Summary: Part two of the series: "Signs of famine, Steps of Faith." Learn some steps to take to come out of famine. They are all steps of faith!
(Part two in the series: "Signs Of Famine, Steps Of Faith.)
Sunday night we started talking about the signs of famine. There are specific signs that show up when a Spiritual famine is taking place in a church, or in someone’s life. We identified several things out of these scriptures that are undeniable evidences that a Spiritual famine is taking place.
I want to recap them just for a moment, to remind all of us, and to help those who were not here know what we’re dealing with. We saw, first, the donkey’s head, which represents a stubborn mentality. This is one sign of Spiritual famine. Secondly, they were eating dove’s dung. This speaks of feasting on the Spirit’s past presence, or on where the dove has been, not where He is.
We saw how those in leadership get discouraged, and even desperate, being left with a feeling of help-lessness. We also brought attention to looking at the status of the barnfloor. When no harvest is coming in, it’s a sign of famine. Then the winepress was dry. This, again, spoke of the Spirit’s depth in working. we’ve had enough dry services, and shallow services.
We need the winepress to be filled to overflowing. We went on in this passage, seeing the depletion of the next generation, a decline in the youth, and then we saw how that, when people don’t feast on the Lord, His Word, and His Spirit, they start chewing on one another. It’s called Spiritual cannibalism.
Finally, we saw how that, when people do want measures taken, they want the responsibility to be on others, and not them. They vote yes to certain activities, but they back out. They want you to do, what they are not willing to do. We saw how people go after the preacher, or the Spiritual leadership in time of famine.
And then we concluded with looking at this messenger whom the king sent to Elisha, and how Elisha gave a word from God that the famine was going to be over the next day! "Tomorrow...." he said. And the king’s right hand man said to Elisha: "Even if God opened the floodgates, I don’t think it could happen." *Here we see the thief of unbelief! Israel was content to sit in unbelief.
Now, consider all of this when we get into talking about the four lepers. Notice that there had been no record of any praying, no fast had been called, no discussion of any action had been discussed - they were just content to let the enemy keep them in bondage, separating them from their source, and cause a famine in the land!
*A church or individual who is content to let those things happen and remain become inwardly focused. They were upset about God’s inactivity - which He was not inactive, but was orche-strating some movements even as they were complaining. But they failed to recognize and admit, that they had also been inactive! They were waiting on God, and getting tired of doing so. God was waiting on them, and did get tired of waiting, so he called four lepers to play a key role in bringing deliverance.
And in the actions of these lepers, I want God to speak to our hearts about Moving From Famine To Faith. Elisha, by God’s command, says(paraphrasing), "Tomorrow at this time, the famine is going to be over. God’s provision will come. Hear this word of the Lord." And a man who was close to the king said, in the NIV, "Look, even if the Lord would open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?"
You see, another sign of famine is not believing a move of God when it does come. They lived like that for so long, that this man didn’t believe it could happen. And Elisha said, "You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it." Unbelief will never see God’s deliverance!
Now, sitting outside the gate of Samaria - closer to the enemy than anyone by the way - were 4 leprous men. They were already outsiders, beggars, depending on the good will of the people to make it. And the famine in the city had no doubt made it hard on them. A discussion arose between them, as they assessed their situation, and they said, "Why sit we here until we die?"
Now, understand what they said. We preach this as if the church is saying it, but portray it to mean, "Why do we sit here while the world dies and goes to hell?" That is an issue that must be dealt with. But their dilemma was not just about others, but about themselves! Why sit we here until WE die?
Listen: Our inactivity is not just affecting others, it’s affecting ourselves! If we don’t do something, then we’re going to die. I’ve talked to you about moving out on a maybe, and that’s what these men were about to do. They said, "If we go into the city, there’s famine there, and we’ll die. And if we sit here we’re going to die."