Seven Lean Years

Seven Lean Years

Kizer children, 1924, Indiana

Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile, and behold, there came up out of the Nile seven cows attractive and plump, and they fed in the reed grass. And behold, seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. And the ugly, thin cows ate up the seven attractive, plump cows. (Gen 41:1–4 ESV)

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The principle undergirding Hebraic poetics is that the visible, physical things of this world reveal and precede the invisible spiritual things of God (cf. Rom 1:20; 1 Cor 15:46). This is so-called Hebrew structure, the ordered arrangement of the logia of the Lord based on chirality, the left and right hands of a person. Thus, if a vision is of God and is immutable, the vision will be given twice, either twice to the same person (as in the case of Pharaoh, Gen 41:1–7; or in the case of Joseph himself, Gen 37:5–10) or once to two differing persons as in the case of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar (Dan chap 2). The visions will be as the left and right hands of a person: the vision will pertain to both this physical world as well to the spiritual realm.  

Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s vision:

The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good ears are seven years; the dreams are one. The seven lean and ugly cows that came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty ears blighted by the east wind are also seven years of famine. It is as I told Pharaoh; God has shown to Pharaoh what he is about to do. There will come seven years of great plenty throughout all the land of Egypt, but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land, and the plenty will be unknown in the land by reason of the famine that will follow, for it will be very severe. And the doubling of Pharaoh's dream means that the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about. (Gen 41:26–32 ESV)

The seven leans years that followed the prophesied years of plenty were region-wide, and caused the patriarch Jacob to send his sons into Egypt to purchase grain and eventually to relocate to Egypt, where his son Joseph was second to Pharaoh is authority. This relocation set in play a course of events that would have Israel, four centuries later, leave a devastated Egypt and begin a forty year long journey that formed the chiral image of a second or spiritual exodus of a second Israel, the nation to be circumcised of heart.

The seven lean years that caused the relocation of Israel to Egypt were preceded by seven years of plenty … the modern world since the green revolution brought about by the pioneering work of Dr. Norman Borlaug in the 1950s and 1960s has experienced years of plenty although it is estimated that a billion people (15% of the world’s population) go to bed hungry every day, the number higher than before the green revolution. The gains of the green revolution have been lost. Glyphosate-tolerant weeds prevail in many fields across America’s heartland, and the University of Minnesota found that when weeds in corn fields reach three to four inches tall, the field loses 12 bushels an acre the first week and 27 bushels the second week. These losses would have been these fields’ corn harvest yields a century ago.

This website will explore doing in the modern world what Joseph did as second in Egypt: it will explore food storage, home production, eating local foods, all the while attempting to avoid paranoid alarmism. It will encourage readers to have on hand basic food items and the cookware and knowledge of how to prepare these basic foodstuffs as grandmothers and great-grandmothers did—and it will not shy away from pointing out the presumptuousness of politicians who declare [have declared] that food security in America is guaranteed or that polar vortexes are the result of global warming.

As such, this website will imbed its theological idealism in practical advice in much the same way that journalists were imbedded with Coalition troops in the Gulf Wars … lean years are prophesied. Modern civilization will not continue if an end to this present age is to come upon humanity. And when the lean years begin, food will be leveraged into Christian discipleship. This should not be. And the preventative to this is for the person to, with wisdom, be prepared to live through seven lean years.

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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."