“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. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for a word from the LORD, but they will not find it.” (Amos 8:11-12 NIV)
Like most Americans, I never experienced famine. In the midst of famine, people are not just hungry; they starve to death.
When God spoke through his prophet Amos, he promised a judgment—a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger, searching for a single word from the Lord, but they will not find it. Not a scarcity of words [plural], but an absence of a single word from God’s mouth.
Add famine of the Word to the list of tribulations to be endured before Jesus returns. After three years of solitary confinement in a late 40’s and early 1950’s Communist prison, Richard Wurmbrand could barely recall his name, let alone Scripture. No light of day, no conversation and no books. Nothing. Dead silence. Is that what a famine of the Word would be like?
Recently, I read a heartfelt comment on The Priests of God. It struck me that we may already be in a famine judgment’s early stages. He wrote, “I was so thirsty for truth that I didn’t know I was thirsting. It’s like being hungry for so long your stomach stops hurting and your body just accepts it as normal. The truth is rarely taught here.” (“Here,” in his case, meant where he attends Christian services.) Food is offered, but it isn’t really.
In a food and nutrition-conscious culture, Christians may be spiritually malnourished and not know it. In other words, we can grow accustomed to eating food devoid of nutritional benefit. Junk food fills, but robs us of our appetite for fruits and vegetables. Some will reject the spiritually healthy, opting instead for the chips, cake and soda of our religious culture.
If ears do not want to hear, the Lord will go silent. Word must be in us, in our heart and mind, or it won’t be anywhere. Take a lesson from the ant. Store up God’s Word now. It is going to be a long, cold, silent winter. Famine is coming.