Famine of hearing the Word of God
The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it. Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the Lord’s word. Amos 8:11-13
Prophets are called to announce the message from God. Even messages of impending judgment indicate that God is still concerned. But what happens when the prophets no longer speak? What Amos was prophesying was about a spiritual famine. With the events taking place in our time, we do not have to wait for the fulfillment of this prophesy for it is here now. Just take a trip across the United States or pick a country. Amos did not predict a lack of churches or chapels or temples or tabernacles or seminaries or sermons. He spoke of "a famine of hearing the words of the Lord." A famine does not mean an absence of something but a shortage of it; a scarcity that creates a sense of starvation. This is what the text was alluding to. People will seek out “from border to border searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.” Persistent rejection of the word of God can lead to the inability to hear or see it even though it is present. Pharaoh hardened his heart when the word of God was delivered by Moses. God’s commission to Isaiah addressed the issue of divine silence, a silence due to Israel’s callousness:“Go and say to this people: “Keep listening, but do not comprehend; keep looking, but do not understand” (Isaiah 6:9). That is why there is a famine. How easy to be spoiled, presumptuous and ungrateful when our spiritual stomachs are full! The irony is that those who are full with God’s Word are the ones who will usually want more. “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness” (1 Peter 2:2-3). The Bible is more than a guidebook or a rulebook. It is more than an arbitrary collection of stories, poems, and letters; it is the voice of God communicating with us. That is why the Bible is often referred to as “the Word of God.” When was the last time you thanked God for the privilege of hearing more of His Word than you could ever absorb? And when did you last share the Word of God to others? ““Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.” Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again”” (John 6:34-35).