Preparing For Famine In Times of Abundance

Joseph Jesus Similarities

This mornings Bible study has been a journey of sorts, let me tell you about it. When I woke up this morning I believe God put a thought in my mind, an unusual thought. It was about a scripture in the Book of Ezekiel. I haven’t read or thought about that book in quite some time making this odd thought the more interesting spiritually. The thought was about when God told Ezekiel to look at a hole in the wall of the temple. God was telling Ezekiel to be a “peeping tom” of sorts. When I sat up on the side of my bed I tried to remember all I could about that scripture but all that came to mind was that there were people in the room Ezekiel was peeping in on. God appears to Ezekiel who is a captive in a foreign land for 6 years, 6 months and 5 days now. God spiritually transports Ezekiel to the temple in Jerusalem so he can see whats going on there. The scripture goes like this,

Ezekiel 8:6-12   Furthermore He said to me, “Son of man, do you see what they are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel commits here, to make Me go far away from My sanctuary? Now turn again, you will see greater abominations.” 7 So He brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, there was a hole in the wall. 8 Then He said to me, “Son of man, dig into the wall”; and when I dug into the wall, there was a door.

9 And He said to me, “Go in, and see the wicked abominations which they are doing there.” 10So I went in and saw, and there—every sort of creeping thing, abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed all around on the walls. 11 And there stood before them seventy men of the elders of the house of Israel, and in their midst stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan. Each man had a censer in his hand, and a thick cloud of incense went up. 12 Then He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the room of his idols? For they say, ‘The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land.’ ”

What the abominations that are portrayed on the walls are isn’t told but in my mind I imagined the problem that pornography in the church presents. Studies have shown that a high percentage of Christian men and even pastors struggle with porn. This post is not to address that issue. If you are interested in learning more this Google search will shed some light on the problem.

Israel had already been under God’s judgment for 6 and a half years but there was no sign of repentance by the priests that were allowed to stay in Jerusalem. God had told Jeremiah that the captivity would last for 70 years. But Ezekiel’s vision goes on,

Ezekiel 8:13-16  And He said to me, “Turn again, and you will see greater abominations that they are doing.” 14 So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the Lord’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.

15 Then He said to me, “Have you seen this, O son of man? Turn again, you will see greater abominations than these.” 16 So He brought me into the inner court of the Lord’s house; and there, at the door of the temple of the Lord, between the porch and the altar, were about twenty-five men with their backs toward the temple of the Lord and their faces toward the east, and they were worshiping the sun toward the east.

At that point I stopped reading Ezekiel and looked to the commentaries about these verses. Tammuz is a month on the Hebrew calendar that falls around late June, near the summer solstice. Was God showing Ezekiel that they were worshiping the sun instead of Him. I stopped reading to seek God’s thoughts on what is being presented here. Then out of the blue a scripture came to mind about a famine for God’s Word. I Googled that thought and found it in the Book of Amos,

Amos 8:11-12 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord. 12 They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, But shall not find it.

Israel had so angered God that He shut down almost all communication between them and heaven. Only a few prophets heard from God. Everything else said was the word of God was nothing but lies spread by false prophets. Yesterday’s devotional reading was about a prophet telling Israel that their captivity in Babylon would soon be over after only a couple years. Jeremiah received a Word from God to tell that prophet that not only was he lying but that before the year was over he would die. Two months later Hananiah died, in the summer.

This thing about “summer” being a part of the picture began to get my attention. Chapter 8 of Amos also addresses summer,

Amos 8:1-3  Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, a basket of summer fruit. 2 And He said, “Amos, what do you see?” So I said, “A basket of summer fruit.”

Then the Lord said to me: “The end has come upon My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore. 3 And the songs of the temple Shall be wailing in that day,” Says the Lord God— “Many dead bodies everywhere,They shall be thrown out in silence.”

There is an interesting thing the Holy Spirit does using the Hebrew words used here like is done in the Book of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah God asks him “what do you see Jeremiah?” Jeremiah says an “almond branch” and God says “you have seen well because I am watching over my word to perform it.” The words almond and watch in Hebrew are spelled and sound very similar. Here in Amos the words summer fruit and end act the same also.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers
(1, 2) The visions are resumed as though the priest at Bethel had trembled at the presence of Amos, and had ceased to persecute him. There is a remarkable play of words, qaits being the Hebrew for “summer fruit,” and qêts for “end.” It is harvest time, the end of the agricultural year. Israel is ripe for his final doom, that shall sweep down like a scythe. For “pass by” see on Amos 7:8.

Maclaren’s Commentary – The point of the vision is rather obscured by the rendering ‘summer fruit.’ ‘Ripe fruit’ would be better, since the emblem represents the Northern Kingdom as ripe for the dreadful ingathering of judgment. The word for this {qayits} and that for ‘the end’ {qets} are alike in sound, but the play of words cannot be reproduced, except by some clumsy device, such as ‘the end ripens’ or ‘the time of ripeness comes.’ The figure is frequent in other prophecies of judgment, as, for instance, in Revelation 14:14Revelation 14:20.

As I thought of these scriptures pointing to “summer” another scripture came to mind from Jeremiah 8. Insterestly another chapter 8 as in Ezekiel 8, Amos 8 and now Jeremiah 8, 888. 888 is the gematria value of the name of Jesus in Greek.

Jesus 888

Jeremiah 8:19-20  Listen! The voice, The cry of the daughter of my people From a far country: “Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her King in her?” “Why have they provoked Me to anger With their carved images— With foreign idols?” 20 “The harvest is past, The summer is ended, And we are not saved!”

Jeremiah is addressing the same problem God finds and continues to find throughout scripture against His people. They constantly are turning from worshipping Him and instead worship idols. At some points along the way God lets them “harvest” the fruit of their sins but the cycle repeats itself over and over. Their rejection of Jesus brought a 2,000 year harvest and famine upon the Jewish people. For 2,000 years no temple or prophets speaking God’s Word to the one He calls the “apple of His eye.”

I had to stop reading to take all this in. Summer, harvest and famine, a famine of God’s Word at that. I thought, isn’t that what is going on now throughout much of the world? Because of this Covid 19 virus many churches have stopped meeting or the elderly are cautioned to social distance church going. Many Christians are doing exactly what Amos said, looking to hear the Word of God by online services,

12 They shall wander from sea to sea, And from north to east; They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, But shall not find it.

Honestly my relationship with God doesn’t rely on attending a church service. I spend from 2 to 4 hours in Bible study, sometimes more every day. My communion with God is far more valuable to me than to regulate it to once a week for an hour or two. I need God daily, hourly in my life to deal with what we are facing today on top of keeping my flesh down where it belongs. Staying in the Word of God and seeking His Presence is the ONLY way I can hope to achieve that. That thought and principle brings me to the “Joseph” connection to this post.

Joseph lived at a time and through times not at all unlike the ones we are in today. His own family shunned him because he claimed to receive revelation from God. Joseph’s life was tested by God on many fronts, forgiveness, lust, power to name a few. Through it all Joseph kept his eyes, heart and mind on pleasing God. In every situation Joseph placed God first. That brings me again to summer, harvest and famine.

God gave Joseph the interpretation to Pharaoh’s dream concerning a time of great and widespread famine to come. God gave Joseph the wisdom to store up food for when the time of famine would come, children in Sunday schools understand this story. Do adults understand this story, spiritually?

Amos warned of a famine of God’s Word coming in the end times. End times of Israel’s history and prophetically the end times of the Gentiles. What’s a good Christian Gentile that has put their hope, faith and trust in Jesus to do? In past and recent years what has much of church leadership taught it’s people to do? Keep bringing before God their wish list of wants to provide them their “best life now?” How much or how often have you ever heard a message to address the issues God brought to Ezekiel, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Hosea. My people are greedy and can sit back and watch their brothers and sisters starve and suffer hardships through calloused hearts.

Besides their sins of idolatry, the hard hearts of God’s people towards God’s people is the theme He kept bringing to their attention. Is that why many Christians don’t spend time in God’s Word more? Paul said God’s Word is a mirror that shows us our sinful condition. I think the Word of God points out Israel’s failures and warnings against them more than patting them on the back for a job well done. Since the fall in the garden of Eden, man’s nature is fallen and naturally chooses that way. You don’t have to teach a baby to be selfish or say no, that comes naturally. The Word of God’s mirror has to show us our imperfections and the Perfection of Jesus Christ to show us we need Him as our Savior every day of our life. Not only on the day we prayed a sinners prayer. That was only baby step number one.

How much of God’s Word have you hidden in your heart that you might not sin against God? In the times of famine of God’s Word to the world a prudent Christian will be like the preppers or horaders. They will will have already stored up tons of provisions in preparation for that need of the day.  As I just wrote that I remembered that’s the verse of the day on my YouVersion Bible app,


As I said at the beginning of this post, today’s Bible study has been a journey of sorts. From a thought about Ezekiel to Amos’ famine of the Word of God to Joseph, a type of Jesus Christ dealing with an approaching famine. God may not give out that many “atta boy’s” in the Word of God but He does let you know if you are on the right path. God through His Holy Spirit will lead and guide you on paths where at times will make you wonder, “where is this going.” But God will tie the loose ends together and the path will lead somewhere that once you get there you will think, “I never saw it coming.”

Praise you my Dear Heavenly Father for the journey’s you take me on in Your Holy Word!!!

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