"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.Amos 8:11(NASB)
Amos was a simple shepherd from Tekoa, who was commissioned by the Lord to pronounce severe judgement on the surrounding nations and certain cities which encircled God's chosen people.
But Israel was not exempt from God's judgement, for they had followed after other gods and become a faithless and adulterous nation. For many chapters, Amos warned that inevitable judgement and oppression would fall on God's chosen people, accusing the nation of disobedience, legal injustice, religious hypocrisy, boastful complacency, and luxurious indulgences.
Warnings about swarms of destructive locusts, devouring fires, the inescapable sword, and complete devastation, saturate the majority of his writings - until Amos disclosed the shocking outcome of their national disobedience and apostasy, "'behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord GOD, 'When I will send a famine on the land - not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the LORD.'"
For multiplied centuries, the prophetic call to Israel was to return to the Lord. For generations of time, Israel consistently and continuously rejected God's repeated calls to repent - a call for both individual and national repentance. But their collective disobedience finally resulted in the rejection and crucifixion of their promised Messiah, centuries later.
When a man or woman repeatedly refuses to acknowledge God's Word and obey the truth, their proud hearts and unrelenting minds become seared and hardened, until God permits that inflexibility to become permanent - God gives them over to their rebellious heart.
The same is true with a people-group or nation, and Israel's collective heart had become so desensitised to God's Word, and so stiff-necked towards Him, that God finally gave them over to their lustful desires - pronouncing a famine for the hearing of the words of the Lord.
A lack of food and drink is deadly for the physical body, but lacking the spiritual food that nourishes the soul, is truly calamitous. Food for the soul comes through hearing the Word of the Lord, and because of her unrepentant idolatry and gross apostasy, Israel was to experience a famine for the Word of God - a famine that lasts to this day.
They would call for help when disaster fell, but He would not hear. They would search for the truth, but they would not find it, for their ears had become blocked to His voice, their eyes had become blind to His guidance, and their hearts had become frozen against the God of their salvation.
If this was the final verse in the prophetic writings of Amos, it would indeed be a terrible thing.. but God is gracious and His mercy is everlasting - and so finally, Amos records Israel's supernatural re-establishment in the promised land, together with their political renewal, national prosperity, and individual restoration to the land of Israel.. where there will be permanent peace and security under the rulership of God's chosen Messiah, Who is King of kings and Lord of lords.
But what a lesson Christians in the Church can learn from this verse, "'behold, days are coming', declares the Lord GOD, 'when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather a famine for hearing the words of the LORD.'" Scripture indicates that a similar famine is scheduled for the Church in these last days, when men will be lovers of themselves and seek out preachers who teach what they want to hear, rather than what they need to know, "for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears."
May we seek to be part of the remnant Church that holds fast to the truth of God's Word. May we remain part of that little flock that eagerly reads, marks, learns, and inwardly digests the holy Scriptures, on a daily basis. May we saturate ourselves in the promises of God and be careful to fulfil all the principles and precepts that we are required to uphold in our Christian life. May we never forget that, "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness." - such as the disturbing words of Amos and other holy men of God.
May we seek to know more of Christ and to grow into His likeness as we submit to the leading of the Spirit and pay heed to His written Word. May we study to show ourselves approved unto God, as we meditate and memorise the words of life, so that our hearts may be saturated with truth and light.
May we be used by God to proclaim truth to a generation that has been deceived by Satan and blinded to the truth. May we become light to a world that is groping in darkness and tell forth the glorious gospel of grace, to those that are dead in trespasses and sins.
Heavenly Father, there are many sombre passages and warnings that we need to heed, in a world that is saturated in sin. Help me to keep my heart soft towards Your Word and willing to receive Your correction. Help me to keep the focus of my eyes on Jesus and my ears ever open to Your Word of truth, for Your Word is life and light, health and wholeness. Thank You that You did not give up on Israel, and thank You that You will never give up on me. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.