There have been several times in world history when food has been in very short supply, normally due to a lack of rainfall. Abraham, soon after arriving in Canaan, experienced famine so moved to Egypt for a short time (Gen 12:10). Later under Joseph’s direction food was stored during seven years of abundant harvest to carry through the next seven years of famine which affected the whole world (Gen 41:47-49,53-57). Because Joseph heard from God, adequate preparation averted disastrous consequences. Do I have such a close relationship with God and live in dependency on Him, so I know His voice and act on it?
Jesus said one of the signs signaling the end times would be famines (Mt 24:7). The question is asked, “Can famine separate us from the love of God?” The answer is a definite “No” (Rom 8:35-37).
Burgeoning birth rates in some countries coupled with dramatic crop failures due to climatic changes are putting added strain on the available food supplies even for those able to afford increased prices.
Malnutrition and death by starvation affect many millions of people, particularly children each year.
Famines are allowed by God to gain people’s attention and redirect their lives as to where and how to live, out working His purposes and judgement (2 Sam 21:1; 2 Kgs 6:25; Amos 4:6; Hab 3:17,18; Rev 6:8). As a general rule obedience brings prosperity, while disobedience leads to want and poverty (Lev 26:14-16; Ps 1:1-3; Prov 3:7-10). Everything will be given to us that we need to do God’s will in order to glorify God most fully, even if it means death from starvation. Our priority is always to seek first His Kingdom (Mt 6:33).
There is a difference between need and greed
world’s resources, the corrupt nature of man has selfishly mismanaged the distribution of the basics of life. The affluent have largely followed the self-centered way of the rich fool who was only absorbed with himself and failed to alleviate the needs of others out of his surplus (Lk 12:16-21). While some consume in excess causing many bodily ailments, others suffer lack. God has provided, yet man has failed to be concerned and share. As Christians, we are to be God’s hands and feet ministering to the physical needs of those unable to help themselves, and in reality we are doing it to Him (Mt 25:34-45; Lk 3:11). We are to do to others as we would they do to us, recognizing it is more blessed to give than receive (Lk 6:31; Act 20:35).
Throughout the Bible feeding the hungry, including the widows who had no other support system, is stated as an important part of true religion, with our good works directed at both those outside and inside the church (Isa 58:10; Act 6:1; Gal 6:10; 1 Tim 5:3ff; Jas 1:27, 2:15,16). While Jesus, through miracles, provided food on at least two occasions for thousands of people, His emphasis was on spiritual food, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Mt 14:15-21, 15:32-38; Jn 6:27). He said, “I am the Bread of Life...If anyone eats of this bread, they will live forever” (Jn 6:35,51). Physical food only satisfies temporarily while salvation through Him lasts forever. “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Deut 8:3; Mt 4:4). Many who have plenty in the material realm are starving spiritually; although catering for present needs they are making no provision for the most-important next life (Rev 3:17).
Some of the steps we can take to survive when food is scarce include being disciplined and frugal now – by living simply – which is often more healthy too. Many people for their own enjoyment as well as economics can have at least a small vegetable garden to supplement the produce purchased.
The nation of Israel, because they had abandoned God was not interested in hearing from the Lord, especially the prophecies announcing pending judgment (Amos 8:2). God stated He would send a famine of hearing the Word of God (Amos 8:11,12). This occurred when the Assyrians took them into captivity around 720 BC resulting in there being no words of prophecy, preaching of the word or explaining of the Scriptures.
There is however a joint application; not only did this happen to the nation of Israel but in the end-times, "The time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine...They will turn aside from the truth" (2 Tim 3:1-5, 4:3,4). False teachers will arise and deceive many people preaching another Jesus and a different gospel that contradicts the Scriptures (Mt 24:5; 2 Cor 11:1-4). Even today there are a growing number of pastors and teachers who are abandoning sound biblical teaching and the message of the cross for the cheap gospel. Rather than telling lost sinners of the desperate need of salvation, they are replacing it with prosperity and feel-good self-esteem. This downward trend will climax with an end-time religious leader who will do all he can to stifle and obliterate true Biblical Christianity, forbidding the proclamation of the gospel and the light of God's revelation. Those who have dispised God's Word, although they seek for a message from God will not find Him.
We are responsible for our 'food'
insights during my personal devotions? Am I desperate to receive (and act on) a Word from God that will impact my life? Remember Jesus said the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth so be intentional in your efforts and expectant to receive (Jn 16:13).
See also: cheap gospel, end-times, fasting, food, hunger, poverty, preparation.