"The days are coming, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I will send a famine in the land - not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.  Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but will not find it."  Amos 8: 11-12

This text reveals to us that God is ruling in this world and universe.  He is the one who executes His purposes.  He can bless and he can punish.  Today the world does not see the hand of God in anything, and when devastation of various kinds come, the world simply sees execution of natural law, and blind mindless force.  In every tragedy man mourns, but, believes he is able to control his environment, and all he needs is more knowledge and understanding of the world.  Even in the Church there is an atmosphere that believes God does not intervene in judgment.  He is universal love, overlooks sin, and would not judge anybody, regardless of behavior.  This text gives us the truth that God is sovereign, and does execute His Word in the world, and what he threatens he can and will perform.  Amos assures us that God does not look on evil and godlessness with indifference, and although his love is seen in providing forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice, he will execute judgment on sinners when they refuse his pleading to repent and be saved.

There is still a message of grace and love, and this is seen in the words "The days are coming."  By this we can see that God who is going to carry out his threat, announces it well in advance, so that all who believe it, and seek to flee from the wrath to come, have time and opportunity to repent, and seek Grace from the Lord.  We can see this grace in the book of Jonah where God determined to destroy the city of Nineveh on account of its wickedness, and then withdrew the judgment because of their sincere repentance on hearing the preaching of Jonah.

Then the text gives us the nature of what God says he will do.  It is plainly a judgment, and it has finality about it because famine of food for the soul will bring about spiritual and everlasting death.  The picture is not simply a withdrawal of the word of God; but also that people will then begin to feel their need, and realize the hunger in their souls.  But now, whatever they do, they will not be able to find the food of God's word.  The text does not say that the written word of God is withdrawn.  The Bible may be present in abundance.  What the text is saying is that there will be no work of the Spirit to give understanding to people concerning the food which the soul needs.  This means that people will be still able to read God's word, but will not be able either to accept its message nor apply the truth.

In the threat there is an indication that there will be at last a hunger of soul realized and felt, but that though food will be diligently and urgently sought, there will be no food found.  In other words there will be a total withdrawal of any understanding of the truth.  People may well be seeking the food of God's word, and be reading the Scriptures, but understanding will elude them.  The illustration of this is in the account of the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading from the prophet Isaiah chapter 53.  He had no understanding of the message and meaning of what he read until, by the Spirit of God, Philip was brought to the eunuch and was the given the grace and ability to explain the meaning.  Then the Spirit opened the eunuch's mind to receive and understand the message.

In the days of Amos God warned Israel that such a famine was threatened, but still left time for the people to come to their senses and repent.  So the message of Amos is a call to the church to wake up to the danger, and repent and turn to God's word again.  There is no true food for the soul unless the authority of the Bible as the infallible word of God is revived and received again.  Only if there is total submission to God's word, and its meaning sought, received and believed, can this famine be avoided.

The Church still has the structure of true Christianity.  Let us return to the truth of God's word, and plead with God to be owned by Him and His Spirit, and preach and teach the whole truth without equivocation.  Otherwise, the famine will become permanent and eventually the Church will become empty and pass away.  Then there will be nowhere for the hungry soul to find food.  It has happened like this before.  Israel (the ten tribes making up the northern kingdom) did not repent and seek the Lord, and they disappeared altogether.  Christian churches have disappeared, which once flourished with spiritual life.  God will not be patient and long-suffering forever.  (Majority of text taken from public domain @ www.wordoflife.uk.com.)

This ‘New Year’, “Seek the Lord while you can find him.  Call upon him while he is near."  (Isaiah 55:6).

On the Inside,

Pete.