‘… he will go on to say, ‘Hush! We must not mention the name of the Lord’. Amos 6:10 (NIV)
‘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)
Reading the book of Amos is quite sobering as it contains many indictments of the nations surrounding Israel. I think the early Jews could have been complacent when hearing this book read to them. I’m sure they agreed with God that their neighbours should be condemned. However, that complacency would be short-lived, because by the middle of chapter 2 God speaks directly to the people of Isreal, condemning them for their unfaithfulness.
In the verse above from chapter 6, a picture is painted of a time when people are fearful of speaking out the name of the Lord. I can’t help seeing parallels with our time. Increasingly we see a society where all aspects of the media have no problem mentioning other faiths, but have a real problem in mentioning our Lord, Jesus Christ, appropriately. Even when Jesus is mentioned it is often used as a swearword and Christianity has become a byword for ‘odd’, ‘strange’ or ‘fanatical’.
The verse above from Amos 8 is also challenging. We have lived through a lengthy period of time when God’s word has been freely and openly declared. Amos 8:11 speaks of a time when God’s word will not be heard as often or as clearly as before. Of course, the prophesy could relate to the time in between the Old and New Testaments when God was silent. Despite this, it is quite a chilling warning and should energise us into sharing the good news while we can.
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