Continuing on the previous lesson, now Pharaoh promoted Joseph to be the ruler of Egypt. In his new position, Joseph was responsible for the preparation over the upcoming calamity which would befall upon all the lands of Egypt. The account serves us a lesson concerning the revelation of God’s plan behind all the challenges and difficulties that we have experienced.
Did You Know...?
- Signet ring (41:42): In the Egyptian bureaucracy, the event of Pharaoh transferring his signet ring to Joseph signified the delegation of authority to validate documents in the king’s name. [ref]
- Fine linen (41:42): The Hebrew word for “fine linen” is a loan word from Egyptian “byssus,” an Egyptian cloth of exceptional quality. The word “fine linen” was also used in Israel for the Tabernacle furnishings and the priestly vestments. [ref]
- Chariot (41:43) was not only a part of the high office installation but also a war chariot drawn by horses. [ref]
- “Bow the knee!” (41:43) is an expression found in rabbinic Targums, which can literally be interpreted as “father of the king.” While the medieval Jewish commentators translated the term as “bend the knee!” the exclamation in Egyptian can be translated as “attention!” [ref]
- Zaphnath-Paaneah (41:45): In Hebrew, this expression can literally be translated as “revealer of hidden things.” Furthermore, in Egyptian, the expression can literally be translated as “God speaks, he lives.” The Greek-Septuagint transcribed the mentioned expression and can literally be translated as “the sustainer of life.” [ref]
- Asenath (41:45) in Egyptian can be translated literally as “she who belongs to the goddess Neith”
or “she belongs to her father” or “she belongs to you.” [ref]
- Poti-Pherah (41:45) can literally be translated in Egyptian as “he whom the sun-god, Re, has given.” [ref]
- The priest of On (41:45): The Greek-Septuagint literally translated it as “Heliopolis” or “the sun-city.” This city was situated 7 miles northeast of modern Cairo and was the great cultic center of the sun-god Re or Bet-Shemesh in Hebrew (Jer 43:13). Moreover, in Egyptian, the word “On” means “a column,” which reflected the city’s outstanding architectural columns and colonnades. The high priest at On held the exalted title “Greatest of Seers.” In addition, the priestly caste was a commanding influence in Egyptian life. Thus, Joseph married into the elite of Egyptian nobility. [ref]
- “Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt” (41:46): Several historical examples proved that it was not at all extraordinary for foreigners, and Semites in particular, to be welcomed by the court and to rise to positions of responsibility and power in the government of Egypt. [ref]
- Abundantly (41:47): The expression in Hebrew is literally translated as “by handfuls” or “as many stalks of corn as the reaper can grasp in his left hand.”
- Manasseh (41:51): Traditionally, the name “Manasseh,” which literally meant “he who causes to forget,” would most likely be given to a child born after some misfortune, such as the death of an earlier child or of the father. Here, Joseph adapted the name to his own situation. [ref]
- “My affliction” (41:52): In Greek-Septuagint, the phrase can be literally translated as “my humiliation.”
- Famine (41:54): The river Nile received water supply from the rainfall in southern Sudan. Inadequate amount of rainfall would significantly reduce the Nile’s water. Thus, severely affecting the Egyptian agriculture. [ref]
How did the book of Genesis chapter 41 reflect God’s absolute power over mankind and the course of history?Hide Answer
The book of Genesis chapter 41 reflected God’s omnipotence over mankind and the course of history. First, through the narration, chapter 41 of the book of Genesis expressed how the Lord was omnipotent over the power of men.Though Pharaoh was the most powerful ruler of all the lands of Egypt, who also had his magicians and wise men all over the lands, he was unable to obtain the answer from the dreams’ mystery (Gen 41:8). It was only when God purposely revealed the mystery of the dream to Pharaoh through Joseph, that Pharaoh was able to understand the meaning of his dreams (Gen 41:25-32).
Second, the narrative of chapter 41 revealed how God had the ultimate control over the course of history of the nations. Though Egypt was a nation well-known for its riches, pleasures of sins, magicians and wise men (Heb 11:25-26; Gen 41:8), the mentioned powerful nation was powerless against the seven years of severe famine from the Lord (Gen 41:30-31). Unless God had mercy on Egypt, all the lands of Egypt would perish (Gen 41:36). The Lord, through Joseph His servant, mercifully and gracefully warned and guided the nation to prepare the people for the coming calamity (Gen 41:53-57). Thus, all the lands of Egypt and the surrounding countries could be preserved in that course of history, without having to perish from the severe famine.
How was the advice of Joseph viewed by the Egyptians?
How did the Pharaoh respond to Joseph’s advice?
How did Pharaoh apply Joseph’s advice in Gen 41:33-36?Hide Answer
After Pharaoh heard Joseph’s advice in Gen 41:33-36, he immediately acted on it. Joseph advised Pharaoh to select a discerning and wise man, and to set him over the land of Egypt to store up the food (Gen 41:33-36). Heeding the advice, Pharaoh noted that there was no one as discerning and wise as Joseph (Gen 41:39), not even his own magicians and wise men of Egypt (Gen 41:8). Thus, he selected Joseph, the most discerning and wise man in the eyes of Pharaoh, as the one to be set over all the land of Egypt (Gen 41:41). Once Pharaoh had appointed Joseph over all Egypt, he commanded Joseph to be over his house, to rule his people and to perform the needed preparation based on the advice (Gen 41:40, 34-36).
From Pharaoh’s response to Joseph, what can we learn about the characters of Pharaoh? About his humility: See Phil 2:3.Hide Answer
From Pharaoh’s response to Joseph, we can learn about his humility. Although Joseph’s previous status was a servant of Potiphar (Gen 39:1) and a prisoner of the captain of the guard (Gen 40:4), Pharaoh was willing to heed Joseph’s words. Even though Joseph, the Hebrew servant, was not among the magicians and the wise men of Egypt, Pharaoh did not underestimate Joseph’s advice. Instead, Pharaoh fully acknowledged and accepted the advice of Joseph.
The example of Pharaoh accepting Joseph’s advice serves as an example for us. Once, the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians admonished the members to esteem others better than oneself in lowliness of mind (Phil 2:3). Just as Pharaoh, in his greatness and high status, did not despise Joseph’s words but accepted them; we, too, ought not to despise our fellow brethren based on their lowly economic status or educational background. Instead, we ought to treat our fellow brethren with lowliness of mind, esteeming them better than ourselves. For example, as one who regularly performs a certain church work, we need to give our full support to those who have just begun to join the field of the work, encouraging their potential to become better than us.
About his selflessness: See Phil 2:4.Hide Answer
After hearing the advice of Joseph, Pharaoh acknowledged his limitation. Although he was the Pharaoh, the holder of the throne and the ruler over all the land of Egypt (Gen 41:40, 44), he was not able to understand and to foresee the imminent calamity or had the wisdom to face the severe famine. Instead of saving his own power and glory, Pharaoh was willing to appoint Joseph to be the ruler over all the land of Egypt (Gen 41:41). Knowing of the coming of the imminent danger, Pharaoh selflessly appointed Joseph to be the one second to Pharaoh in his authority for the sake of saving the entire house of Pharaoh, the Egyptians and over all the land of Egypt.
The example of Pharaoh appointing Joseph to be the one second to him in authority serves as a lesson for us. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, reminds us that we ought to “look out not only for [our] own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil 2:4). For instance, when we learn that our fellow brethren is more talented in doing a certain church work more than others and us, not only should we pray for God’s continual abidance on him, but we should also encourage others to support his work in the Lord for the sake of the church’s growth and the glory of the Lord.
In the Scriptures, besides Joseph, there were several men in whom the Spirit of God resided and possessed unique talents. For example, Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah in whom was the Spirit of God was filled in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship for building the Tabernacle (Ex 31:2-5, 35:31-33). Next, Balaam the son of Peor in whom the Spirit of God came upon, took his oracle and blessed Israel (Num 24:2-9). Moreover, the book of
1st Samuel mentioned of Saul in whom the Spirit of God came upon and he led the Israelites to fight against the Ammonites (1 Sam 10:10, 11:6-7). In addition, the prophet Ezekiel was one in whom the Spirit of God resided and brought him in a vision into Chaldea where he spoke to the Jews who were in captivity (Ezek 11:24). Furthermore, Azariah the son of Oded (2 Chr 15:1) and Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest (2 Chr 24:20) in whom the Spirit of God came upon were warning the Israelites of their transgression.
From the examples of the Scriptures above, what is the significance of the phrase “in whom is the Spirit of God”?Hide Answer
The phrase “in whom is the Spirit of God” plays an important role throughout the examples of the Scriptures. First, the phrase “in whom is the Spirit of God” reveals to us that the Lord is the one who endows wisdom, knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities to people. For example, Joseph’s acknowledgement of wisdom and of discernment from Pharaoh (Gen 41:38) and Daniel’s acknowledgement of light and of understanding and of excellent wisdom from the king of Babylon (Dan 5:14). Thus, the one in whom is the Spirit of God is able to perform a task or can give a solution to the matter which is deemed to be too difficult and impossible to handle.
Next, the phrase “in whom is the Spirit of God” shows that the Lord gives courage to the one who will judge and who will give warnings concerning an impending doom or transgression of others. For instance, knowing that the dreams of Pharaoh contained an ominous revelation, Joseph courageously shared the warning of the impending doom to the ruler of the whole land of Egypt (Gen 41:25-36). Moreover, the writer of the book of
1st Samuel mentioned how Saul, the one in whom the Spirit of God came upon, courageously led the Israelites to fight against the Ammonites (1 Sam 11:6-7). In addition, the book of 2nd Chronicles mentioned how Azariah (2 Chr 15:1) and Zechariah (2 Chr 24:20) fearlessly warned the Israelites of their transgression against God. Therefore, the one “in whom is the Spirit of God” is able to courageously deliver the warnings against other people’s transgressions, regardless of the possibility of being abhorred and harmed by others.
What lessons can we learn from the phrase “in whom is the Spirit of God”?Hide Answer
From the example of Joseph in whom was the Spirit of God, we can learn several lessons. First, just as Joseph was discerning and wise through God’s Spirit, we too ought to ask God for the wisdom above. The writer of the book of James shared how one who lacks wisdom ought to ask of God (Jas 1:5). The writer explained further that the wisdom from above was “pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (Jas 3:17). Hence, with the wisdom from above, we have the ability to discern the evil and the hypocrisy of the world around us and to wisely choose the path of peace and mercy in our interaction with others.
Second, just as Joseph, in whom was the Spirit of God, was courageous to reveal the imminent danger and to give solution to the impossible, we too can do all things through Christ. The apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians encourages us that we “can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us]” (Phil 4:13). Consequently, the distress and the suffering which we are facing serve as a means for us to rely on God’s strength to rise again. Furthermore, through the strength of God, we are enabled to bear and to escape from the present difficulties.
To confirm Joseph’s newly appointed status over Egypt, Pharaoh put his signet ring on Joseph’s hand (Gen 41:42). In the Scriptures, the signet ring signifies the authority of the wearer to perform legal or royal seal, decree or commands. For example, a royal decree was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and was sealed with the king’s signet ring (Est 3:12). Furthermore, a command of King Darius was strengthened by the seal of the king’s signet ring and the signets of the lords and it could not be changed (Dan 6:17). In addition, a letter of judgment against Naboth was written in King Ahab’s name and was sealed in his seal (1 Kgs 21:8). Pharaoh, in the book of Genesis, put his signet ring on Joseph’s hand so that Joseph could do all the necessary administrative means to perform the duties he had previously suggested in the name of Pharaoh, such as collecting one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt (Gen 41:34) and storing up grain for a reserve in the cities during the famine (Gen 41:35-36).
Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-Paaneah;Hide Answer
To confirm Joseph’s newly appointed authority over Egypt and all countries, Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-Paaneah (Gen 41:45). To enforce the new status, Pharaoh did several things for Joseph. First, Pharaoh clothed him in garments of fine linen, put a gold chain around his neck, and had him ride in the second chariot for the people to bow to Joseph (Gen 41:42-43). These things would support Joseph’s new authority to enforce his policy over the Egyptians livelihood. Furthermore, Pharaoh personally enforced Joseph’s authority in front of the people. To the people of Egypt, Pharaoh commanded them to go to Joseph and performed whatever instruction Joseph gave them (Gen 41:55). In other words, “without [Joseph’s] consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt” (Gen 41:44). Thus, Joseph’s authority over all the land of Egypt was confirmed, enabling him not only to change the nation’s policy but also to require obedience from the people over the commands.
What was the significance of the phrase “Joseph was thirty years old” in Gen 41:46? In terms of Joseph’s change of character;Hide Answer
The phrase “Joseph was thirty years old” in Gen 41:46 signified Joseph’s change of character. The phrase meant that Joseph had undergone thirteen years (Gen 37:2) of affliction in a foreign land (Gen 41:52). In his youth, Joseph was pampered by his father (Gen 37:3) and was considered by his brothers not only as a tell-taler of a bad report (Gen 37:2) but also as a gloater of his own dreams (Gen 37:8, 11). But through the combined thirteen years of slavery under Potiphar’s house (Gen 39:1f) and wrongful imprisonment (Gen 39:20f), Joseph’s character matured. During his afflictions and difficulties, Joseph did not dwell on self-pity or desperation. Rather, through difficult times, Joseph learned to be sensitive towards others in need (Gen 40:7) and faithfully relied on God’s strength to face his afflictions (Gen 41:16, 51, 52).
In terms of Joseph’s readiness for the task at hand;Hide Answer
The phrase “Joseph was thirty years old” in Gen 41:46 indicated Joseph’s readiness to accept the task given by Pharaoh. During his combined thirteen years of slavery and imprisonment, Joseph learned how to manage the household of Potiphar (Gen 39:4), an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard (Gen 37:36), including the matter of Potiphar’s house and the matter of the workers of the house. In addition, while he was in prison, Joseph learned how to administer the prison matters and how to manage the prisoners (Gen 39:22). Furthermore, through his interaction with the two chief officials of Pharaoh, the baker and the butler (Gen 40), Joseph could catched a glimpse of the matter concerning the current situation of the governance. Through all the experiences, Joseph was ready to help Pharaoh in governing Egypt, including its agriculture, treasury, judiciary and military.
How did Joseph’s immediate action to “[go] throughout all the land of Egypt” tell us about his sensitivity toward the imminent warning?Hide Answer
When Joseph was named as Zaphnath-Paaneah (Gen 41:45), he immediately went throughout all the land of Egypt for the purpose of enforcing the plan he had laid out to Pharaoh. Joseph sensed that time was of the essence. He knew of the imminent danger which was befalling upon all the land of Egypt soon (Gen 41:30-31, 36). Thus, he neither tarried in arranging the necessary preparations nor delayed the time in familiarizing himself with local government conditions. Rather, Joseph took the warning of the dreams seriously and took every opportunity to manage the collection and the storage of the grain for the incoming famine (Gen 41:46-49).
Instead of “[going] throughout all the land of Egypt,” what could Joseph have done as Zaphnath-Paaneah? See also the example of Moses in Heb 11:24-26.Hide Answer
Now as Zaphnath–Paaneah, a name given by Pharaoh himself, Joseph could have taken his appointed position for granted. Upon assuming his new position, Joseph could have settled back to enjoy the pleasures and riches of Egypt. But Joseph did not do such things. He focused on the task given and did not take advantage of the given status as Zaphnath-Paaneah. Faithfully, Joseph kept holding onto the guidance of the Lord and the remembrance of his family and homeland. Similarly, the writer of the book of Hebrews narrated how Moses, as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, could have just enjoyed “the passing pleasures of sin” and “the treasures in Egypt.” Instead, Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to “suffer affliction with the people of God,” esteeming “the reproach of Christ” as greater riches (Heb 11:24-26).
Describe the plentifulness of the seven plentiful years.Hide Answer
The plentifulness of the seven plentiful years was as follows: First, the ground brought forth its produce abundantly (Gen 41:47). Second, the abundance enabled Joseph to lay up food in every city (Gen 41:48). Third, the grain gathered was as the sand of the sea, immeasurable (Gen 41:49). Fourth, the plentifulness of the grain was able to feed even all countries beside Egypt (Gen 41:57).
From their marriage with a foreign wife, we can see the different attitude between Joseph’s with that of Esau and of Solomon.
When Esau took two daughters of Canaan as wives (Gen 26:34), he took them out of his own will and pleasure, disregarding the warning and the grievance of his parents (Gen 26:35, 28:8) and following the path of Lamech, one of Cain’s descendants, in acquiring two wives (Gen 4:23). The marriage with the Canaanite daughters smoothed Esau’s effort further to fully acquire the land of Seir from the Horites (Gen 36:8, 20). In addition, Esau took Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael as a wife (Gen 28:9), strengthening the alliance between the Edomites and the Ishmaelites. Thus, through the marriages, Esau could expand his rule of governance politically and territorially.
Next, the writer of the book of
1st Kings mentioned how Solomon married the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. But he married the daughter of Pharaoh because of the treaty he made with Egypt (1 Kgs 3:1). Moreover, Solomon married other foreign women out of his own desire of pleasure. The writer of the book of 1st Kings further explained how Solomon loved many foreign women and clung to them in love (1 Kgs 11:1-2). These wives turned Solomon’s heart after other gods (1 Kgs 11:4).
Though Joseph married a foreign woman, the daughter of the Egyptian priest (Gen 41:50), his attitude was different from that of Esau and of Solomon. After Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of the Egyptian priest, he did not misuse his new power to influence the Egyptian priests and elites for his own personal gain, for instance, to gradually take over the Egyptian kingdom. In addition, the marriage with the daughter of an Egyptian priest did not change Joseph’s faith and loyalty toward the Lord. Through the meaning of the name of his two sons (Gen 41:51-52), Joseph shared his personal experience with the Lord and brought closer his family to the acknowledgement of the Lord God.
How was the meaning of the name of his two sons reflected Joseph’s experience with God? Manasseh;Hide Answer
Joseph called the name of his firstborn son, Manasseh, which meant, “For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house” (Gen 41:51). The naming of Manasseh was not only to express Joseph’s thankfulness of God’s guidance upon his life but also to confirm that the Lord was indeed with him all the time.
When purchased by Potiphar, Joseph was set to be a slave and later an overseer of Potiphar’s house (Gen 39:1, 4). Snatched from his homeland against his will, Joseph toiled to serve the master of a foreign land. But the Lord “made all he did to prosper in his hand” (Gen 39:3). The Lord even blessed “the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake” (Gen 39:5), literally making Joseph forget all his toil through the successfulness of the work.
Later, during Joseph’s wrongful imprisonment, Joseph mentioned how he was “stolen away from the land of the Hebrews” (Gen 40:15). The thought of his father, his family and the land of the Hebrews must have passed through Joseph’s mind many times. But the Lord was with Joseph, even in wrongful imprisonment (Gen 39:23). The Lord gave Joseph favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. Such comforts truly made Joseph able to forget “all of [his] father’s house.”
Joseph called the name of his second son, Ephraim, which meant, “For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Gen 41:52). The naming of Ephraim was not only to prove God’s fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams but was also to confirm the goodness of God’s plan over Joseph’s journey of life.
Now, as Zaphnath-Paaneah, Joseph could see how God fulfilled his dreams gradually. From the sheaves to the sun, moon and stars, Joseph dreamed how they all bowed to him (Gen 37:7, 9). After Joseph was named by Pharaoh to be Zaphnath-Paaneah, not only did Joseph’s family come and bow down to him (Gen 43:28), but all the people of Egypt and all the land of Egypt bowed to him (Gen 41:43) and under Joseph’s command (Gen 41:55). Even all the countries must come to him for their survival (Gen 41:57). Through the fulfillment of his dreams, Joseph experienced the fruitfulness of the blessings in his life.
Moreover, all the ill-treatments Joseph experienced, from slavery to false accusation, wrongful imprisonment, and being forgotten, were but to prepare him to be the person he would be, the savior of all the land of Egypt from a severe famine (Gen 45:7, 8). Unknown to Joseph, the experience of his slavery and his imprisonment prepared and built his character, knowledge and wisdom to rule over Egypt. The goodness of God (Gen 50:20) truly made Joseph realize how fruitful he had become in the midst of his affliction.
If you were Joseph, what kind of afflictions would you like to forget?Hide Answer
If we were Joseph, there were several kinds of afflictions we would like to forget. First, when we were casted and abandoned into the pit by the brothers (Gen 37:24). We were meant to bring back the news of the brothers’ well-being to Jacob (Gen 37:14), but the brothers ill-treated us. Second, when we were forced to be sold as a slave and served in a foreign land (Gen 37:36, 39:1). We were but a victim, “stolen away from the land of the Hebrews” (Gen 40:15). Third, when we were falsely accused and thrown into the dungeon by the very master whom we served (Gen 39:19-20, 40:15). We faithfully served and never took an advantage of our status, serving the household of Potiphar. Yet, the master blindly and unfairly judged us based on false accusation (Gen 39:17-18). Fourth, when we were forgotten by the butler of Pharaoh, whom we had helped interpreting his dream (Gen 40:23). We were literally begging for the butler’s kindness to make mention of our case to Pharaoh (Gen 40:14-15). However, after the butler was restored to his former position, he did nothing to make mention of Joseph’s name.
Share an experience of which God has caused you to forget your life difficulties.(The answer is empty)Hide Answer
Share an experience of which God has caused you to be successful in the midst of afflictions.(The answer is empty)Hide Answer
Describe the severity of the seven years of famine.Hide Answer
The severity of the seven years of famine was as follow: First, all the land of Egypt was famished and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread (Gen 41:55). Second, all the storehouses containing stored grain from the seven plentiful years were opened for grain purchase (Gen 41:56). Third, the famine was over all the face of the earth, affecting other countries as well (Gen 41:56). Fourth, all countries came to Egypt to buy grain for their survival (Gen 41:57).
On one hand, the book of Genesis recorded that the seven years of famine in Egypt was severe (Gen 41:56). The severe famine was not only affecting Egypt and its surrounding lands, but it was also affecting other countries as well (Gen 41:54, 57). The famine was so severe that the people of Egypt cried to Pharaoh for bread and Joseph had to open up all the storehouses of grain which had been stored for seven plentiful years (Gen 51:55-56).
On the other hand, the seven years of famine in
2 Kgs 8:1 was affecting only the area of Samaria (2 Kgs 7:18). The Shunnamite woman and her household, whom the prophet Elisha had shared the warning of God with them, were able to migrate to the land of Philistines for seven years (2 Kgs 8:2). In addition, though the famine in Samaria was severe (2 Kgs 6:25), at least barley and fine flour were still available with a significant price increase (2 Kgs 7:18).
List the representations of famine mentioned in the Scriptures.Hide Answer
The several representations of famine mentioned in the Scriptures are as follow: First, famine as a natural disaster (Gen 12:10, 26:1, 41:27, 56, 42:5;
2 Kgs 4:38; Ruth 1:1). Second, famine as a punishment from the Lord due to blood-guilt (2 Sam 21:1, 24:11-13; Isa 51:19-20; 1 Chr 21:9-12). Third, famine, paired with sword and pestilence, as a punishment from the Lord due to committed sins (Jer 5:7-13, 11:22, 14:12-18, 15:2, 16:4, 21:7, 9, 24:10, 27:8, 34:17, 38:2, 42:16, 22, 44:12; Ezek 5:12, 16, 6:11, 7:15, 14:13; 2 Chr 20:9). Fourth, famine, paired with pestilence and grasshoppers or wild beasts, as a punishment from the Lord due to committed sins (1 Kgs 8:37; Isa 14:30; Ezek 5:17; 2 Chr 6:28). Fifth, famine as a mean used by the enemies for besiegement (2 Kgs 6:25, 7:4, 25:3; Jer 52:6; 2 Chr 32:11). Sixth, famine as a disgrace from God (Ezek 36:30). Seventh, famine as a spiritual famine of the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11).
According to the Scriptures, what is a spiritual famine?Hide Answer
The writer of the book of Amos explains how the Lord God will send a famine on the land. But it is neither a famine of bread nor a thirst for water. The famine is of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11). In other words, when the people of God have proudly trampled the needy (Amos 8:4) and have despised the New Moon and the Sabbath of the Lord (Amos 8:5), they have turned their heart away from God. As a result, the presence of God and the words of the Lord are no longer with them.
According to the prophet Amos, a spiritual famine is the famine of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11). In other words, it is a condition of the lack of God’s words inside men’s hearts. The writer of the letter of John explains that whoever keeps the word of God, the love of God and the truth are in him (1 John 2:4-5). Therefore, anyone who does not have the word of God in him, he does not love God and the truth of God is not in him.
Moreover, the apostle Paul in his letter to Timothy warns that the signs of those who are not lovers of God are as follows: They will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, haughty and lovers of pleasure (2 Tim 3:1-4).
The Scriptures give us the solution to a spiritual famine. The writer of the book of John encourages us that he who comes to the Lord Jesus, the bread of life, will never experience hunger spiritually (Jn 6:35). By relying and keeping close to the Lord Jesus, the word of God (Jn 1:1), we will be constantly reminded of the Lord Jesus’ words and His teachings. Furthermore, the writer of the book of John explains to us that God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, will guide us “into all truth” (Jn 16:13), teaching us how to keep the words of God in our hearts. Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to have the strength to not follow the desire of sins but to pursue righteousness and to walk in His statutes. Thus, our spirituality will no longer be famished but will be filled through the power of Holy Spirit.