Summary: Physical malnourishment doesn't hold a candle to a famine of hearing the Word of God.
In 2011, famine was declared in Somalia, Africa for the first time in 30 years. UNICEF is an organization that helps in deciding whether or not famine is the appropriate description of a country’s state. Today there are three qualifications that must be met, according to UNICEF, before famine can be declared.
1. 20% of the population has access to only 30 calories per day per person. (Keep in mind that the average adult male needs 2500 calories/day and the average adult female needs 2000 cal/day.)
2. Acute malnutrition must be evident in 30% of children
3. 2 deaths per 10,000 adults per day, or 4 deaths per 10,000 children per day. At 314M people in the USA, that’s 2000 children/day and 12000 adults/day.
Needless to say, those are quite the extreme numbers that must be met in order for famine to be declared. If we take a step back to analyze our current situation with food, we have a hard time imagining ever getting to that point of famine in the US. It happened in Somalia just two years ago.
Famine is always an unwelcomed guest to any land or people, but can you imagine knowing that it was coming and there was nothing that you could do about it? Often when we are sick, like many of us were or are with the flu and other bugs, we look back to the time that we weren’t sick and we would do anything to have that wellness again. We can remember what it was like not to be sick, and with hope we look forward to overcoming that sickness soon. Imagine though for a moment no hope or recovery. Imagine no hope for well-being. Imagine forgetting about overcoming and only focusing on surviving.
Turn with me to Genesis 41:17-31 and let's read. Pharaoh had a dream that no one but Joseph could properly interpret.
Famine still runs rampant today – not in a physical sense, but spiritually we are in a great famine.
Is it getting harder and harder to remember the days of old, when revivals were commonplace, baptisms were a normal occurrence, hard sermons were welcomed, and Sunday dinner conversations were centered on the sermon? The world is starving for doctrine, but when the Church is not providing the doctrine and nourishment, people die. Bringing up new born babes in Christ in proper admonition, teaching, and instruction is lacking in the Church today – not for a lack of teaching, but for a lack of sound teaching. I’m thankful to God for the sound teaching that we have here from a very small age. But will there come a time when the young ones here have entered into a time of spiritual malnourishment only to forget the times of plenty in the teaching of the Word? I pray that day never comes.
In many of our churches, this time has already come, and thus, there is still a great famine in all the land today. Amos 8:11 – 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.
The apostle Paul said to Timothy that there will come a time when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. When I was younger, my mom would make those poli sausages, green beans, and macaroni and cheese. I liked one of those three, and I would eat it. But I preferred things like ice cream, cookies, chocolate milk, chips, etc… When my aunt and uncle Mary Ann and Glenn lived in the area, I loved going to their house to stay. Why? Sure I loved them and all, but what I loved even more was that I could eat all of those things I preferred. At home, if I didn’t eat what was cooked, I didn’t eat at all. There had come a time – many times actually – when I did not endure home cooking, and after my own preferences and wants, I heaped to myself Mary Ann and Glenn, having an itching stomach. Spiritually speaking, there are many, even at this moment, who are longing for spiritual nourishment according to their own desires. Other doctrines which are not sound and namely those in denominational congregations are more attractive and offer an easier, itch-satisfying life.
Over the years, we’ve seen many fall away to the world and to denominational teaching. Whether it is a new Christian that drifts away from the Church or an older one that does the same, it is never a pleasure to see happen. But it happens. One of the most predominant reasons for a Christian falling away is this famine of hearing the true words of the Lord. There is a very scripturally-established man living in South Shore who attended the Church of Christ for most of his life, but left for a denominational church, because he said it was “much more suitable to the way he saw the Bible.” He went for the ice cream, cookies, and chips at the other place, and sure he loves God and all, but he is only there to satisfy his ideas and interpretations, while God’s truth is pushed to the backburner. This is and has been happening all around us, and it does so for two reasons.