prepared. The 99% not only won’t have the resources or inclination to help you in an emergency, they’ll be coming to you for help. And they’re also to likely be the ones who discourage you from prepping now. Having a committed partner is good, but it’s even better to be a committed partner for others. Living out that kind of character will get you through situations that you wouldn’t think possible until you’re tested.
“If two lie down together, they can keep warm.”
This isn’t about cuddling or sleeping together. This is about synergy. There is an efficiency that comes from partnership. A team of two can accomplish more than two individuals working separately could ever do. Is it possible to do a lot of things alone? Sure, but it’s much easier when you have a helping hand. It also tends to be more fun.
“If someone overpowers one person, two can resist him.”
There’s safety in numbers, even if the number is only two. We all need someone to watch our back. We all have blind spots that others see in us, but that we don’t know about. That’s why they’re called blind spots. Having a trusted partner to clue us in on what we’re not seeing is a real plus. It requires humility and a teachable spirit on our part, and it requires gentleness and tact on the part of the one bringing the correction. (Note: If gentleness and tact don’t move your partner in the right direction, try a swift kick in the pants. One or the other should do it. Different strokes for different folks.) And of course this passage could also be literally applied to the area of personal security. By myself, I could be an easy target for those with bad intentions. It’s nice to have a wingman. I’ve got to sleep sometime. I need someone to stand guard while I’m getting some shut-eye.
“A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
If two is good, then finding a third like-mind, committed prepping partner is the hot-diggity bomb. One or two people still have to do it all themselves. Bring more committed folks on board and you can start to specialize. Capitalize upon one another’s strengths and expertise. Do more of the stuff that you really like to do and do it better. You’ll still have to do some nasty tasks that no one wants to do (and it will inevitably feel like you do more of them than anyone else), but being part of a unit will supercharge your preps. Shoot, you might even qualify for bulk discounts when you buy supplies.
In a subtle way, Scripture is nudging us toward inviting God to be our “third strand.” Faith can be a strong motivator. It can give you a sense of purpose that transcends the struggles of this life and reaches into eternity. It can teach you to persevere against overwhelming odds. Scripture teaches us that through faith in God, “one can put a 1,000 to flight, and two can put 10,000 to flight.”
Where are the preppers?
So how do you go about finding like-minded folks in your area? It’s not easy. I drop an occasional vague comment about something related to prepping in casual conversations (striving to maintain some degree of OPSEC and to not look like a card-carrying member of the Tinfoil Hat Society) and see if anyone takes the bait. To be quite honest, I haven’t gotten good results with that approach, but I still feel like it’s worth trying.
So how else can you hook up with like-minded folks? Here are some web sites that can help:
- PrepperGroups.com/ Prepper groups and only prepper groups. Or people who want to find or form a prepper group. There’s a box near the top left corner that says “Preppers by location”. Right under that you can click on “Select category” to open up a drop down box of locations across the U.S. and around the world.
- AmericanPreppersNetwork.net/ Besides having a forum that is a wealth of information, there is a map on the home page where you can select Prepper Meetup Groups and it will display what they have listed in your area. I didn’t find some of the groups that I located through PrepperGroups.com/ here, so I don’t know what their criteria is, but it’s worth a shot.
- Meetup.com/find/ This site isn’t just for preppers, but you might be able to find prepper groups in your area on it. Just enter your zip code and the number of miles you’re willing to travel to meet-up with folks and it will do the rest for you. They list all kinds of groups, so you can specify “prepper” in the search box to narrow it down to just those. They have lots of groups for all kinds of non-prepper related special interests, if you’re into something else. My wife and I participate in a number of meet-ups, some for business and blogging, others just for fun.
Finally, stick around. We hope to form our own virtual prepper community through this blog soon. No telling who you might meet.
Prepping is all in your head. Well, not all in your head, but more so than you may think. There are still issues of having clean water to drink, food to eat, and so forth. But I’ve seen these maxims repeated many times in my reading about preparedness:
- Survival isn’t so much about what you carry in your backpack as it is what you carry in your head (not to mention that the stuff you carry in your head tends to be a bit lighter and easier to lug around)
- Survival isn’t so much about the supplies that you’ve accumulated as it is about the skills that you’ve learned
- Survival oftentimes comes down to a mindset and determination that you will go on, regardless of the obstacles that you are facing
Training your mind by learning and practicing new skills, and developing new attitudes or perspectives may get you through more tough times than a sack of rice and a can of beans.
Interestingly, the Bible teaches the same thing.
Sandy and I lead a weekly Bible study at a nursing home. We’re currently going through the book of 1st Peter. The author of this short epistle is the same Peter who was one of Jesus’ apostles and first disciples. He wrote this letter about 30 years after Jesus’ resurrection to address a serious concern that had arisen in the Christian community. The Roman emperor at that time was a fellow named Nero. Nero didn’t like Christians. He forced Christian men to become gladiators and fight to the death in the Coliseum. He had Christian women and children thrown to starving lions to be mauled to death and eaten, also as a public spectacle for the entertainment of the masses. When he hosted garden parties, he had Christians covered in hot tar, then lashed to stakes and set ablaze (while alive) to serve as torches to light the patio.
Nero didn’t like Christians. To Nero, “Christian” = “criminal”. Anything and everything that went wrong, from litter in the streets to the burning of Rome, was blamed on Christians. Persecution of Christian believers was harsh and it was spreading. Peter wrote his first epistle to address this issue. How should a believer respond to these attacks?
Peter’s first prescription for dealing with the coming persecution was, “Therefore, prepare your minds for action” (1 Pet. 1:13, NIV). He skips over stockpiling food, water, guns and ammo, and goes straight to mindset. Prepare your minds for action.
The translation of this passage found in the old King James Bible is more picturesque: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind.” In biblical times, men wore long robes. That was fine for walking into town or sitting around telling stories, but when you had to spring into action, those long robes could get in the way. They needed to grab the excess fabric and tuck it into their waistband to shorten the robe and get it out of the way. This is how men prepared themselves to run or go into battle.
Peter tells us that the first step toward surviving persecution is to prepare our minds for action. So what mental preparations do we need to make?
- “Be self-controlled” (1 Pet. 1:13, NIV). No further commentary or direction is given to this command. It’s assumed to be self-explanatory. Our thoughts and the actions that spring from them are to be deliberate and planned. We shouldn’t be operating out of knee-jerk reactions, but from pre-determined resolve.
- “Come to a final decision to place your hope on the grace which is going to be brought to you at the revealing of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13, Wm. Barclay’s translation). Two issues here.
- The first is to stop straddling the fence when it comes to our faith in Jesus Christ. We can’t successfully “gird up the loins of our mind” if we’re wishy-washy on this core tenet of faith. I’ve bet it all on Jesus Christ as being my Savior. I’ve gone “all in.” I’m not counting on Jesus some of the time, or hoping for Jesus plus something else. When I meet Saint Peter (Yes! The same guy who wrote this letter!) at the pearly gates and he asks me why I should be let into Heaven, my only answer will be because of what Jesus Christ did for me.
- The second point of this passage is that we aren’t supposed to place our hope in this world and this life, but in the one to come, when Jesus Christ returns. Persecution was coming to believers and was already well underway. People were losing their jobs because of being unwilling to renounce their Christian faith or to worship the emperor as a god by making a token sacrifice to him. Homes and property were being confiscated by the government. Families were being separated and believers were being hauled off to prison for their faith. The proper mindset in that set of circumstances is to not place our hope in this world and this life, but in the life that is promised to us when Christ returns.
- “Be holy in all that you do” (1 Pet. 1:15, NIV). The best definition of “holy” is “different from” or “other than.” The Holy Bible is different from all other books. God is “holy” because He is not like anything thing or anyone else. We, too, as believers, are supposed to be distinct from the world around us. We’re not supposed to be just like everyone else. A key principle of prepper OPSEC (operational security) is to become “gray” – to blend into the background and not be noticed by the world. There is a degree of wisdom there, and undoubtedly at time when that is called for. But a Christian should still be distinct and different from the world around him through his beliefs, attitudes, and actions – all these things spring from mindset.
- “Love one another deeply” (1 Pet. 1:22, NIV). Love is a verb. It’s an “action” word. Love isn’t a sentiment. It’s a commitment, a purpose, and a sacrifice. You offer and risk something of value to yourself to love another. Love doesn’t always pay off. Your act of love may be rejected, misunderstood, or taken advantage of. But don’t give up. Don’t stop loving. Love one another deeply. Profoundly. Lastingly.
Mindset is the key to survival. In 1941, during the devastating air raids of the Second World War, Winston Churchill addressed the student body of a school that he had attended and shared these words with them:
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy…These are not dark days; these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race.”
Arm yourself with the right mindset. Prepare your mind for what may come and you’ll be miles ahead when it arrives.
“It is impossible to rightly govern the world
without God and the Bible.”
This quote, often attributed to George Washington may or may not have actually been said by him. Whether or not, it seems that it is an accurate composite of many statements made in a variety of speeches.
We find ourselves, from time to time, being governed by people who do not adhere to God’s ways and His expressed standards. We are led by fallible people who, even if they are best intentioned, are sinners – as are you and I.
A missionary visit our church about a year ago and she cited these statistics:
- 250,000 Christians are martyred for their faith each year based on a military intelligence source.
- 171,000 Christians are martyred for their faith each year based on reporting in the magazine Christianity Today.
- Therefore during a typical church service, 30,000 people are being martyred!
Wow! If you are blessed to be a believer living in the United States, there’s a good chance that:
- You didn’t know these statistics; and
- You’ve been complaining a lot lately about how our country is sliding away from faith and embracing activities and lifestyles that are not consistent with God’s Word.
Yes, as a country, we have been in moral decline for many, many years. And yet, we still have more religious freedom and less persecution than most countries in the world. Perhaps we ought to be doing less complaining and more praying and repenting.
I read the book of Amos this week and was struck by how many of the judgments against Israel we are experiencing as a nation. Read Amos chapter 4 particularly and consider our weather patterns, the terrorist attacks against our nation, the wars in which we are losing brave young men and women, and the divisiveness that characterizes much of our national discourse.
I believe we are experiencing the beginning judgment of God and are drawing ever nearer to the serious judgment of God.
On this fourth of July, this day to celebrate the birth of our nation, take some time to:
- Remember and pray for those around the world who live in countries who actively persecute those who call on the name of Christ.
- Praise God for the blessings of this country.
- Pray that we would return to being a nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Remember that Christ set us free to become slaves of righteousness (Romans 6). Praise God for your freedom – both from sin and for living in a free country – and step into your role as salve of righteousness or slave of God. Pray, in humility and brokenness for the United States – that we would return to God – and live in submission to God’s ways. The continuation of our nation as a place where we are free to worship the One True God is at stake. God has made it clear that it is His people who must humble themselves, pray, seek His face and turn from their (our) wicked ways. Only then will He turn toward us, make His face to shine upon us, forgive our sins and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Celebrate the 4th of July thinking about more than barbeques and parades – and enjoy both yourself, your country and your God.
I got a little long-winded with the previous two installments in this series on the Genesis Preppers. I don’t have a lot to say about this one, so it will be short, sweet, and to the point.
In Genesis chapter 13, Abraham and Lot have acquired so much livestock that their shepherds are continually quarreling with each other over pasture land. Lot decides to separate from Abraham and choose the lush and abundantly watered region near Sodom to be his new home.
In chapter 14, King Chedorlaomer and four other kings plot a raid on Sodom, Gomorrah, and two other towns. They sweep in and take Lot and a bunch of other folks captive. One of the survivors of the battle dashed out to Abraham and told him that his nephew Lot had been taken captive.
Here comes the prepper part. Genesis 14:14-15 — “When Abram heard that his relative had been taken prisoner, he assembled his 318 trained men, born in his household, and they went in pursuit as far as Dan. And he and his servants deployed against them by night, attacked them, and pursued them as far as Hobah to the north of Damascus.”
Did you catch that? Abram had 318 trained men in his household. The Hebrew word that is translated as “trained” here also means “practiced.” In the following verse we see that these servants deployed against the forces of these five kings and defeated them.
Father Abraham didn’t go looking for a fight, but he was well prepared if one ever came to him. 318 men make quite a force to equip, train, and run drills with, but that is exactly what this passage implies.
Preparing for tough times includes preparing to defend yourself against those who would attack you or your loved ones. Chedolaomer and company were guilty of kidnapping and robbery. Abraham responded with deadly force, a force that was equipped and practiced in the art of warfare.
Did God disapprove of Abraham’s actions? Apparently not, because verses 18-20 go on to tell us: “Then Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; he was a priest to God Most High. He blessed him and said: Abram is blessed by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and give praise to God Most High who has handed over your enemies to you.”
The moral of the story is that self-defense is a vital part of preparedness. For some of you, it’s an area that you gravitate toward first in your preparedness plan, but for others there is a deeply ingrained Christian pacifist mindset that has to be dealt with. I understand. I used to be a Quaker. Now I’m a former Quaker who owns and knows how to use a handgun, a carbine, and a shotgun. I don’t own them to take what’s yours, but to protect what’s mine.
Just like Father Abraham.
Joseph, son of Jacob from the book of Genesis, is one of my favorite people in the Bible. He was the next-to-youngest of the twelve sons of Jacob. Jacob had four wives, but only one true love. That was Rachel, who was Joseph’s mother. It was undoubtedly Jacob’s love for Rachel that caused her son Joseph to be his favorite of his twelve sons.
This blatant favoritism caused Joseph’s ten older brothers to despise him. His father treated him to a coat that was the envy of the whole family. “Why just him and not us?” And Joseph had dreams in which all of his brothers and even his parents would one day bow down to him. He was foolish enough to tell his brothers about those dreams. They already hated him. Why did he have to give them more fuel for the fire?
His brothers wanted him dead, but then his brother Judah (the head of the tribe that Jesus is descended from) found a way to profit from Joseph’s demise. Instead of outright killing him, they could sell him into slavery and split the money between them. Yeah, that’s the ticket!
The book of Genesis has 50 chapters and Joseph is the star of the show in 14 of them. Although his life is scrutinized in Scripture, nowhere does it say anything negative about him. He is presented as a man of sterling character in the face of some unimaginably difficult circumstances, a man who flourishes in every setting, borne along by an unshakable faith in God.
Joseph is cherished by his father, but despised by his older brothers. He is sold into slavery and manages his master Potiphar’s house brilliantly until he is falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife as her revenge for his refusal to commit adultery with her. He is thrown into prison where he is once again blessed by God with success at everything he does, leading to his promotion to Head Trustee. In that capacity, he meets two high officials of Pharaoh’s court who have been imprisoned with him. Through his gift of dream interpretation, Joseph correctly foretells the fate of both prisoners, but is promptly forgotten by the one who is released.
Two years later, Pharaoh has two troubling dreams that no one can tell him the meaning of. Then his jailbird cupbearer remembers Joseph, the Hebrew trustee who interpreted both his and royal baker’s dreams, and both came out exactly as he had said. After years steadfast service to God through slavery, false accusation, imprisonment, and abandonment, Joseph is summoned from the dungeon to stand before the most powerful man on earth and interpret dreams that no one else could decipher.
No pressure, right?
Humbly giving all credit to God for what he is about to reveal, Joseph tells Pharaoh the ultimate good news / bad news story. The good news is that the nation of Egypt is about to begin seven years of record-shattering productivity. There will be bumper crops like have never been seen before and prosperity will saturate the land. The bad news is that those seven years will be followed by seven years of famine that will be so severe that no one will remember the good times that preceded them. Prosperity will be swallowed up by abject poverty.
Wow. Bummer. So what do we do?
What you need to do is not blow it all as fast as it comes in. You can still live well during the good times while you sock away provisions for the hard times to come. God will bless you with enough now to carry you through the famine, but only if you manage it properly. Only if you save it and store it and preserve it and show some foresight and restraint. You’ll be OK if you plan ahead and live below your means today so that you can meet your needs tomorrow.
Noah was the first of the Genesis Preppers that we looked at. Except for liking animals a lot, I’m not much like Noah. Noah was a guy who was good at working with his hands. He built a monster of a ship. For all I can tell, it might have been the first ship of all time, and it was a doozy. He was a real survivalist. He stepped off his ship onto an empty planet and had the skills to begin rebuilding the world. Me? I get confused about which end of a hammer you’re supposed to hold onto.
I bring this up because conventional prepper wisdom holds that there is just too much stuff for one guy to manage on his own. You need to get a team of specialists together to be able to survive doomsday successfully. You need a construction worker, a mechanic, a doctor, a security specialist, a farmer, a hunter, etc. Nowhere does it say that you need a middle-aged desktop publisher. Nowhere does it say that you should look for a guy who knows how to format documents and proofread really well. So when I look at Noah, I’m inclined to say to myself, “You’re not gonna make it, dude. You ain’t got the chops.”
But then I look at Joseph. He was an interpreter of dreams. Like the others, this isn’t a skill that I possess, but I see that it was something that God placed in him and something that he used for the glory of God and the good of mankind. If I just focus on those things, I’ll be OK. And so will you.
I believe that preparing for the future, come what may, is both wise and biblical. In the days to come, we will launch a series of blog posts that we call Proverbs for Preppers which highlight Scripture’s teaching on making yourself ready for a variety of future events, but today we want to turn our attention to a great role model for preparedness from the book of Genesis — Noah.
Noah was a uniquely righteous man who lived in a time of extreme violence and sinfulness. Of all the people on the earth, only Noah found favor with God. God spoke to Noah and revealed His plans to him. He was going to bring destruction on the entire earth. God instructed Noah to build an ark that would shelter his family and the animals for the duration of the coming flood, and to store an adequate supply of food. Nothing was going to be left on the earth. I could just see Noah on Doomsday Preppers: “I’m preparing for a cataclysmic flood that will destroy the entire planet.”
Can you say TEOTWAWKI? (The End Of The World As We Know It.) Noah had to pack away enough stuff to prepare for starting civilization from scratch.
Many Bible scholars believe that it had never rained on the earth prior to the Flood. Genesis 2:6 talks about how water came out of the ground to water the plants on the surface of the land. Noah was preparing for rain (and lots of it) at a time when rain had never happened. Is it any wonder that his neighbors considered him to be a mad man? So it is with many of us who prepare for future calamities, especially unprecedented ones.
Note that while God revealed His plans to Noah and instructed him to prepare for disaster, God didn’t do the work for him. Noah had to build the ark. Noah had to gather and store the food. Did God take care of him? You bet He did! But God didn’t hand it all to him on a silver platter. Noah had to do the work himself. And so it is with us today. God reveals Himself to us. He reveals His plans to us. He gives us impressions and convictions from the circumstances that surround us. And then we have to do the work. We pray and seek God through the whole process, but we work while we pray. We’re like Nehemiah’s construction crew, rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem to prepare for the Israelites to return from the Babylonian captivity. They worked with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other hand. They prayed and they took action. They had faith in God to protect them and they armed themselves for war.
There are many Christians who don’t prepare, but instead look to their faith in God to provide for them. Noah had more faith in God than anyone in his time, and his faith was proven by his actions. God was calling Noah to take action. If he had refused to do so and simply relied on God to “take care of him,” it would have been disobedience and sin.
God hasn’t spoken directly to me as He did to Noah, but I believe that God is prompting me through my observation of the signs of the times (Matt. 16:2-3) to get prepared. Since you’re reading this, I suspect that you might be in the same boat as me, or at least beginning to consider it. My prayer for you is the same as it is for myself: that you would hear God clearly, that you would take appropriate action at the appropriate time, that you would be thoroughly equipped and trained to be able to thrive through any difficult circumstances that may come your way, and that out of the abundance of God’s provision and your faithful stewardship that you would be able to meet the needs of your family and to be a blessing to many others.