October 31, 2021
“Hear this! The days are coming – this is the declaration of the Lord God – when I will send a famine through the land; not a famine of bread or a thirst for water...”
“Hear this! The days are coming – this is the declaration of the Lord God – when I will send a famine through the land; not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea, and roam from north to east, seeking the Word of the Lord but they will not find it.” Amos 8:11-12
When I was in college, I went to a Bible study with a couple of crazy brothers, Rich and Dave Christiano. They were “crazy,” in a good way. I remember one of them challenged us to 2 two-week fasts. The first was a fast from media. No music/TV/movies for two weeks. Could you do it? The second fast was from reading the Bible. Obviously, he didn’t want us to stop reading the Bible for two weeks. He was simply making a point: Would you miss your media more than you would miss your Bible? Sadly, I was way more bummed about the prospects of two weeks without media.
That was God’s point in today’s passage, exactly. He kept His Word and, shortly after that, began an era of 400 years of prophetic silence. The Israelites must have laughed at Amos’ words. I can hear their reactions, “Is that all He’s got? We were expecting something like another earthquake, a flood, or some disease. But a famine from a book we seldom read? Bring it on!”
The United States is experiencing various hardships at the moment. It is a slow collapse yet observable. In the past, if a person got laid off, they had a better-than-average chance of getting another comparable job. After a few weeks, they were back in stride. But these days, there are hardly any jobs to have. So lay-offs lead to long-term unemployment, which brings down longstanding institutions like banks and other industry giants. I say all that to make this point: Many people, even professing followers of Jesus, are picking up their Bibles and reading them for the very first time! That is why these daily Bible devotionals exist, to fill that need. I saw America’s “famine from the Word” coming a long way off. In a sense, I was born into the beginning of that era. When the average American has exhausted all other options to escape certain ruin, they often reach out to God as their last-ditch effort.
I don’t like this current season our country is in; quite honestly, it hurts. But I thank the Lord for such a season, nonetheless. And I hope people are sincerely seeking God in these times. I hope they are returning to the Lord (or coming to Him for the first time) with their whole hearts. Because today’s chapter describes God’s eventual response to people who only give Him “lip service” when things get uncomfortable; yet return to their backsliding ways once things appear to be getting more comfortable. Eventually, even God’s grace wears thin. Justice will ultimately override grace and mercy.
Imagine losing everything, literally being invaded by a foreign country and hauled off as slaves. That would be horrible. But it would be even worse if you looked for comfort from God’s Word, and all you could find was silence or “I told you so.”
“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6