Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. There was hail and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck down everything that was in the field in all the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And the hail struck down every plant of the field and broke every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail.Exodus 9:23-26 ESV
Growing up in Oklahoma, I became quite familiar with the phenomenon of ice chunks falling from the sky. Spring brought with it severe weather of various types – tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and hail. It was not uncommon to see hail in such quantity that at first one might mistake it for snow. When I first discovered the power of prayer, I immediately started using my faith to protect us from the weather. I especially excelled at praying that my vehicle be protected from hail. I stood outside and spoke to the clouds, telling them to move on along. I was consistently protected. Others were not. Post-hailstorm car sales were a common Springtime occurrence, as car dealers had to move dented inventory. Goshen is better! Hail? NO!
Unlike Oklahoma, Egypt wasn’t used to destructive weather. It rarely rained or thundered, and any hail was very tiny and sparse. Thunder and fire were associated with judgement and destruction. They sacrificed to their various gods to protect and bless their agricultural endeavors. The destruction of their crops was a sign that Israel’s God was bigger than theirs. Yahweh was intent on making that point. Having already struck livestock, now He was going to destroy the rest of their food sources. When a crop was wiped out, famine often followed. Hail? Uh-oh!
In announcing the hailstorm to Egypt, God was unusually gracious. He went so far as to tell all the people of Egypt what was about to happen. Those who took heed had time to get their livestock inside. Some did, some didn’t. For the scoffers, any animals that had survived the pestilence were lost along with the grain. For all Egyptians their crops were ruined, but for Israel, it was plague-avoidance as usual: “Only in the land of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, was there no hail.” Hail? NO!
As New Covenant believers, we are part of the newly constituted people of God. For us the Goshen principle doesn’t require us to stay in a particular geographic location. Our Goshen is internal, a matter of the heart. As evidence of our heart, we do what we believe God asks of us. We know He wants our crops to flourish, not be destroyed in the fields. He has given us the wonderful ability to plant seed and expect it to bear fruit. Going all the way back to the Garden, the people of God have been designed to live from seed plant and harvest. In these last days, our provision will increasingly depend on the protection of God. We need our crops to come up and bear fruit. As the hail of judgment falls, we need to understand how the system works. We need to know how to stay in Goshen. Hail? NO!
Seed Plant Principles:
- The whole Kingdom works by seed plant and harvest. Mark 4:26-29
- There are 4 kinds of seed:
- The Word of God. Mark 4:14
- Good works. Galatians 6:7-10
- Offerings. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
- People. Matthew 13:36-39
- God provides seed, and multiplies the seed sown. 2 Corinthians 9:10
- The purpose of our daily work is to enable us to give. Ephesians 4:28
- The fruit of our giving is supposed to be abundance. 2 Corinthians 9:8
When it comes to financial provision, the Bible recognizes three general categories of giving, each with its own set of promises and purposes. We give offerings as praise and thanks to God and to help in His work. We give alms, or charitable giving, to alleviate the suffering of other people. Alms are financial “good works. Good works and offerings are included in the list of seeds given above. That’s how we sow. The third category of giving is the tithe. One function of the tithe is to keep the hail from destroying our harvest. It’s our guarantee that our seed will come up and produce. Hail? NO!
Somebody Said: I absolutely believe in the power of tithing and giving back. My own experience about all the blessings I’ve had in my life is that the more I give away, the more that comes back. That is the way life works, and that is the way energy works.Ken Blanchard
Scripture Reading: Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the LORD of hosts; And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the LORD of hosts.Malachi 3:10-12 NKJV
Here’s the Point: We live in a world that’s in continual upheaval. Egypt is getting pounded. As the people of God, we have the privilege of living by faith, sowing seed and reaping a harvest. We then use our harvest to help those under siege and to sustain ourselves. Our giving is really our source, not our burden. There are, however, forces at work to destroy the crop. The first challenge is to avoid being driven by fear into eating our seed instead of planting it. Having planted, we can either face the destruction that governs the world, or we can be Goshen-dwellers. Our crops can be protected by the Lord because we have given Him what is His: the tithe, the tenth part of all our increase.
I know this is a controversial subject. People ask, “Do I have to tithe?” The answer is simple: “No.” You can do whatever you like. It’s not a salvation issue. It won’t make God love you any more than He already does.” When I am asked, “Is the tithe for us today?” My answer is an enthusiastic. “I sure hope so!” Have you read the promises to the tither? The blessings of the tithe keep our crops flourishing when the world around us is being hammered. It keeps me living in Goshen. It’s my Holy Spirit crop insurance. Thank God for the privilege of the tithe! Because I am a tither, I can boldly say, “Hail? NO!”
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