Don’t Go Down To Egypt For Help
August 16, 2016
Yesterday afternoon, I sent out the following email to readers who have signed up for free email alerts:
A few minutes ago, I sold 64 shares of SALE (RetailMeNot) in order to raise cash. I used the cash to purchase 930 shares of ORIG (Ocean Rig), which was all I had room to purchase under the risk constraint the Lord has given me.
In my last post about ORIG, from April 7th, I had a section on human wisdom. I will go ahead and say that there really was no human wisdom in today's decision. ORIG reported stellar earnings last week, but also included a bankruptcy warning in their press release. This announcement shocked the market, and the stock has now dropped by 63 percent since the statement was released.
At this point, there is no investment case for ORIG to be made based on human wisdom. Though far from a perfect comparison, I suppose human wisdom would best characterize ORIG as a deep out of the money call option on the price of oil. If I were making decisions based on human wisdom, I suppose I could find plenty of different ways to take such exposure without having to follow the drama of ORIG.
But I am following where the Lord leads me. There is probably a lot I could say in regard to that. One thing worth noting is that the last time I purchased ORIG, it shot up quickly thereafter. I found myself wishing that I had been able to purchase more. So, I prayed and said, "Lord, if you see fit to provide another opportunity for me to purchase ORIG at low prices, would you please do that for me?"
So, it would be easy to view this as an answer to that prayer, though one that requires me to have faith. That seems simple enough for a person of faith. Still, I try to be sure before making any decision. Each time I've prayed about whether to purchase more ORIG in the Value Focus portfolio since the price drop, the answers I seem to get from the Lord are that I already know the answer. In other words, he's already given it to me. When I thought about everything the Lord has spoken to me about this situation, over these many months, I concluded that I should make this purchase and continue to trust him.
I am making a simple choice to trust in the Lord, rather than in what I think I can see.
One thing he is teaching me through all of this, is that we can't trust in the boat to get us to the shore. We have to trust in him alone.
Whatever happens, I will praise him for his goodness to me! He has been such a wonderful God, savior, and friend to me and to my family and I love him so very much!
In Christ's Name,
Today, I just want to expand on the principle of trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. This morning, I happened upon Isaiah chapters 30-31. In these passages, the Lord is reprimanding his people for putting their trust in Pharaoh. They have gone to Egypt for help without asking for direction from the Lord. That last part is the key. God could certainly have used Pharaoh as an instrument to protect and deliver his people from Assyrian aggression. But he was never consulted. Therefore, he never gave that command. Instead, the people were putting their trust in an army. They were putting their trust in human means, physical things. Isaiah 31:1-3 says it like this:
"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the Lord! And yet he is wise and brings disaster; he does not call back his words, but will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of those who work iniquity. The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together."
The bottom line is that God's people cannot trust in anyone or anything but the Lord. To do so is idolatry. We cannot assign godlike power or status to created things. God can and routinely does work through his creation. So, Jesus may use a management team, a doctor, an attorney, a judge, an insurance company, a government, a weapon, or an army to heal, protect, deliver, or provide for his people. But it will be his sovereign choice, carried out at his direction. It will not be something we just take upon ourselves because we don't feel like consulting him or doing things his way. Besides that, we know that all of those things can fail us. It is foolish to give one's trust to created things that can fail.
In my last post about ORIG (linked above), I had a section on human wisdom. In that section, I was trying to review what had taken place thus far, and to commend the company's management team for their courage. They seemed to be successfully applying value investing principles to their situation, which takes courage and strength. But I was not then, nor am I now putting my ultimate trust in anyone but the Lord. I apologize if it came across that way. I would not be invested in ORIG if I did not believe the Lord had led me here. It's hard to say what I'd be doing if I wasn't on a journey of faith, but I think that's generally true for many of these companies.
Last, it is worth noting that all along the way, I have done my best to seek the Lord's direction. I haven't gone down to Egypt for help. I haven't trusted in physical strength or human means. I'm not saying that I don't struggle with those natural tendencies. I do. I struggle a lot. I have to seek the Lord's help in doing things his way. I have not been perfect in carrying out God's instructions to me, but I have tried very hard to do the best I could. I have also tried to correct the mistakes each time he has brought one to my attention. Throughout the journey, God repeatedly brings me to the place where I am trusting in him alone. He alone is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer!
"So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told." - Acts 27:25
In Christ's Name,