by Michael E. Brooks
“When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, ‘Why do you look at one another?’ And he said, ‘Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.’ So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt” (Genesis 42:1-3).
At one seminar for preachers in Nepal I asked one of the attendees where he was from and how long it took him to travel to our program.
He replied that he was from one of the high Himalayan districts and he and his companions walked three days through the mountains to get to the road, then rode about12 hours on a bus to Katmandu.
I was impressed by their desire for Bible knowledge that led them to such inconvenience.
Later when I traveled the same route to visit these men and their congregations I was even more impressed as I witnessed firsthand the difficulties and dangers they so willingly faced.
Each time such things happen I cannot help but ask whether most of us in developed countries would go to so much effort for the same purpose.
Long ago in the Ancient Near East there was a prolonged famine. People in all the extended region were starving.
When word came that there was a surplus of grain in Egypt they immediately made plans to go there for food. Jacob’s sons were simply one example. They traveled a few hundred miles by donkey and on foot. Others may well have traveled much further.
This response is completely understandable, and no one questions the wisdom of it. Hungry people will do anything possible to acquire nutrition. That is reality.
Jesus played upon this truth in the beatitudes.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
When our desire to know and do that with is truly right equals the desire of a starving person for food, we will be happy indeed.
There are few if any limits to what most would attempt to prevent physical starvation. No journey would be too long, no obstacle so great that one would not try to surmount it. Our physical hunger is a great motivator — spurring us on constantly.
We are not one dimensional. There is a physical component to human life, and there is also a spiritual component. Basic laws and principles apply to both.
Just as there are basic needs which our bodies must acquire to survive, so our spirits demand the same. They must be nourished just as much, if not more, than our bodies. The nourishment our spirits need is given only through the word of God. Without a constant diet of God’s truth, we weaken and die.
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food” (Hebrews 5:12).
“Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21).
“Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. . . . Meditate on these things, give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:13, 15-16).
How far are we willing to travel, and how much effort are we willing to expend in order to nourish our spirits? As much as we would do for a good meal when we are hungry? If not it is time for some serious self-examination.