“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.”
Amos was a prophet to the nation of Israel. He proclaimed to the rebellious nation that they would be taken into captivity and led out of their homeland. Of course, the reason these people would be taken captive was their refusal to hear and heed the messages God was sending them. Amos announced that a day would come when there would be a famine in the land “of hearing the words of the LORD.”
God was letting them know that the day was coming when God’s Word would be absent from their lives. A famine is a horrible thing. To be without food and starving to death or to be without water and dying of thirst-these are dreadful conditions. For God to be silent or for there to be no faithful proclamation and explanation of Scripture would also be a horrible experience. These, who had rejected the Word of God, would one day be without the message of truth.
This presents a sobering reality, in addition to the historical message to Israel. For those who resist hearing God’s Word and find His Truth an unwelcome intruder, there will come a time when they will no longer have to be bothered by the Bible’s message. Like Israel, who after continuing to rebel against the commands of Scripture and ignoring the warnings of the prophets, eventually found themselves in a world without the “words of the LORD.”
Others will one day find that God has silenced His call for them to repent. Many will one day long for a Bible sermon or an opportunity to turn from sin and selfishness, but in hell there will be a famine “of hearing the words of the LORD.” We also know of nations where the Bible was once preached soundly and believed. However, revival has since departed and churches have accepted formality and ritual instead of preaching. To find a clear presentation of the Gospel or a call for repentance and trusting in the blood of Calvary alone for salvation is a scarcity in those lands.
What about America? Is it not true that the preaching of the pure Word of God is becoming harder and harder to find? Why has old-fashioned Bible preaching been replaced with musical presentations, seminars, drama, and other forms of entertainment? Could it be that we are already headed for such a famine?