A Spiritual Famine Amos 8: 11 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In Amos 8:11 Amos prophesied of a famine, not of bread and water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. This is a spiritual famine.
Israel went through several famines in the Bible. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and his family were all affected by famines. We’re going to look at what happened in some of these famines. And we’ll see some parallels to the things we should do when we go through a spiritual famine.
In a spiritual famine:
Don’t leave your church – In Ruth 1:1, Elimelech, Naomi, Mahlon and Chilion left Bethlehem Judah to sojourn in Moab. Bethlehem is the house of bread. Judah means praise. They left their source of bread and their place of praise in their famine. This was a costly mistake. Of course, God intervened and Ruth’s marriage to Boaz fixed the problems that came as a result of leaving. But God didn’t do this until after they had returned to Bethlehem Judah. Don’t leave the church where you praise the Lord and are fed by his words. And don’t quit reading your Bible when you are spiritually drying up.
Don’t return to the world. Abraham went to Egypt in Gen 12:10. Egypt is a type of the world. It’s true that Jacob and his family went to Egypt during a seven year famine [Gen 41:54-57]. But their brother, Joseph, was there. And Joseph is a perfect type of the Lord Jesus Christ. A spiritual famine, therefore, can get you to look to Jesus while you are here in the world.
Once, you have Jesus, though, you are never to return to the world for your food and water [Deut 11:10-14]. You see, our water comes from our eternal life [Jn 4:10-14], from the Spirit of God [Jn 7:37-39] and from the word of God [Jn 15:3]. You need to be saved and stay in the words of God and be filled with the Spirit of God so that you can have bread [Jn 6:35] and water [Jn 7:37-39]. Otherwise, you will go through a spiritual famine. When a famine comes, you’ll be tempted to go back to the security of Egypt where the Nile River provides a steady supply of water for drinking and for irrigation for food. In the security of the world, you don’t have to trust God for his provisions. And if you get used to that security, you may never go back to trusting the Lord for your spiritual necessities.
Look for the cause – the famine in 2 Sam 21:1 was caused by Saul. The famine in 1 Ki 17:1 was caused by Ahab’s sin. Spiritual famines are often caused by sin in your life or in the life of someone close to you. In Rev 6:5-8 the deaths of some people in the Tribulation will be due to famine under God’s judgment. Look for the sin(s) that caused your famine. And deal with it.
Look for the help of the Lord – Ps 63:1-2 when you are in a spiritual famine, caused by a spiritual drought, thirst for God. Thirst and hunger for righteousness [Matt 5:6]. And then you will see marvelous things from the Lord to help you recover from the famine. In 2 Ki 4:38-41 the Lord healed the pot of pottage. God has the power to take something bad and make it good. And in 2 Ki 4:42-44, he showed his power to take something inadequate and make it sufficient. In 2 Ki 6:25 and 2 Ki 7, the spoil left by the Syrian army fixed the economic damage caused by the famine In Samaria. God can turn adversity into a blessing. In 2 Ki 8:1-6 God miraculously intervened to restore the Shunnamite’s fruits. God is able to restore that which was lost during your spiritual famine. In other words, once you get right with the Lord you can start feeding and nourishing yourself in the words of God and in fellowship with the Lord. He doesn’t withhold these from you. In time, others may never know you went through a famine.
Look for the help of others – Acts 11:28-30 – the saints in other parts of the world sent relief to the saints in Jerusalem who were in distress during their famine. In a spiritual famine, God will often use others to assist you and to help you get back to the Lord. Don’t be afraid to go to them for prayer and godly counsel. You’re going to need it.
Conclusion: when you come through a famine, not only is your spiritual thirst quenched and your spiritual hunger filled, but your “cup runneth over,” [Ps 23:5]. Your spiritual stream starts flowing and “out of (your) belly shall flow rivers of living water,” [Jn 7:38]. You’ll be able to start helping others come out of their spiritual famines. Those who have been through a famine know best how to help those who are in one.