In the biblical story of Joseph we see that God intervened in the history of Egypt to prevent the nation’s collapse during a time of drought and famine. Through young Joseph, God warned the most powerful nation of the day that there would be seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine.
“Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will deplete the land. So the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe” (Genesis 41:29-31 Genesis 41:29-31 29 Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:
30 And there shall arise after them seven years of famine; and all the plenty shall be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine shall consume the land;
31 And the plenty shall not be known in the land by reason of that famine following; for it shall be very grievous.
American King James Version×).
Lately I have been thinking a great deal about this story as the global financial crisis has been unfolding before us. Since last September, and really a year before that, we have seen a massive devaluation of wealth, business failures, financial collapse and rising unemployment. Some voices are even beginning to say that we will not regain the losses in our lifetime. It is a very sobering time.
We have several articles in this issue of World News and Prophecy dealing with the global recession. By now your life is being directly impacted by the effects of this downturn. Mine is. We are going to be living with the effects of this period for the rest of our lives. It is time for all of us to get used to this idea and take the necessary steps to survive these times.
The character of Joseph gives us insight into how we can deal with the economic situation. Joseph told Pharaoh, “Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt” (verse 33). Later, when Pharaoh determined that such a man was Joseph, Pharaoh asked, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?… Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you” (verses 38-39).
I conclude that the best that you and I can do—amidst world leadership that clearly does not fit the description of Joseph—is to make sure we are discerning and wise in how we handle our money, jobs and lives. Though much is out of our control on a national and global scale, we can control how we handle our own finances.
Live within your means. When you understand what is at the heart of our current crisis, you see it is because so many people chose not to live within their income. They were persuaded to live on cheap and easy consumer credit or to take out outlandish mortgages for property they could not really afford to buy and maintain. It was greed—pure and simple. Circumstances are now dictating that we live within our income. The party is over.
Just as Joseph put Egypt on a pay-as-you-go economy and saved for the lean years, so should you and I put back some cash. Pay raises are not forthcoming, and if our jobs are downsized, we are going to need cash to see us through. Reduce expenses and save something out of each paycheck while you can.
Each of us must learn from the character of Joseph and examine the policies he put in place to administer the economy of Egypt and guide it through a massive downturn. God will bless your efforts to manage your money and your life when you obey His laws and principles of financial management. They were the basis for sound economic policies for Joseph, and they are sound household policies for you and me today.
God’s financial principles can be understood and applied today. They will be the basis for economic prosperity when He sets His hand to restore all things in the coming Kingdom of God. Get a head start today, and build your life on the sound financial foundation of the world to come. WNP