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Famine of the Word of the Lord

Extracted from an email response to a brother who was lamenting the of a lack of hunger for God's Word; by Dean VanDruff.

This disease is more widespread than your area, I can assure you.

When I started our present "style" of Bible Study, a mentor in the body of Christ whom I submitted the studies to in advance of teaching them advised me that "no one will ever endure that much Scripture". Another early reviewer quipped "get any repeat customers?" Yet somehow, God brought us those who had just this hunger, and this can only be considered a miracle of grace.

There is an underlying hatred for the Word of God in some "Christian" circles. Sure, the Bible is trotted out occasionally to justify something or other, but in general it is avoided in context. Especially the prophets.

The famine we now see is due to poor stewardship. We have brought in on ourselves.

I must confess a rather unusual episode that happened several years back while in prayer in Austin with some believers. I felt the presence of God very vividly all of a sudden, and before I knew it I began to yell out: "We hate Your word! We are sick of Your opinions. We have no interest in what You have to say..." and so on and so on. It was most embarrassing. Lots of dumb stares, and the end of the prayer time. Laura said afterwards that the episode reminded her of a friend we know with the gift of prophecy. Since is was not intentional and hard to understand, I was totally humiliated.

Later, I saw that this was a bulls eye for this church, these people, and this city. Scripture was read, when at all, with a spirit of duty, but in general avoided like the plague. Several refused to read modern translations, having pigeonholed the old and archaic into nice little comfort zones of general intelligibility. When read in pubic, the tone was dour. Even talking on the roadside and such of the Lord and His ways was difficult, with a zeal instead for talk of cars, houses, and lands... or worse.

As time went on, I realized that God had put in my heart the attitude of these people with perfection.

As to the nature of the prophetic "outburst", I later found this to be a common technique and message--even in first person--of the prophets of old.

Isa 30:11 (NIV) ..."Stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!"

The prophet is not speaking for himself, but stating the essential instinct of the people. By stating a piercing revelation of what is really going on, the underlying sin instinct is exposed. Examples such as this came to encourage and teach me about what had occurred in the strange episode of my own "outburst", even if after the fact. First person confessions, not fit for the prophet himself, are a valid form of prophetic utterance. Perhaps such is only needed during a time of self-inflicted famine, for those so far gone that only a chiding sarcasm can penetrate through?

Jer 6:10 (NIV) "To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so that they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it."

Jer 5:5 (NIV) "So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God." But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds.

Jer 20:8-9 (NIV) Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the Lord has brought me insult and reproach all day long. But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

Lord, we pray You would soften up the parched ground of our hearts towards Your word. For we have dropped our swords, and are left defenseless. Give us a spirit of boldness and violence, to smash down the idols that have eclipsed You in our minds. Let us care little what men think, and aim to stand in Your council, to hear Your word, and then speak it regardless of the cost.

Lord, raise up true Prophets among us, and let us not despise them!

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