Thursday, January 17, 2013
Famine in the Presence of Food
Genesis 42:1 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2 He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”
Psalm 5:1Listen to my words, Lord,
consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
7But I, by your great love,
can come into your house;
in reverence I bow down
toward your holy temple.
11But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
Luke 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.
37b He replied, “Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather.”
Yesterday we reflected on the spiritual famine which may be coming at as at an alarming speed. However, the famine may not be as a result of a lack of spiritual food, but stem from a refusal to take and eat. Jacob's sons were starving in the land of Israel because they were afraid to go to Egypt to get more supplies. What was their reaction? They sat around looking at each other! Their father had to shake them into reality, sending them off, rather reluctantly, into Egypt to find food.
The Psalmist brings the promise of hope for those who are hungry. We can cry out to God -- the source of all nourishment -- and as his faithful children we are welcomed into his house. We can get up and go into the place where the spiritual food is stored. Those who take refuge in him will be glad and he will spread his protection over those whom he loves.
Jesus continues the conversation for us. Yes, the famine is coming at us with lightening speed. There will be things that will cause men and women to stumble and to fall. However, as one of God's children, may God help us not to be the ones who lead others to starve spiritually. May we not become dead bodies spiritually because as soon as we do, the vultures will begin to circle.
Some very serious consideration here today regarding the need for spiritual food. As God's children it is time for us to take action. We cannot be like the sons of Jacob, sitting around looking at one another -- and yet, I'm afraid that may be what we are doing. Are we like deer in the headlights -- caught in the midst of great change and frozen by the fear of what lay ahead. It's time for us to get up and get going. No more time to sit around looking at one another. That time has passed and the famine is coming at a rapid pace. The best thing that we can do is to go the place where the food is and get filled up and prepared for the difficult days which lie ahead.
And the promise is there for us from the Psalmist. For those who love God, for those who are his children, he will always welcome us into his home. Just as Joseph welcomed his brothers and prepared a feast for them and fed them better than they could have ever imagined, so God has already prepared a spiritual table for us -- if only we would come for dinner! We are settling for microwave "Lean Cuisine" because we are so busy when in the next room the dining room table is spread with Christmas Dinner! And the host sits there at the head of the table, ready to carve the Christmas goose -- and no one comes.
We are beginning to starve spiritually because we haven't taken the time to go to the food and to be fed. Some of us are supposed to be spiritual leaders, but our spiritual lives (or lack thereof) may actually be causing others to stumble and to fall. Oh -- may God help us! May we repent and ask God to forgive us for trying to get by with so little. May we examine ourselves today because if we don't -- the vultures will begin to circle and will pick away at our flesh. Could that be what's happening to the bride of Christ today? Could the vultures be circling her -- hoping to pick away at her as she is wasting away? The only way to stave off the vultures is to put off the scent of death. And this can only come through vibrant life.
May we get up out of our barren Israel today and may we be willing to travel the distance necessary to be fed with the spiritual food from heaven. There is no need for us to be starving in the presence of holy food! We simply need to get up -- take and eat! And the life-giving strength of God will flow through to our very core, breathing new life into our dry bones and providing an oasis for a thirsty and hungry world in the midst of famine.
Lord, forgive me for not spending enough time being fed in your holy presence. I need you. We need you. Amen.