Chris Herring, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Mexico Ward
One of my favorite but troubling stories in the Bible is in Genesis 41 about Pharoah and the “seven years of plenty and seven years of famine.”
“And it came to pass at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh dreamed: and, behold, he stood by the river.
2 And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow.
3 And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river.
4 And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.
5 And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.
6 And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them.
7 And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream.
8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled;”
Pharaoh called for anyone you can think of to help him interpret the dream but they could not. It wasn’t until he called for Joseph a prophet of God that Pharaoh knew the true meaning:
“And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it.
16 And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
“Behold, there come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt:
26 The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.
27 And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.
28 This is the thing which I have spoken unto Pharaoh: What God is about to do he sheweth unto Pharaoh.
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.
32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass….
34 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.
35 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.
36 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.
37 And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants.”
Because Pharaoh heeded the message found in the interpretation his dream, when the seven years of famine came many thousand lives were spared.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe in being prepared and self-reliant. We believe in preparing educationally for employment, in preparing financially for a rainy day, and in preparing temporally for natural disasters or other challenges.
Most important, we believe in preparing spiritually for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and for living with our Father in Heaven again. This approach to preparedness is called provident living and becoming self reliant. Many great ideas for this are found at providentliving.org.
You and your family can be self-reliant in the following areas:
Spiritual strength: Trust in the Lord; obey the commandments; pray and study the scriptures daily; serve others.
Physical health: Obey the Word of Wisdom; exercise; get adequate sleep; practice good sanitation and hygiene.
Education: Become literate; obtain job skills; study “the best books”.
Employment: Work to provide for your own and your family’s needs.
Home storage: Store clean drinking water and gradually build a supply of foods you eat on a regular basis and a longer-lasting supply of foods, such as grains and beans.
Finances: Pay tithes and offerings; avoid unnecessary debt; gradually build a financial reserve.
Just as Pharaoh had seven years to prepare for the difficult years to come, we are counseled to start slow building food, water and financial reserves. Spring and planting season is almost upon us. Consider planting a garden, raised beds or fruit trees. Counsel in your family together how to best prepare. It will probably involve sacrifice and “sweat equity.”
Contact the local University Extension office for the recommended disease resistant plants and fruit trees for our area. Local stores and greenhouses will probably have what you need to get started.
Then, most important of all, go to work because our “seven years of plenty” we now may be experiencing will not last forever. Many of our older family remember the terrible times in Great Depression. This may happen again.
Gordon B. Hinckley former Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said “The Lord counsels us to prepare for the future, both temporally and spiritually. “Organize yourselves,” He says; “prepare every needful thing” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118). He also tells us, “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear” (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30).
Whether you choose to be “troubled” like Pharaoh and seek to follow the Lord’s servants counsel or choose not to is up to you. But remember there is much risk for not doing so.
If we are to survive we need to be spiritually and temporally prepared for the good and not so good in these Last Days.
Our families and the Lord are counting on us as leaders in our homes and congregations to do this.
As we move forward on this with faith, I promise.
The Lord will bless and protect us.