Are You Hungry?

In a few days America will gather all over the nation to eat and celebrate Thanksgiving.  Most of us will eat to the point we need to repent.  But, the issue of real physical hunger has never been experienced by most of us.    Controlling our appetites is an ongoing battle for many of us.  Most of us eat too much!  But, one huge “red flag” for all of us is that if a person stops eating and has no appetite more than likely we will all agree the person is sick.  There is something wrong.  That person who is not eating needs to see a doctor.  A person who does not eat could die if there is not a change.  We understand this principle and look for the danger signs if this is happening to a friend or a love one.  If a person has a eating disorder we do all we can to get that person help.  That makes sense and it is right for us to do something to help.  Biologically God put in our bodies indicators called hunger and thirst to tell us we need to replenish these engines where we can live and survive.

But, the Word tells us in our spiritual transformation we are blessed when we hunger and thirst after righteousness.  These are indicators placed in us that often tell us if we are healthy and doing well.  Ironically, in our churches today there is no appetite for the things of God.  The latest polls tells us that 89% of the people who attended church last Sunday will not touch the Bible until they pick it up the next Sunday to come to church.  In other words they ate a spiritual meal at church last Sunday and have not eaten ANYTHING for a whole week!   This is a red flag that our churches have a eating disorder and they are very, very sick.  The Church needs spiritual medical attention.

Psalm 23 teaches us that God cares about our appetite and hunger for the things He has prepared for us to prepare to live with Him for eternity.  In Verse 2  says: “He makes us lie down in green pastures.”  The sheep are not asked or negotiated with–the Shepherd  “makes” them lie down in green pastures where they can eat.  In Verse 5 the Psalmist tells us:  “You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”  In the Beatitudes found in Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 5 verse 6:  “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”  These are the Words of Jesus telling us we are blessed when we are desperate for righteousness.  Being hungry and thirsty are desperate conditions.  Hungry men–men who are starving do not debate or argue about the menu.  Thirsty men who are dying of thirst do not debate about the container that provides the water.

It appears like no other time that I can remember the people of God are not hungry or thirsty for the things of God.   If someone invited me to have dinner with them and they went to great effort and cost for that dinner–I arrive and ask where the trash is and I discard a empty bag from McDonalds.  I try to apologize; but, I tell them on my way over there I stopped at McDonalds and filled up on what we call “junk food.”  So, I am full and will not be eating the meal they prepared for me.  If you were the person who has prepared the meal–how would you feel?

How do you think God feels when we show up to be with Him and He “has prepared a table in the presence of your enemies.”  Then we tell Him we are full of the World and all its junk food.  You tell Him by your actions that you prefer the World’s cuisine instead of the provisions of Heaven.  Look at the Hebrew children in Egypt–the Word tells us that their daily diet was “leeks, onions and bitter herbs.”  Four hundred years this had been the food provided by the taskmasters of Egypt.  God sets them free and it is a matter of days they are griping about God’s menu.  I do not know what Manna was–we know that the word means “what is it?”  Whatever it was it was prepared by God so I know it was good!  But what do the Israelites tell Moses?  All you did was bring us out here in this desert to die.  I wish we had the leeks, onions and bitter herbs to eat again.  Unbelievable!  Four hundred years of bondage and they want to return to slavery because of God’s menu!  In essence they are saying we prefer slavery where we can eat onions, leeks and bitter herbs.

I have worked in and out of social ministry environments for way over forty years now.  If we were to take a tour of the inner city ghettos and the schools located it is not likely we will find a child looking like a “third world” child bloated and badly emaciated from hunger and starvation.  Most of the children look happy and appear to have no health issues.  But, in this nation we are engaged in a serious war with childhood obesity.  The children we observe that look healthy are what experts call “nutritionally malnourished.”  They live on the “junk food.”  Doritos, Ding dongs, soda pop and we could go on and on.

Let’s all take a moment as we look at our churches.  They look healthy and well off.  Many of them are huge and we have labeled them our “models” of success.  But, may I suggest that our church are nutritionally malnourished.  In order to attract numbers and have a big church we are serving “junk food” that has no nutritional value.

What about their thirst?  The Israelite  come to a place called Marah–a place of bitterness.  They complain and God commands Moses to cut down a tree and throw it in the water.  This is a symbolic picture of the cross that someday will be thrown into the bitter waters of this World to bring salvation.  But, with hindsight we know today after archeologists have been to the area where we believe the Jews may have been located and looked at the water in the area.  The pools are bitter because of mineral content in the water.  But, the minerals are very medicinal in nature and would have serve to help in the transition of the Jews bodies harden by years of manual  labor that made their bodies hard into bodies that would be conducive for walking and living in a desert.  God had placed in that water medicine that would make them ready for the journey that was before them.

Manna and all the provisions of God in our lives serve two purposes.  First, the provision is meant to sustain us but never satisfy us.  I often remind myself and others when we came to Christ we enlisted in the Lord’s army.  We are now deployed soldiers fighting the enemy that the Word teaches us “… going around seeking those he may devour.  He came to steal, rob and destroy.”   I have read a lot of history and I have never discovered any battlefield that had the allure and ability to create a desire in the hearts of the troops they want to stay there.  They fall in love with hardship and suffering.  No, they want to go home!  They want to escape the battle!  We are deployed soldiers and should long for the call from our Lord that the war is over it is time to come home!

The second thing the provision of God does in our lives is give us an appetite for something better.  The Israelites sent in spies.  The twelve spies came back–ten said no way–they saw giants.  Two–Joshua and Caleb saw it was a go–they saw grasshoppers.  Caleb was forty-five at the time when the invasion was rebuffed by men who walked by sight and not by faith.  On the mission they picked a cluster of grapes in the Valley of Eshkol.  The cluster was so large it had to be carried on a pole carried by two men.  Forty years later Caleb came to Joshua after the land had been taken–and said “I want my mountain.”  I am convinced he was asking for the location of the grapes.  We must understand once we eat the provision of Heaven we no longer hunger for the things of the world but long for the things of heaven.

So, as you and your family gather for this Thanksgiving, are you as hungry for the things of God as you are this month for the things of Thanksgiving?  May I suggest if you are not maybe something is wrong and needs to be confessed and repented of with God!