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To Prep or Not to Prep, Part II

Updated: Dec 11, 2021

In my last piece, I discussed the justification for Doomsday Prepping, with the indication that there might not exist the proper foundation for a Bible-believing Christian to participate in that kind of preparation. Now I will attempt to make that case.

Jesus told this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)

The situation described here sounds a little more like mine than I can feel comfortable about. I had increased my capacity for storing food to the point where I now have a fair amount laid up for many years. I was storing up things for myself, and therefore was not providing as much as I could for the needs of others. I expected that the question God asked of the man in the story could be asked of me: "Who will get what you have prepared for yourself?"

I can accept the idea that the survival food I acquired for my family could very likely be eaten by somebody else, or even wasted completely. That is something I can live with rather easily, but I do regret possibly suffering the disapproval of God.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat.... For life is more than food.... Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest.... And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (selections from Luke 12:22-31)

Here we see the exhortation to trust in God to supply our needs. We are told by Jesus not to worry about the provision for our future, and that trusting in God's providence is one thing that will distinguish us from the unbelieving masses. We are told to seek His kingdom, and not to try and preserve ourselves in this one.

We also have before us the Old Testament record of King Asa of Judah--a good king, one of the relative rarities of the dynastic period. The testimony of Asa was that "he did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God." As long as he trusted God, the Lord gave him success. In a war early in Asa's reign, he found himself severly outmanned, but prayed this prayer: "Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!" (2 Chronicles 14:11) And God did give him a notable victory.

But when King Asa grew old, he began to rely on his own strength, or the strength of the armies he could muster, instead of the arm of the Lord (see 2 Chronicles 16). Twenty-five peaceful years followed after the battle noted above, and then another armed aggressor came against Asa. Instead of praying to God, this time he turned to an alliance with another king. After the ensuing battle was concluded--even though God allowed him a victory on the battlefield--a prophet came to Asa and told him, "Because you have relied on this foreign king instead of the Lord your God, you will not be able to subdue his armies. When you trusted in the Lord, He gave you victory. You have done foolishly; from now on you shall have wars."

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. (2 Chron. 16:9)

As a postscript to Asa's tale, we see this sorry note: "In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians" (2 Chron. 16:12).

Who wants to be that guy? Yet wasn't that the risk I was running by trusting in my own provision, instead of waiting on the Lord?

Finally, we have Jesus' own words, again--this time in our model prayer, the pattern we should be praying every day: "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). God wants us to look to Him alone for our supply, something that Americans who have grown up with multiple generations of prosperity informing them find it loath to do. But it may very well be directly in the purposes of God to bring the American church to a position of prostration before Him, to once again acknowledge that it is only by His hand that we obtain our daily bread.

In any case, while I struggled in my last piece to find permission in principle in the scriptures, a directive comes in plain words from Jesus Himself on this page. "Don't worry about what to eat or drink. That's the stuff pagans worry about. Trust in God to give you your daily sustenance." And so I conclude with a trace of buyer's remorse, and a heart of repentance toward my actions of providing for myself the way that I have. Trusting in God is, I believe, better than seeing the signs of the times and reacting.

But there is another position that will undoubtedly be taken by the people who call themselves Christians in these last days, and I will address that next.

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