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How Hungry Are You?

How Hungry Are You?

   Usually, when we think of hunger, we think of our physical desire for the food which the body requires. While it is true that the body is dependent on food to sustain it, we probably have never experienced true hunger.   I know we all say things like: “I’m starved to death”, but it’s most likely that none of us in this country have faced the pains associated with starvation.   We may not like or appreciate the types or kinds of foods prepared for us or made available to us, but there is most always sustenance of some kind available for us.

    There is a type of “starvation” that is prevalent in this nation as well as throughout the world that has nothing to do with the intake of food designed for cell growth and such. That which is under consideration is the deficiency of the desire for the Spiritual food God has provided humanity.   Abraham Lincoln, our nation’s 16th President once said of the Sacred Volume: “I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave the world was communicated through this book. But for it, we could not know right from wrong.   All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are to be found portrayed in it.”     These profound words from one of our nation’s fallen leaders show the impact that God’s Spiritual food can have in our lives if we will but let it.  

     In John 4:32-34 after an arduous journey, the Lord explained the true concept of “spiritual nourishment” to His disciples when they implored Him to eat.   But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.  We are not told if indeed they fully understood at this point, but many, including the Samaritans believed on Him because of His Word and the deeds He performed while with them after talking to the woman at the well.

    During the preaching of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus delivered what we have come to know as “The Beatitudes”. These are not, as brother Foy E. Wallace states, simply: “maxims to print on calendars; as mottoes to hang on the wall; as rules of behavior; as a social document to regulate human conduct; and as a sort of panacea for all the social ills that affect us an afflict us one way or another in our society. But the Sermon on the Mount is a doctrinal declaration.” (Number One Gospel Sermons pg. 94). Within these “Beatitudes” we find Matthew 5:6. Those who are “hungry” for the Word of God will be “happy” and filled. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  How hungry are you?

     The Spirit had king Solomon address this great need in God’s people Israel in Proverbs 29:18, which uses the word “happy” – the same idea as “blessed”. God’s Law to Israel was His Word, and they were to be sustained by it.   Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  There have been many that desired to hear the Word of God.   Some in the New Testament time sought out those who could “feed” them. Not all reactions to the “Spiritual Food” God provides in His Word are the same. In Acts 13:7there was a deputy of the country who was “hungry”. Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of GodWe are told in vs 12 that the deputy “believed”. This does not mean that he only believed, but also obeyed when spiritually filled with the “doctrine”.

     There is also the well-known case of the Ethiopian eunuch of Acts 8:31. He was reading God’s Word, seeking spiritual nourishment.  And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with himWe are told in this account that Philip “began at the same scripture and preached unto him Jesus.”   The baptism and the rejoicing that follows shows that this once “hungry” man had been nourished.    Another case of desire to hear the Word of God did not yield similar results. Acts 24:24-25 finds Felix expressing the desire to be fed with the Word of God.   It seems that he did not find the truth very palatable. His reaction said it all. No food, physical or spiritual will quench hunger if one will not “eat it”. And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.  25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. Seems he was not hungry after all.

     However, it is the duty and the privilege for Christians to continually “serve up” on-going helpings of spiritual food for those that are hungry by preaching and guiding folks toward, and in the Word of God. In 1Timothy 4:6 the Spirit had Paul direct Timothy in this regard. He wrote: If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 

     Should we not also be happy to be able to assemble to be spiritually fed?   The Spirit had the Psalmist express this very thing in Psalm 122:1. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.      HOW HUNGRY ARE YOU?                

                            Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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