"Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year; and David inquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, "It is because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites" -- 2 Samuel 21:1, NKJV

Famines are a fierce inconvenience for mankind. It is a time when the land yields no sustenance, and no food can in any way be manufactured. When Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn, he did so because there was a famine in his land (Gen 12:10). Isaac experienced the same thing–a famine in the land (Gen 26:1). During the days of the Judges, when the faithful lady Ruth surfaced, there was a famine in the land (Ruth 1:1). When the Lord chose to raise up Joseph, He called for a famine and "destroyed all provision of bread" (Psa 105:16). In the days of the mighty prophet Elisha, the Lord "called for a famine" (2 Kgs 8:1).

Famines have been traced to the Lord withholding His blessing (Hos 2:8-9; Hag 1:6). Famine has also been caused by the Lord withholding rain (1 Kgs 17:1; Jer 14:1-4; Amos 4:7-8). Sometimes the Lord causes the seed to rot in the ground, failing to produce fruit (Joel 1:17). The Lord has also sent scorching wind and mildew to bring about fierce famine (Amos 4:9; Hag 2:17). God has even sent an enemy against people, who devastated the land, thereby producing famine. Famines are not mere coincidence–a sort of malfunctioning of the laws of nature. More often, they are judgments from the Almighty.

In the days of David, the "man after God's own heart," there was a famine that lasted for three consecutive years. Because David knew the Lord, he did not seek an answer to the dilemma from experts in soil, seed, and climate. He did not organize a task force to research possible causes for the famine and suggest some remedial action.

Instead, like a man of faith, David "inquired of the Lord" concerning the situation. A three-year famine was not normal. David also knew famines do not simply appear. Therefore, he asked the Almighty God concerning the cause of the famine. The Lord revealed to David the reason for the famine. It was "because of Saul and his bloodthirsty house, because he killed the Gibeonites." The event to which the Lord referred is recorded in 1 Samuel 22:17-18. Saul ordered the death of eight-five priests simply because they had protected David. When his own servants refused to lay a hand on the priests, king Saul ordered Doeg the Edomite to kill them, and he did. He even slaughtered the men and women, children and nursing infants, in the city of the priests (1 Sam 22:19). It was a reprehensible order that was carried out.

This whole incident appeared to go by unnoticed. David was hounded by Saul following this event, taking refuge in a mountain in the wilderness. But God did not overlook the matter! He sent a grievous three-year famine on the land that had been polluted with the blood of His priests. Upon inquiry, this was revealed to David.

There is a religious mentality that would scoff at such an approach to crisis. Such a frame of mind, however, does not come from God, and is not acceptable to Him. Those who seek resolutions to such things from the world, will find no real answers. They will be shut up to "confusion of face" (Ezra 9:7; Dan 9:8).

The Lord has spoken with remarkable clarity on this subject. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5). Wisdom concerning the perplexities of life is not to be sought from the earth, or its professed experts.

There have been some remarkable phenomena in our times. Unusual weather patterns, storms, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and other things men cannot control. No person of sound mind assumes these are simply quirks of nature, or the result of some imbalance in nature caused by thoughtless men. The heathen sailors on the boat in which Jonah ran away from God knew better than that. They recognized unusual storms like the one they encountered could very well be a judgment. In their case, it was a judgment that came because of the sin of one man. In David's case, a prolonged famine came because of the sin of one man. Once Israel lost in a skirmish with a small and insignificant city because of the sin of one man (Josh 7:5).

Such occasions should provoke deep and extended thought. If we see collapse in society, let's not ask the sociologist and the psychiatrist for an answer. Inquire of the Lord. If the course of nature seems to be disrupted, and unusual things occur in the heavens and on the earth let us not inquire of the geologist, astronomer, or ecologist concerning these perplexities. It is time to seek the Lord.

PRAYER POINT: Father, give me sensitivity to Your workings in the earth. Through Jesus Christ, may I be pleasing in Your sight, and an answer to dilemmas rather than a cause of them.