A Famine for Hearing the Word of the Lord – Amos 8:11

“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

Amos was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel shortly before they fell to the Assyrians. His message was that God was going to punish Israel because they had turned away from God, worshipping instead the golden calf and other gods of the peoples around them.

Under their current king, Jeroboam II, the nation was fairly strong, although trouble was on the horizon with the rise of Assyria. But, the Lord told them through Amos, a day is coming. A day when God’s word would not be heard in the land. People might search for it, but it would not be found.

In Amos’ day, the word of the Lord was brought through God’s prophets. So this would seem to be a warning that the voice of the prophets would be stilled. God would no longer be speaking to the people. They would be abandoned.

Silencing the Word of God

Although the United States has never been what Israel was, God’s chosen people, the word of the Lord has been proclaimed throughout our history. But more and more that word has been marginalized. On one side, the church has become so accepting of the culture that it has little to offer the culture. At the other extreme, the church has become engaged in the political process, trying to legislate morality and their own security, even offering support to godless politicians, hoping that they will be modern day Moses’, leading us back to the promised land. And in the process becoming little more than just another special interest group pushing an agenda.

God’s word is still proclaimed. But I wonder for how much longer? When the church is indistinguishable from the culture around it, or alienates itself from the culture, the voice of God is effectively silenced. Only when we lovingly and faithfully engage our culture, remaining true to the Bible, can we stave off this famine for hearing the word of the Lord.

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