Friday, February 16, 2007

The Power to Create Wealth: Storehouses

The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. (Deuteronomy 28:8)
The Hebrew word used for “storehouse” here also appears in Proverbs, where it is translated by the NKJV as “barns”:

Honor the LORD with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
(Proverbs 3:9-10)
When we walk with the Lord in the obedience of faith, He commands the blessing on us in our storehouses. A storehouse is a place where provision is set aside until it is needed. In Bible times, after the harvest was gathered, threshed and winnowed, it was brought into the storehouse. The first and best portion was set aside for God. The next best portion was set aside for seed for the following year’s harvest. The rest was used for sustaining one’s family, and also as fodder for the cattle. If there was extra, it could be sold to those who needed it. So a storehouse was not only a place where wealth was stored until needed, but was also a place where additional wealth was created.

A storehouse is oriented toward future need and future provision. Many people spend all they make as soon as they make it. They do not set anything aside for the future, often because they think they cannot afford to. But the truth is, we cannot afford not to. God is ready to command the blessing on our storehouses, when we obey Him. His desire is to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). But if we never establish a storehouse — setting aside a good portion of our increase for the future — then how can we ever be blessed in our storehouse? Indeed, creating a storehouse requires the faith to believe that God does have a future and a hope for us.

The account of Joseph in Egypt shows us how useful the storehouse can be in the creation of wealth. When Pharaoh sought the meaning of a pair of dreams he was given, God gave Joseph the interpretation: There would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine (Genesis 41:1-32).

Then Joseph relayed to Pharaoh this divine wisdom: During the years of plenty, set aside one-fifth (twenty per cent) of the increase, then it shall be a reserve for the seven years of famine. Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph’s ability to walk in the wisdom of God that he made him ruler over all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh (Genesis 41:33-44).

Now watch how Joseph conducted the storehouse. During the seven years of plenty, he did just as he advised Pharaoh, storing up food:
So he gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities; he laid up in every city the food of the fields which surrounded them. Joseph gathered very much grain, as the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting, for it was immeasurable. (Genesis 41:48-49)
When the seven years of plenty ended, the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. And now the success of Joseph’s storehouse plan began to materialize:
The famine was in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do.” The famine was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians. And the famine became severe in the land of Egypt. So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands. (Genesis 41:54-57)
Because of divine foresight and wisdom, and prudent use of the storehouse, when Egypt and all the surrounding countries needed food, Joseph had enough to sell it to them and supply their need.

Now observe what happened as the years of famine progressed. The money ran out in Egypt because the people had used it all to buy grain from the storehouses which Joseph managed for Pharaoh. Then Joseph said, “Give your livestock, and I will give you bread for your livestock, if the money is gone” (Genesis 47:16). So Joseph fed them with bread, and ended up with all their livestock that year (v. 17).

The next year, the people came and said, “Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants of Pharaoh; give us seed, that we may live and not die, that the land may not be desolate” (Genesis 47:19). So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh. He moved the people into cities and gave them seed to sow, for the years of famine would soon be over:
“Look, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the harvest that you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh. Four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and for your food, for those of your households and as food for your little ones.”

So they said, “You have saved our lives; let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.” (Genesis 47:23-25)
Because he knew how to use the storehouse, Joseph was not only able to save the people of Egypt and the surrounding countries in the time of famine, but he also amassed all the wealth — money, livestock, and land — of Egypt and the surrounding countries. He operated according to the wisdom of God, and the LORD commanded the blessing on him in his storehouses.

When you obey the LORD, and honor Him with your possessions, He will command the blessing on your in your storehouses. So, in addition to setting aside the first and best of your increase for God, create a storehouse where you can set aside funds for future provision and investment. As your storehouse begins to fill up, ask God for wisdom and opportunity for the appropriate investment of your funds. This will create wealth, and meet the needs of others, as well as for you and your family.