‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.’
Amos 8:11 (NIV)
Read: Amos 8
Consider: Famine is generally devastating for those who are in the midst of a shortage of food or water. Today we hear of famines in parts of East Africa where countries like South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen and Nigeria are experiencing food shortages. Some of these shortages are brought about by war and conflict, some by greed and corruption, and some by lack of rain or seed to plant. Whatever the cause, famine affects people’s present day lives and their futures.
Amos prophesies that there would come a time when there would be a famine in the land, but not of food or water. Instead there would be ‘… a famine of hearing the words of the LORD’. This may refer to the period of 400 years of silence between the Old and New Testament. However, it could equally apply to the period in which we live, where some denominations move further away from the authority of the Bible.
In our society today there are those who never hear God’s Word, and for many of these people they regard God as completely irrelevant to their lives. Filling their lives with other things doesn’t negate the reality that they are in the midst of a famine.
I have to say that the source of a famine in hearing God’s Word should never be the Christian church. Pastors and ministers should be faithful in declaring the truth of the Bible. Despite this, there are many churches today that are occupied by pastors/ministers who have lost their way (perhaps they weren’t on The Way in the first place). They have no surety of their salvation and no confidence in the authority of the Bible, leading them to preach a watered down gospel which has no substance and no power to change people’s lives. It fails to bring people face-to-face with their need of forgiveness and fails to proclaim Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross as the means of their redemption.
There is another type of spiritual famine that is also evident in our churches today. This is a famine that is self-imposed by the people themselves. This leads to Christians who miss out on the nourishment they should have, by relying on what they hear once a week in a sermon. Failing to set aside time to meet with God, leads to a spiritual famine and results in spiritually stunted Christians.
Pray: Father, give us a hunger and thirst for your Word. Forgive us for failing to set aside time for our spiritual well-being. We ask that you would pour out your Spirit on our churches so that there is a real hunger for you. Amen