Key Text: John 6:1-15
In Exodus, the people set out from a place of plenty, a place of refreshing ‘Elim’ …twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. They were camped there and no one intentionally moves from a place of lushness to leanness, refreshing to place of ration, from water to wilderness but God told them to move.
Exodus Chapters 14 -15 tells of the Israelite’s crossing of the Red sea at the start of entering God’s promised land. Exodus 16:1 the people find themselves in the ‘wilderness of sin’ God will at times take us into a wilderness but He does not want us to live there. Jeremiah 2:2 When God speaks about wasteland, He doesn’t just draw our attention to the wasteland. He speaks about a ‘land not sown’, He presents a vision to turn wilderness into harvest.
Famine can be a result of the plague of plenty. We can be so blessed that we take for granted what we have. We long for yesterday thinking it was better and we become choosey because when we have plenty we begin to become more concerned about our preference than His presence. ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” Exodus 14:12 better to be full as a slave than be free and hungry.
Now the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, “Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.” Numbers 11:4-6
When we say stuff like this recognise we are in a famine. Exodus 16 Manna in the desert – people of provision. ‘What is it?’
We Can Eat without Effect. Sign of famine is we eat without it having the effect or it fulfilling the purpose it is intended for. We talk about the ‘munchies’ Eating but it never satisfies
Joseph’s Brothers – They were in a famine without bread, so their father Jacob sent them to Egypt Genesis 42:8 And Joseph recognised his brothers, but they did not recognise him. In our time of famine God still sees us, knows us by name, Like Ezekiel dry can come alive in a desert, deserts turn to places of daily bread, parched land a place of provision. And Joseph recognised his brothers, but they did not recognise him.
In famine you can be Related without Revelation.
In John 6:1-15 and Mark 6:30-44 we read the account of the feeding of the 5 000 men. We need to understand that God does not feed people that are not hungry. In fact, Mary sang a song when she was told that she would give birth to Jesus that speaks to this …He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. Luke 1:53 Those that are hungry are filled. Those that are self sufficient become self reliant and end up empty.
Jesus would later say in His sermon on the mount …Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness In other words, you are not blessed if you are not hungry. Remember, Jesus responds to those that are hungry with a miracle of multiplication.
Right in the middle of a sermon He stops and deals with hunger. No hunger – no miracle. No hunger and we become satisfied with rations. What is interesting is there would have been many there listening to the word, to the one who is the Bread of life and yet it had no impact on them. They went away physically satisfied but spiritually empty and famished
Consumers without Change
Different accounts but a single common thread:
Most people can spot a famine but not everyone can spot a saviour.
Obedience better than sacrifice. 1 Samuel 15:22 Obedience leads to abundance.
Miracles are always found on the other side obedience. If you want to move out of famine you simply have the take the steps of obedience. The lack of obedience in the simple things, leads to famine.
In time of famine every bit counts, every crumb becomes important
In times of famine look for God’s revelation
In times of famine expect to find God provision in those moments.
When God’s church is full of hungry people, then and only then do we see kingdom come.
If we are full of content people, we stagnate. If we are full, then we will become satisfied with rations.
We cannot become content with a ration of salvations. A ration of transformation. A ration of kingdom power. A few scattered crumbs of presence. An occasional glimpse of glory. A once in a while move.
Our famine may not be for a physical bread but understand that God is trying to tell us something in the famine areas of our lives because He wants to promote us into His favour & blessings.