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How can we be as hungry for God as we are for sugary treats and junk food? How can we crave God instead of the things we know we shouldn’t be consuming in huge quantities and causing damage to our bodies.
By looking at two contrasting stories in the Bible about food, we can get some answers. The first story has to do with Eli the priest and his priestly sons. The sons were taking meat from sacrifices before they were supposed to. They were also doing other evil things.
God warned Eli about it and told him if they didn’t stop both Eli and his sons would die. God even gave the same message to the boy, Samuel, whom Eli was mentoring and Samuel told it to Eli.
Eli tried at least once to get them to listen even though he had the authority as the head of the family and eldest priest to discipline he didn’t. All Eli did was talk which obviously never worked with his sons. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. He didn’t treat the situation like he believed God would actually do what He said.
It seems with all of this, Eli had to know the end was coming. Still, he didn’t care much because I think he liked his meat roasted and plenty of it. He knew he and his sons were being disobedient so he didn’t really believe obedience to God in all things was necessary.
Eli and his sons did die. The sons die in battle. The Bible recorded how Eli died in 1 Samuel 4:18 NIV. “Eli fell backward off his chair by the side of the gate. His neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man, and he was heavy.”
No Hunger for God
When I read this, I knew that Eli and his sons were definitely not hungry for God. They were hungry for stuff to overfill their stomachs. They did not listen to what God was telling them or what they knew to do.
Contrast this with Elijah who trusted God even for food to sustain his life. He prophesied a drought to the evil King Ahab. Then in 1 Kings 17, God provided food and water for Elijah’s survival at the Kerith Brook, where there is water and ravens bring him bread and meat. Elijah didn’t ask for food and water. God just provided it.
When the brook dried up God provided another source of food for Elijah by a widow in the village of Zarephath. So he went there and found a widow gathering sticks. He asked her to bring him water in a cup and then said, ‘Bring me a bit of bread, too.”
Elijah and the Widow
She said she didn’t have any bread and only had a handful of flour in a jar and a little cooking oil. She was gathering sticks to cook the last meal for her and her son.
He told her to not be afraid. 1 Kings 17: 13-14 NLT, “Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son.
“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!” This happened like God said.
Then came the story of Elijah and the 450 prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. This was a sort of a sacrifice showdown and of course, Elijah won because God was on his side.
God was leading Elijah all the way. Elijah was not concerned about food. God provided that for him.
This reminds me of when I started on my weight loss transformation journey. Back in 1977 God gave me a simple plan He wanted me to follow. He told to stop eating sugar, eat more meat, fruits and vegetables and stop eating so much bread.
He gave me a plan, kind of like he told Elijah to go to the brook and the widow’s house. However, I pulled an Eli on God. I heard what He said and never forgot it, but I didn’t do what He told me to do.
That was 1977. Thirty years later I weighed 430 pounds and then I was ready to listen. Every time throughout those years when I would cry out to God, He’d give me the same plan.
This time, though, I was hungry for the right thing. I was hungry for what God wanted to do in my life.
Hungry for God
Those who are hungry for God will be found by Him. Jeremiah 29:12-13 NLT says it this way, “In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.”
He’s saying, ”If you want Me, if you are hungry for Me, then I will make Myself known to you and you will find Me”
It’s like He is standing in the middle of the road jumping up and down and saying, “Here I am. I love you. I want to be near you. Invite Me into everything you do.” In other words, “Be hungry for Me. Nothing else really matters.”
For more on this topic, listen to Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast episode 155, “Hungry for the Right Things” at https://Teresashieldsparker.com/podcast/.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don’t miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN. This article first appeared on teresashieldsparker.com.