God’s Four Sore Judgments – Part 3, Famine – A


Audio Links

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


God’s Four Sore Judgments – Part 3, When I Send My… Sore Judgment… The Famine – A

Gen 12:10 And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.

Gen 12:13 Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.

Gen 26:1 And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar.

Gen 26:7 And the men of the place asked him of his wife; and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife; lest, said he, the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah; because she was fair to look upon.

Rev 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

Eze 14:21 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?

Introduction

Every general in any army throughout history knows the adage “an army moves on its stomach”. But those same generals know that an army must also be disciplined before it will obey orders and follow its leaders. God’s army is His Israel, and He knows that we cannot be of service to either Him or ourselves if we are starving. Knowing that an army must be disciplined and knowing that an army moves on its stomach, this is what He does for His soldiers:

Deu 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna [a type of the words of Christ, Joh 6:32-35], which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

In John 6 Christ makes this statement:

Joh 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

“You have no life in you” because you are being starved to death by “a famine of the words of [Christ]” (Amo 8:11). Just a few verses later Christ tells us this:

Joh 6:58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead [“had no life in them”]: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

The ‘manna’ of the Old Testament did not give life to anyone. They “are [all] dead”. But the “bread of life”, which is the doctrines of Christ, His “flesh and [His] blood”, give us life and will save us from the “famine of the words of the Lord” which gave death to all those who ate the manna in the Old Testament. The manna of the Old Testament and the words Christ gave Moses to give to Israel, and Israel itself, were one and all types and shadows of the flesh and blood of Christ, and the flesh and blood of Christ are New Testament types of His sayings, His words, and His doctrines. If Christ’s words are life, then everyone before Christ died of “a famine of the words of the Lord”.

Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

As a spiritual type of the true food needed to feed His people, Christ supernaturally fed the entire nation of Israel for forty years on manna. It was not to kill them, it was “to prove them” and to save them. But Israel’s salvation comes only through the death of the “carnal, flesh and blood, old man”. God does indeed take us into the wilderness to kill our old man in the depths of the sea, and in the wanderings in the wilderness until our old man’s carcass dies of spiritual starvation, right there in the wilderness, simply because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”:

Num 14:22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
Num 14:23 Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:
Num 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Num 14:26 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
Num 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
Num 14:28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
Num 14:29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
Num 14:30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
Num 14:31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
Num 14:32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.

It is through the death of the “old man”, typified by the older generation, that the new man, typified by the younger generation, is birthed and is given to enter into the promised land. A worldly army lives by every word of its commanders, and God’s army lives by every word that proceeds out of His mouth (Mat 4:4). There is no distrust of a commander in the armies of this world. Those who do not trust their commanders and who want to argue with their commanders are soon removed from the army and are replaced by someone who will follow orders and respect those in command of the army.

Our Lord does not tolerate insubordination in His army. He asks Moses and Aaron:

Num 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
Num 14:28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:

The urgency of the battle is far too great to risk having a troop member who wants to argue with his commander at a critical moment in the battle. Christ gives us that very message when He asks us:

Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Yet Christ is patient with all of us. He knew His disciples were not at first capable of being obedient to the things which He had taught them. He knew that just as He had dealt with the carnal nation of Israel, so also His disciples would first have to “suffer hunger” (Deu 8:3) before they would appreciate the provisions He would give them to satisfy that hunger.

The adversary will take the words of this study and twist them to say that I am demanding obedience to my words without question. Anyone with the spirit of Christ will immediately know that is a lie, and that the only captain of the Lord’s army is the only head of His body, and that is Christ Himself:

1Co 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Anyone who knows anything about this fellowship knows the words of Christ, as implemented by the commandments given us in Mat 18:15-35 are the words which keep Christ Himself at the head of His own body, His own flesh and bones (Eph 5:30).

Let us look at what Christ deliberately did to Israel:

Exo 16:2 And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:
Exo 16:3 And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.
Exo 16:4 Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

Who accuses God of such things as wanting to kill us with hunger? The answer of course, is our “old man” in all of us. So God tells us that it was indeed He who brought them into the wilderness and who caused them to hunger. But He did so for this purpose:

Mat 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

All troops being prepared for battle are put through endurance trials. They go on long hikes, they do without sleep, and they are taught to provide for themselves. The Lord’s soldier’s are also told:

Deu 13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
Deu 13:2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
Deu 13:3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

And what does “Love the Lord your God” mean? Does it mean you had a dream that came true? No, that is not what it means to “Love the Lord your God”. Here is how you will know who truly loves you, and who does and who does not “love the Lord”:

1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

The holy spirit reiterates this principle of being diligent in the New Testament, and we will see that the holy spirit connects a diligent spirit with being spiritually well fed and with feeding our fellow servants as well. God’s judgment of “the famine” comes upon upon us when we are not faithful to do all of His ordinances. When we are not watching and praying, we become spiritually famished, and we begin to feed our flesh, at the expense of the spirit:

Mat 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
Mat 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them [the wicked] all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Mat 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken [the old man], and the other left.
Mat 24:41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken [the old man], and the other left.
Mat 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Mat 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
Mat 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Mat 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat [“the bread of life… the Word of the Lord”] in due season?
Mat 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Mat 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
Mat 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
Mat 24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; [“a famine of the Word of the Lord”]
Mat 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
Mat 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

How do we “give [the Lord’s] household… meat in due season? As hard as it is for our natural man to grasp, the way we give our Lord’s household their meat in due season is by not “eating and drinking with the drunken”. As hard as it is for our natural man to understand, it is those who do “eat and drink with the drunken” who are suffering from “a famine of the words of the Lord” (Amo 8:11).

God’s judgments are for the purpose of teaching us to be righteous, and His judgment of ‘the famine’ has just that effect. God causes us to hunger and suffer from famine for the very purpose of filling that hunger as Mat 5:6 tells us; “they which do hunger … shall be filled”. It is through long years of “the famine of the Word” that we are judged and we learn to appreciate the endless provisions that are the Word of God:

Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

Every time we did what we knew was wicked, we were “smiting [our] fellowservants and eat[ing] and drink[ing] with the drunken”. God’s “four sore judgments” humble us and cast out those beasts that are in our land. But we must realize that even the judgment of “the famine” takes time, and it is not accomplished overnight. This is one of the earliest scriptural statements concerning the length of time involved in the process of God’s judgments upon our “land” and the giants and the beasts that roam about in our “land”:

Exo 23:30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.

Christ also emphasizes this fact. In the parable of the vineyard and the husbandmen Christ gives us the same message of being patient with how long God’s works, including “the famine of the words of the Lord”, take in our lives:

Luk 21:19 In your patience possess ye your souls.

Christ knew and He knows now that it is He who is “work[ing] all things after the counsel of His own will”. That is why Luke 21:19 is preceded by the parable of the vineyard and the husbandmen:

Luk 20:9 Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.

This “long time” while the Lord is in “a far country” is the same spiritual message as the time of the famine which we must all patiently endure as God judges us and as we “learn righteousness”. This is just how important it is that we endure the time we spend while we know we are not pleasing the Lord, and yet we are powerless to change anything. This is just how important “the famine in [our] land” is to our spiritual maturity:

Jas 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
Jas 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

If we say to ourselves, “Christ says nothing of a famine in this parable of the vineyard”, then we are not aware of the meaning of the word ‘famine’ by which God judges us. Here is what the scriptures reveal when speaking of “a famine in the land”.

Amo 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

When we are “seated… in the heavens” with Christ (Eph 2:6), He is not “in a far country for a long time”, rather He is “near thee… in your mouth, and in your heart”.

Rom 10:6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
Rom 10:7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
Rom 10:8 But what saith it? The word [Christ] is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Just as the new man comes out of the old man “through much tribulation” (Act 14:22), so too, do the Christ-like actions of the new man come only through the very trying experiences we all have in these earthen vessels. “The time is come that… [God’s four sore judgments] must begin at [His Jerusalem]”:

Eze 14:21 For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?

You and I are God’s ‘Jerusalem’, His wayward wife, and we do not “return” to Him and repent of our own ways without Him first making us to see what He has first made us to be. Our “old man” is His work, just as much as our new man, and He judges our old man with His “four sore judgments”, the second of which is “the famine”, which is the subject of our study today. Each trial we endure prepares us for our next trial. The ‘famine of His Word” is one of His judgments which works in us a hunger for His word. It is all His work within us. He starves us, and then He feeds us to the full:

Deu 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

Psa 90:3 Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

Mat 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

When God has decided that we have spent enough time in lives of “destruction” and “famine”, then, and not until that time, He tells us to return to Him. But Psa 90:3 is not the sum of His Word on how He works that “return”. The Truth is that we do not just suddenly, naturally and willingly “return” to God. Our time of famine can and does, go on for many years before God gives us “the true bread of life”. The truth is that God has ordained that it would be only through His chastening, scourging, and “through much tribulation that we will all, in the end, “return to [Him]”.

Psa 119:67 Before I was afflicted [was spiritually starved to death] I went astray: but now [after you have afflicted me with “your judgment…the famine”] have I kept thy word.

Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

God is in the process of using His four sore judgments to “afflict” us and to bring His elect to Himself in this age, and He is able to starve our old man to death when He decides that it is time to do so. Truth starves lies to death, and lies starve Truth to death. But we do not at first know we are being starved. Those who are starving us would have us to believe that we are free and that we have everything we need and that we are in need of nothing. When we are in this state of being, we are oblivious to our sad, starving state of being. Of course even this is a work of God in our lives as Isaiah and Jeremiah tell us:

Isa 42:25 Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

Jer 34:16 But ye [our self-righteous old man] turned and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his handmaid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection [“smite his fellowservants” – Mat 24:49] to be unto you for servants and for handmaids [to sin].
Jer 34:17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ye have not hearkened unto me, in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbour: behold, I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the LORD, to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.

Here is this same message in New Testament terms:

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

The trying by “fire” and “the famine” are one and the same thing, and they happen within us at the same time, as the key verse in Revelation 18, with which we opened this study, demonstrates:

Rev 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues [Babylon the Great, the “great whore”] come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

One stage in the dying life of our old man is that part of our lives when we are dominated by what the scriptures call a great whore. She is a whore because at that time we are more intent on pleasing our own lusts and men of this world than we desire to be faithful to and serve our true husband, Christ. That is the spiritual application of this key verse we just quoted. Here is how “the famine of the words of the Lord” upon our self-righteous old man, as God’s rejected anointed in the Old Testament is revealed to us in scripture:

1Sa 24:16 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.
1Sa 24:17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.
1Sa 24:18 And thou hast shewed this day how that thou hast dealt well with me: forasmuch as when the LORD had delivered me into thine hand, thou killedst me not.
1Sa 24:19 For if a man find his enemy, will he let him go well away? wherefore the LORD reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day.
1Sa 24:20 And now, behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand.
1Sa 24:21 Swear now therefore unto me by the LORD, that thou wilt not cut off my seed after me, and that thou wilt not destroy my name out of my father’s house.
1Sa 24:22 And David sware unto Saul. And Saul went home; but David and his men gat them up unto the hold.

King Saul is in type our old man who is being judged with “the famine of the words of the Lord”. He knows that the new man will one day take the kingdom, but he is powerless to change who he is, and just a few days and just two chapters later, he is again attempting to destroy the new man:

1Sa 26:1 And the Ziphites came unto Saul to Gibeah, saying, Doth not David hide himself in the hill of Hachilah, which is before Jeshimon?
1Sa 26:2 Then Saul arose, and went down to the wilderness of Ziph, having three thousand chosen men of Israel with him, to seek David in the wilderness of Ziph.

King Saul was suffering from a spiritual famine, and it is in that same state that we are cut off from the kingdom of God even though we are God’s anointed. King Saul had tasted of the kingdom, but King Saul is the Old Testament type of “the Lord’s… rejected… anointed”. He is the symbol of who we are as productive members in the churches of this world. We produce “many wonderful works”, but the Lord will still tell us “I never knew you”:

1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
1Sa 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

1Sa 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

The so-called ‘unpardonable sin’ is really nothing but the doom of our self-righteous, rejected anointed, old man who is suffering from the fire and famine that comes on us while we are dominated by the self-righteousness of Babylon:

Heb 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
Heb 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world [aion, age] to come,
Heb 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Heb 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Heb 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
Heb 10:30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

All of these verses are telling us just this:

1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

King Saul is God’s rejected anointed who has tasted the powers of the age to come, but he typifies us as who we are in the self-righteousness of Babylon. Like Job he “loves God and eschews evil” (Job 1:1), but he is not granted to fear God more than men or to acknowledge his own self-righteousness. Both Job and King Saul typify the great harlot. As such we are still being dominated by “the people” (1Sa 15:21), and by the beast that is our own rebellious flesh which “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1Co 15:50).

It is a shock to us to learn that even as the Lord’s anointed, the Lord has to tell us that because we feared men more than we feared Him:

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

There are people in this age who have “tasted the good Word of God, and the powers of the world to come, [who do] fall away”, and who are not “renewed again unto repentance” in this age. But the “judgment and fiery indignation” of the lake of fire will teach righteousness to the most incorrigible of men:

Isa 26:9 With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

There is more that needs to be said about this particular judgment. So if the Lord wills, next Sunday we will continue this study on how the judgment of “the famine” will be used by God to deliver the kingdoms of this world into the hands and the power of His elect. What we will learn next week is how the principle of “not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual” applies to the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ”.

1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

Other related posts