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  • Rick LoPresti

The irony of the famine

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it (Amos 8:11-12)." This was not an idle threat. It had already happened in the days of Eli the priest (1Samuel 3:1). The problem is not with God. It is with man. God does not fail to do His job. He speaks to us even when we are not seeking Him like we should. He is always willing to give us the guiding light of His word. The question is, are we listening? God is very patient and loving, but He will not force Himself on us. If we clearly demonstrate to Him that we don't want Him talking to us, He will honor that (1Samuel 8:18, Isaiah 1:5, Isaiah 59:2, Jeremiah 7:16, Jeremiah 11:14, Jeremiah 14:12, Ezekiel 8:18, Micah 3:4, Zechariah 7:13). However, we must understand there are consequences to that.

The irony of the famine is that it is not because of a lack of bread, but a lack of hunger. There is plenty of bread, but are we hungry? Faith is God's condition for answered prayer, and hunger is God's condition for the bread of life - His word. "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts (Jeremiah 15:16)." "Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom (Proverbs 18:1)." God can work with our imperfections when we are sincerely making the effort, but He cannot work with indifference or complacency.

Our appetite is not unlimited. It can only take so much. When we fill ourselves with fleshly, material things, then there will be no room for spiritual things (Matthew 13:22). When we feed ourselves with the eternal things of God, we will find that the earthly no longer satisfies (Romans 6-8). When we are hungry for the word of God, a lot of issues are automatically solved. We are no longer picky, complaining eaters. "The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet (Proverbs 27:7)." When Israel was lean and mean in the wilderness, it was to teach them to hunger for God and not just the flesh (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Our appetite will be satisfied with what we feed it. It can also be adjusted. If we feed it healthy things, that is what it will learn to crave. If we eat bad, then we acquire a taste for that. It will adjust to whatever we orient it to.

Matthew 24:7 predicts that in the last days there will be famines in different places. We think of this in earthly terms, but what about the spiritual aspect? Why would some places have enough to eat, and others have famine? It is because some places are hungry for the word of God and partake, and others are indifferent so they don't eat. It is up to us.

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