Famine in the land
In the early 1970s, huge numbers of Ethiopians died when famine swept across the country. But Emperor Haile Selassie did not want to jeopardize Ethiopia’s tourist trade, so he refused to publicize the enormity of the famine or ask for foreign aid. As a result, some 1.5 million people starved to death.
In Ireland in the 1840s, one million died from starvation or disease during the great potato famines. In Egypt 800 years earlier, a seven-year failure of the Nile floods brought a famine so bad that inhabitants resorted to cannibalism.
History is full of tragic reports of famines—from today’s to the famous famine reported in Genesis 41:56, which tells us that a horrendous famine gripped the land during Joseph’s time in Egypt.
There is another type of famine today. It is a famine of the true teaching of God’s Word—beginning at the first verse of Genesis in the Bible.
Try to find respect for Genesis in ordinary conversations, in people’s writings, in newspapers and on television. You can’t find it. An American media monitoring group announced in April that television networks virtually ignore all reference to religion in their news and entertainment programs.
‘Out of 26,000 morning news segments, only 224 had to do with religion’, said L. Brent Bozell III, chairman of the Media Research Center in Alexandria, Virginia. This is in a nation where 63 percent of the population claim affiliation with a religious group. How many of these reports would have included a positive view of Genesis creation? Probably none.
If creationists don’t publicize the truth of Genesis, no one else will. The media won’t, nor will liberal churches, or anyone else.
Even though the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States guarantees that no law will be enacted ‘abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press’, a library in Georgia recently refused a subscription of Creation magazine donated by a local resident, on the grounds that the magazine ‘proselytizes’—it presents the Christian message. A petition signed by a large number of people followed, supporting the view that Creation magazine should be in their library. It failed to influence the library board.
There truly is a famine in the land.
We often hear from teachers and students who have been frustrated when looking at the creation-evolution issue because they can find only the evolutionist view in their local libraries.
Even some Christian bookstores stifle the presentation of God’s Word on creation. Readers have told us they can’t get good creationist books from some Christian bookstores. One pastor recounted how he visited a Christian bookstore with a friend to buy a new Bible. He found books on child-rearing, marriage, children’s activities, biographies … but only a tiny section of Bibles, hidden in a dusty corner. That bookstore is not giving customers an open opportunity to discover God’s own Word—on creation or anything else.
An example of a famine of God’s Word in the land is described in 2 Chronicles 34. Corruption and idolatry were rife, even though good King Josiah was trying to clean up the problem. But it took 18 years before the lost book of the law was rediscovered and presented to Josiah. After reading it, Josiah exclaimed, ‘great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in this book’ (verse 21). While God’s Word had been neglected, evil flourished in the land.
Why is there a similar famine of God’s Word today? Isaiah 30:9 describes it well: ‘this is a rebellious people … that will not hear the law of the Lord’. Today, evolution is the major excuse used to justify that rebellion.
The Apostle Paul told Timothy to preach the Word (not simply ‘preach’)—‘reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine’ (2 Timothy 4:2). All Bible doctrines, directly or indirectly, have their basis in Genesis—sin, death, clothing, marriage, and so on.
Without a believing understanding of the ‘Book of Beginnings’, the rest of the Bible becomes increasingly divorced from reality. The rocks and weeds of evolutionary conditioning are choking the once-productive soil. We need to get back to the authoritative declaration of all of the Word, from the Genesis foundations up, being armed and ready to defend our faith (1 Peter 3:15).
Just as we are moved to provide bread for those suffering from food famines, we should also be moved to provide a ready testimony in the face of attacks on the Bible, so that people in today’s spiritual famine come to know the true Bread of Life—Jesus Christ, the pre-existent Creator.