We know famine has been prophesied to occur in the final days before Yeshua's return. In Mt.24:7 Yeshua said there would be famines and earthquakes in various places which are the beginning of the great tribulation period. He also told us in Rev.6:5-8 that famine is part of the third and fourth seals that are yet in the future. We also read in Rev.11:3-6 that the two witnesses will prophesy for three and one half years during which no rain will fall causing famines.
Yahweh has warned us, through His prophetic word, that famine is coming. The question is, what should a believer do about it? Should we store food in preparation for it or should we put our trust in Yahweh to provide for us?
First, let's look at some Scriptures supporting food storage.
Example of Joseph
"This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What Elohim is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh. Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt: 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;" (Gen.41:28-30).
Pharaoh had two dreams that Joseph interpreted as resulting in famine. He then tells Pharaoh what to do about this prophetic warning.
"Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine." (Gen.41:33-36).
A wise man will heed the warning and store food because he has faith that Yahweh's word will come to pass.
Let's look at the results of this famine.
"And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house. And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth." (Gen.47:13-15).
Egypt is a type of the coming beast system of Revelation that will rule in the future. Pharaoh is a type of its leader. Once the famine begins the only way to get food is by dealing with the beast. First you use all your money buying food (if money is still available and useable).
"And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail. And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year." (Gen.47:16-17).
Then you sell or trade your car, furniture, computer, etc. to get food.
"When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands: Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate. And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's. And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof. Only the land of the priests bought he not; for the priests had a portion assigned them of Pharaoh, and did eat their portion which Pharaoh gave them: wherefore they sold not their lands. Then Joseph said unto the people, Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh: lo, here is seed for you, and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones. And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants." (Gen.47:18-25).
The final step is to sell your house, your land, and yourself as a slave in order to get food. People in the future famine will bow down to the beast and accept its mark in order to buy food. (Pharaoh's religious leaders or priests were exempt from all this just as the beast's religious leaders will also be exempt). When money becomes worthless and famine strikes, we will have to deal with the beast if we want to eat. This will lead to selling yourself or compromising your religious beliefs unless you prepare in advance by storing food.
"And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion." (1 Kings 9:19).
In wisdom, Solomon built storehouses and store cities so he and the Israelites would not become slaves to anyone. In Ex.1:11 we read about Egypt's store cities, Pithom and Rameses. We can also read about the stores of Yahoshaphat, Hezekiah, Naphtali, and David. Throughout history people always stored food. It wasn't until relatively recently that food has become so readily available. It has caused us to rely totally upon grocery store shelves for food, rather than on our own storage shelves, in times of need. Hurricane Hugo opened my eyes to this when I lived in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. In a matter of ours after the storm there was practically no food available. People had to hope the government would provide food. If they hadn't, we would have had more chaos than we did. As it was, people were looting everywhere to get every last bit of food or supplies left. When the economy collapses and famine sets in, the government won't be able to feed us as quickly. Wisdom suggests we store food in preparation for the coming famine.
Example of nature
"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest." (Prov.6:6-8).
The ant avoids the times of scarcity and famine by storing food in advance as do squirrels and other animals. We would be wise to consider its ways.
Example of the Prodigal Son
"And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!" (Luke 15:11-17).
"Prodigal" means to spend excessively or squander away wealth. The son squandered away all he had so that when the famine came he was not prepared for it. He had to end up doing something detestable to an Israelite, working with swine. The same thing can easily happen to us if we do not prepare.
"The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want . . .There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up." (Prov.21:5,20).
"And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack." (2 Cor.8:10-15).
We can be a blessing to those who are in want during the coming famine. We should diligently prepare for such a time an opportunity.
Yahweh commands food storage
"And Yahweh spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto Yahweh. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for Yahweh: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land." (Lev.25:1-5).
"Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store." (Lev.25:18-22).
Land must rest, just as man must rest, so that its nutrients and minerals will be replenished. This is a biblical principle for all land, not just Israel. If we observe this principle, we must store enough food in the sixth year to last through the seventh and eighth years. During a Jubilee year we are to store enough food to last through the ninth year or a total of three years. So, if famine were to occur, we would be prepared because we stored food in obedience to Yahweh's commandment.
Yahweh will bless your obedience
"Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am Yahweh. If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; . . . ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new." (Lev.26:2,3,10,).
Even if we are only able to store a few months worth of food, Yahweh can bless it and multiply it according to our needs. But if we don't store at all and only rely on grocery stores to feed us, there will not be any stored food to bless or multiply.
Trusting in Yahweh
There are several Scriptures that could be used to show that we don't need to store food because Yahweh will provide. Let's look at them.
"In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword. Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth." (Job 5:20-22).
These statements were made by Eliphaz, not Job. It was his understanding that the righteous never suffer (4:7) when the truth is, they do. He believed Job was suffering because he had sinned against Yahweh when, in fact, that was not the case. So these verses are unfounded (although certainly Yahweh can protect us during famine or war). Many saints have died by the sword and by wild beasts, especially during the days of the Roman persecution of believers.
"Behold, the eye of Yahweh is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine." (Ps.33:18-19).
"Yahweh knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied." (Ps.37:18-19).
To fear Yahweh and to be upright are two ways to avoid starvation during famine. Both ways require obedience to Yahweh's laws including His land sabbaths and food storage commandments. He will keep us alive during famine because we are obedient, a fruit of our faith. Also, David wrote Psalm 37 and he stored food.
The most important Scriptures used to oppose food storage are found in Luke 12:16-31.
"And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But Elohim said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward Elohim." (Luke 12:16-21).
The issue here is not food storage, but greed. Everything this man did was for himself, not others. He had worldly riches, but he did not have a relationship with Yahweh. Now Yeshua qualifies his statements in verses 22-31.
"And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and Elohim feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then Elohim so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of [Yahweh]; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Luke 12:22-31).
Yeshua was trying to teach his disciples to first seek Yahweh's Kingdom and His righteousness and then all those things would be provided as opposed to worrying about those things first without having a relationship with Yahweh. If these verses teach us to not store food, then they also teach us to not have winter clothes in our closets in preparation for the cold weather.
It is not a lack of faith to store food. It is an act of faith in Yahweh's prophetic word coming to pass and then exercising prudent care as a result. Over anxious, obsessive concern is not permitted, but prudent care is.
We don't trust in stored food to save us. We trust in Yahweh to do that. It is useless to store food without first having a pleasing relationship with our Heavenly Father. Yahweh does not have to miraculously feed us with manna from heaven during famine, although He could, but instead, He has given us prior warning and commanded us to store food. Wisdom suggests we do just that.
Wisdom says you should build your house on a firm foundation rather than on sand and having faith that Yahweh will protect it.
Wisdom says don't swim in shark infested waters rather than doing so and having faith that Yahweh will protect you.
Let's look at two Scriptures and an analogy.
"Because thou hast made Yahweh, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone." (Ps.91:9-12).
Verses 11 and 12 were used by the Adversary in his temptation of Yeshua in Mt.4:5-7;
"Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of Elohim, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Yeshua said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt [Yahweh] thy Elohim." (Mt.4:5-7).
Are we putting Yahweh to the test by expecting Him to miraculously feed us during famine? Is there any difference between Yeshua jumping off and trusting in Yahweh to save him and us not storing food and trusting in Yahweh to save us?
Let's close this study by reading the words of the Apostle Paul to the Romans;
"Who shall separate us from the love of Messiah? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of [Yahweh], which is in Messiah Yeshua our Master."
The famine is coming. Whether we store food or not, the famine will not separate us from Yahweh or Yeshua. However, I believe we can be used by Yahweh to feed many brothers and sisters in hard times and we can spread the good news at the same time. Starving people will come to us begging for food. We can provide both physical food and spiritual food.
We are useless to Yahweh as long as we are dead. Paul tried to save his life several times for the evangel's sake. We are not trying to escape death so we can enjoy worldly pleasures a little longer. We are escaping death to continue Yahweh's work a little longer and, perhaps, snatch one more person from the fire.