Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

I’ve racked my brain and searched my memory, but I just cannot recall ever hearing Daddy say, “OK, guys, load up the truck. We’re going out for pizza tonight.” Well, of course, he wouldn’t have said that. Eatin’ out meant watermelon on the front porch when we were growing up on the farm.

There was no such thing as a pizza parlor…or a steak house….or a seafood restaurant…or mama-mia’s Italian favorites. But if there had been any of these eatin’ places around back then, I can just hear the host or hostess. Table for how many? Eleven? Do you have reservations? Duh!

Hard to call for reservations when you don’t have a phone. But you can be sure of one thing. If any of us rambunctious country boys even looked like we wanted to ‘get out of line,’ it wouldn’t have been a trip to ‘time out’ land. No, siree! It would have been woodshed time right then and there.

But speaking of waiting lines and reservations and phones, Miss Helen and I had a hankerin’ for some seafood the other night. I guess everybody and his brother had the same hankerin’. I let her out at the front door while I went to try to find a parking space.

After I had circled the parking lot twice, she called to tell me to come back to the front door to pick her up. The waitin’ line was one hour long! I think a couple of tour buses full of hungry folks had arrived just before us. Without reservations, I might add! I don’t know ‘bout you, but there’s only one place that I’d wait in line for an hour to get in. But it’s out of this world. If you catch my drift.

But feedin’ a large group requires advance planning and preparation. Like the time the Lord made plans to feed Jacob and his crowd of hungry folks. I mean, everybody in the country was hungry. There was a severe feminine in the land. But, see, God knew this was going to happen. Nothing comes as a surprise to God. So He had already made plans to feed Jacob’s family.

And those plans started way back many years before with Jacob’s Grand-daddy Abraham, who had a son named Isaac when he was 100 years old. So God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the grains of sand on the beach. You didn’t think He would let them die of starvation in a foreign country, did you?

God’s plans to make Abraham a great nation continued on to Isaac, Jacob’s daddy. And to Jacob. And to his favorite son, Joseph. God’s plans also included Joseph being sold to a bunch of slave drivers from Egypt. And we know about all the potholes and detours Joseph’s road took down to Egypt.

So now we’re up to date and following God’s plans. When the famine hit, Joseph had accumulated lots of food and power down in Egypt. Again, all according to God’s plan.  So God told Jacob one night to wake up, get up, and pack up. (Genesis 46:2-4) They were going out to eat. And God told him not to be scaredy-cat just ‘cause they were going down to Egypt. The Lord had started making these reservations many years before. And He promised to go with Jacob down to Egypt, and to bring him back home.

Only one problem, Well, actually a couple of problems. There were 70 people in Jacob’s family (Gen. 46:27). And Jacob was 130 years old. But nothing’s too hard for God. I know you’ve heard that before, but I just thought I’d throw it in right here anyway. So some of his boys put Jacob in one of Pharaoh’s wagons and off they went to eat out. Down in Egypt. With all their livestock and everything thing they owned. Lock, stock, and barrel.  

Pharaoh thought so much of Joseph that when his daddy and brothers got to Egypt, the king offered them the best ‘seat in the house,’ so to speak. And some property in the best part of Egypt (Gen.47:11-12). And that’s how Joseph was able to take care of his daddy’s party of 70 people. And it all started when his brothers threw him into a hole.

Maybe you’re in a hole today. Why not claim God’s promise to Jacob? Don’t be afraid to go down to Egypt. He’ll go with us and bring us back, too, at the right time. He’s made all the arrangements, so make the call.  Reservations are required.

But there’s never any waitin’.