Did you know that just like we experience famines throughout the globe, there can be spiritual famines as well? One such famine is found in Amos 8:11. God said there would be a famine of hearing His Word. 2 Timothy 4:3 says there will be a time when people will quit listening to wholesale teaching. In each of these cases, we can experience spiritual famine by our inability to listen or hear God’s Word. To avoid a spiritual famine, you and I must take time each day to listen to God’s Word. We must be intentional on hearing what He’s trying to say to us. So we can apply it and live by it.
Here are some Bible verses on listening to God’s Word.
1. Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.
John 8:47 NLT
2. As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God.
Ecclesiastes 5:1 NLT
3. So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ.
Romans 10:17 GNT
4. “The one whose heart is open let him listen carefully to what the Spirit is presently saying to all the churches…
Revelation 2:11 TPT
5. My soul keeps Your testimonies [hearing and accepting and obeying them]; I love them greatly.
Genesis 42 tells the story of Jacob sending all of his sons except Benjamin to Egypt to buy food. The seven year famine was in full effect and Jacob had no other choice but to send his sons to buy food. When they came before their brother Joseph, they didn’t recognize him. They bowed before him and immediately Joseph remembered his dreams. He accused them of being spies and put them in jail. They explained who they were and that they had another brother.
Joseph released all but one, Simeon, so that the others could return home with food and then bring back Benjamin. When they told their father Jacob what had happened, he was upset. In verse 36 he said, “You’re taking everything I’ve got! Joseph’s gone, Simeon’s gone, and now you want to take Benjamin. If you have your way, I’ll be left with nothing.” I wonder if that last line was directed more at God than his sons.
For Jacob’s survival, he had to give up everything including the one thing he was holding back. He’d suffered loss before and didn’t want to release Benjamin. Through his losses, he had forgotten God’s promise to him back when he wrestled with God. In Genesis 35:11, God told him, “You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants.” Now, God was asking him to release all of his sons into the unknown. He thought that if he held onto one, the promise could still come true.
When he agreed to release what he had held back and sent all of his sons to Egypt, then he not only was given food, housing, protection from the famine and Simeon back, he got what was lost and taken from him back. He was reunited with Joseph. He was also able to see the greater picture. Joseph had to be taken from him years earlier in order to ensure the survival of his family so the promise could come true. Joseph endured hardships all those years just so his family could endure the coming famine.
It’s got me thinking this morning, “What is the one thing I’m holding back from God? Have I trusted Him with my whole life, yet held something back as a security blanket? Am I bitter over a loss or a time of hardship?” God’s not satisfied with us giving Him 99%. He wants us to release 100% of what we have to Him. It will only appear that we will be left with nothing. What we will gain is so much more. It just takes faith and trust in God’s promises to you.
What prior loss has still left you scared to trust God with everything? What’s the one thing in your life that you’re withholding from God? Do you feel like you’ll be left with nothing if you give everything to God? You aren’t alone in those feelings. You aren’t wrong to have them. It becomes wrong when God asks for you to let go and you still hang on. Release it all to God today. His hands are far more capable of protecting it than yours. He’s able to return it and all that you’ve lost exceedingly and abundantly more than you can imagine.