A Famine in the Land
The prophet Amos was a sheep herder; a farmer. (Amos 1:1) He had schooling as a “professional,” and declared he was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet. (Amos 7:14) We would accept him as a “common man” who simply and humbly served God as God ordered him. Some might think the nine short chapters of the book of Amos as “insignificant,” but they are not! The record is of a man, commanded by God, to leave Judea and enter Israel with God’s authority, informing the Israelites of their sinful departure from God’s commandments. So severely had they departed that God says, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11 – 12)
Note how God describes this scenario: “a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the word of the LORD.” Further, “…they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” Friend, that isn’t the result of misplacing your Bible and not finding it for a few days! That famine is a complete absence of God’s word! While we hold our Bibles in our hands or keep them conspicuously in sight on a table, we might think such a famine impossible. But think more seriously: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4: 3 -4). If souls are lost because they are deprived of finding the gospel (it is hidden from them) what will God do with those who had this power of God (Romans 1:16) did the hiding?
Equally severe is the fact many will read God’s word, but not study it (2 Timothy 2:15) so that they might understand it! In Nehemiah’s day, we learn this was how they taught God’s word: “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (Nehemiah 8:8) By what reasoning would anyone desire to be less today in teaching and preaching God’s truth? (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 2 Timothy 4:1 – 8; Galatians 1: 6 – 10).
Unfortunately, it would appear there is a famine in the land regarding God’s word! More and more we see a following of man’s decree instead of our walking by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). Even Christians cow down to the declarations of mankind, which have been proven as a form of “fear-mongering”. Such willful disposal of God’s word is reminiscent of Isaiah 5: 20 – 23, where God curses those that force the opposite of His truth. It is a repeating of Israel’s failure when God declared, “That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.” (Isiah 30: 9 – 11) Is it any wonder we see the beginnings if not the approaching climax of famine regarding God’s word?
There is a reason for Paul’s inspired commandment of “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,” (Colossians 3:16) and to Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God.” (2Timothy 2:15). There is a reason we are warned that “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) and “Without faith it is impossible to please Him; for they that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Still, ears are stopped that they will not hear, eyes are closed that they will not see, and hearts are hardened that they will not feel! Indeed, such a famine of God’s word is self-inflicted, yet God allows it to happen because He did not make us “robots” but souls that must willingly serve Him! (2 Corinthians 6:14 – 18)
Jesus said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6) Further, I know the just shall live by faith (Romans 6:17). This is the only way to avoid a famine of God’s word in the land! Should man take away our Bibles, there should be a storehouse of His word within our hearts, so that we could put God’s word back into print without error! “Not possible” you suggest? Yes, it is, if we Christians feast on it daily!