Famine in the land ∙
Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment. – 1 Peter 2:2
5 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.
6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.
7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.
8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.
9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
What is malnutrition? Malnutrition is a condition that develops when a person’s diet doesn’t contain the right amount of nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissue and organ function. Malnutrition results from an unbalanced diet or a lack of food.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition is the gravest single threat to global public health. Globally, it contributes to 45 percent of the deaths of children under 5 years of age.
What about spiritual malnutrition? George Gallup and Jim Castelli have concluded, “Americans revere the Bible but, by and large, they don’t read it. And because they don’t read it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates.”
Americans suffer from spiritual malnutrition.
A majority of U.S. adults (81 percent) by self-report, consider themselves highly, moderately, or somewhat knowledgeable about the Bible. Yet less than half (43 percent) were able to name the first five books of the Bible.
The Barna Group has discovered many disturbing trends regarding the grasp of Bible knowledge in America.
60% of Americans cannot name even five of the Ten Commandments.
82% of Americans believe “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
12% of adults believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.
More than 50% of graduating high school seniors thought Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.
A large number of respondents thought that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
At no time in human history have so many copies of the Scriptures been available in so many languages and so many different formats. Yet despite this extraordinary abundance, people are experiencing tremendous deprivation. There is a famine in the land. It is a famine for hearing, comprehending, and internalizing the word of God.
Amos 8:11”The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD.
“Christians used to be known as ‘people of one book.’ They memorized it, meditated on it, talked about it, and taught it to others. We don’t do that anymore, and in a very real sense, we’re starving ourselves to death” (Berding).
REFLECT & PRAY
The children of the King should desire the nourishment which comes from the Father’s word with their whole heart.
Father, I recognize that there are times when I have intensely craved Your word and could not get along without it, but at other times, not so much. Stir up and maintain within me a strong hunger for spiritual food that can only be satisfied by the living word of God.
1 Peter 2:2-3
2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment,
3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
The Scriptures are quite clear. All children of the King need spiritual food to maintain spiritual health and growth. Human babies are born hungry. They need and crave mother’s milk. They cry for it, in their own way, they demand it. For new parents, a newborn baby becomes like a demanding boss who spends much of their waking hours complaining.
As children of the King, we are to be like newborn babies that require spiritual milk for the nourishment of our hearts and souls. Unlike physical babies, we never outgrow our need for the pure milk that the Father has made available to us. Each of us should have a strong, intense personal desire that never wanes. It may sound a bit odd, but we are to seek to be hungry. Because when we are hungry, we are fed.
But not just any spiritual milk will do. The milk must be pure and untainted. It must be fresh and vibrant, spiritually nourishing and life-giving.
The Greek word translated pure is adolos. It comes from a – without and dolos– guile, deceit. Dolosis the word used for fish bait. Adolos connotes being honest, truthful, pure, and sincere.
The FDA is charged with the responsibility of guaranteeing the purity of foods sold to babies. Sadly, only you and you alone can guarantee the purity of your spiritual food.
Tragedy of tragedies, in a land of plenty, pure milk is hard to find. We live in a time of famine on the land – not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD (Amos 8:11).
“God’s Word has life, gives life, and nourishes life. We should have appetites for the Word just like hungry newborn babes! We should want the pure Word, unadulterated, because this alone can help us grow. When I was a child, I did not like to drink milk (and my father worked for the Borden Dairy!), so my mother used to add various syrups and powders to make my milk tastier. None of them really ever worked. It is sad when Christians have no appetite for God’s Word, but must be “fed” religious entertainment instead” (Wiersbe).
As infants have a taste and a craving for their mothers’ nutritious milk, so we are to develop a taste and a craving for the life-giving Word of God. Growing in Christ requires that we spend time in His Word (Stanley).