Part 4: Famished
We've established that I love carbs and that everyone needs spiritual bread to survive. My research on the 300+ times "bread" is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures began as hunger pains for more of God's presence in my life and has left me full on God's richest soul bread. As we survey many of the 300+ times "bread" is mentioned in the Holy Scriptures, it's impossible to miss the connection of the word "bread" with the concept of famine in the Old Testament.
But before we can feast of our fill of God, we need to understand that God's presence satisfies the spiritual famines in our lives. So today, our focus will be on the relationship famine and bread have in the Old Testament through one of our faith fathers, Joseph.
Disclaimer: Most of my readers are like me, privileged with a very limited understanding of physical famine. Much of our study today will involve a reality I've never experienced physically and many of the applications the Spirit gave me on the topic of famine are spiritual and metaphorical. Although I find it ironic that my writing on famine may be starved of physical experience, I do believe the Word of God is going to satisfy your hunger for more of God today.
The Genesis narratives read like the most dramatic scenarios reality TV has to offer. It's a good reminder that our crazy has never needed a script. We are wonderfully practiced at making a mess of our lives. Trying to summarize Joseph's life in one blog post could only be accomplished by a Psalm...
Psalm 105:16-21 "And He (God) called for a famine upon the land; He broke the whole staff of bread (supply chain of food). He sent a man before them, Joseph, who was sold as a slave. They afflicted his feet with fetters, He himself was laid in irons; until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him. The king (Pharaoh) sent and released him, the ruler of peoples, and set him free. He made him lord of his house and ruler over all his possessions"
Apparently, God allowed famine in the time of Joseph for his good purposes. But in true form, God provides what we need in our famine so that anything he leads us to He will lead us through. Other times God has allowed famine as a consequence of disobedience (Lev 26:26). Things get real for the people of God when the prophet Amos tells them they might know the pains of physical hunger, but in the absence of God's words, famine's silence is deafening.
Amos 8:11 "Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the Lord.
Makes me shudder.
Joseph is God's agent to ensure that the people of God survive the famine in Egypt and yet his first introduction to Pharaoh is to interpret a dream about the chief baker's death by hanging. Cue Alanis Morissette.
Joseph's words to Pharaoh confirm the chief bread baker--for the kingdom of Egypt--will die and be picked apart like a loaf of bread...and right before he is inaugurated as the second most powerful man in Egypt and chosen to spearhead a provision project that blesses all people with bread. After all, that's what God intends for us (his people) to bless all the nations while we feast on God's presence together. Joseph lives up to the calling on our lives to bless all people (Genesis 12) and proves that God will fulfill his promise to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Jesus turns out to be the ultimate Joseph for God's people. But for now, at this point in our study, it's clear we need think about the metaphorical famines in our own spiritual lives. And we need to be asking ourselves if we are like Joseph storing up God's provisions for seasons of spiritual famine or if we are in a famine now looking to the storehouse of faith of our leaders.
You've likely known the joys of loving and serving God in a season of abundance. I know I have. I'm coming off the most abundant Polished year yet. We launched two new chapters (Ft. Worth & North Dallas, launched a podcast, rebranded and renamed the ministry, trained almost 100 leaders to share the gospel and reached close to 2,000 women with the gospel. But this after eight years of struggle, fear, insecurity, and the temptation to quit. Maybe for the first time I'm understanding what fruitful harvest means, after toiling in seasons of planting and watering. I keep reminding myself to store up these treasures in my heart. To soak up what it feels like to watch God reap a harvest He's been cultivating for years, so that when the next valley hits I can borrow from the tiny grains of faith stored away for a spiritual famine. If you're in a season of abundance you are called, like Joseph, to dispense those stored grains of faith to those hungry for bread.
Or maybe your soul is hungry for more of God and the nearness of his presence feels like a dream, not a reality. A rumor, not truth. Does "famished" describe your faith in God? Been there. Too many times. In these seasons we say things like: I have nothing else to give, I'm exhausted, There is nothing left, I'm running on empty, We likely won't meet budget, I can't see any possible outcome where we will survive this, I can't even.
Let your famine point you to the bread giver, our God.
Psalm 145:14-18 "The Lord sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth."
His kindness woos us doesn't it? His nearness to us with just the mention of His name brings tears to my eyes even now. He rushes to our side to comfort us after a big fall or a bended knee.
I bet you've memorized this verse and skipped over the word famine. Take a look...
Romans 8:35 "Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Can affliction or anguish or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?"
The answer is "no." No it can't. Nothing can separate us from God's love. Not even a spiritual famine. Open your hand to us, God. Satisfy us, God. Feast or famine you will give us our food in due time.
In a season of great spiritual hunger, I started to follow the breadcrumb trail through the sacred scriptures to find the most satisfying bread for our soul: Jesus.
This led to an obsession with the 300+ times “bread” is mentioned in the holy scriptures, and you’re reading the results, a 16 part bible study: I.Love.Carbs.
Let's break bread together. You could start from the beginning here & be sure to sign up to get the latest blog post delivered right to your inbox >>>>>