“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it. (Amos 8:11-12)
A Famine Of God’s Word
One of the greatest killers of mankind is the severe shortage of food resulting in widespread hunger or famine. Thirty million people died in China when famine struck in the late 50’s and early ’60s. Millions die from malnutrition and starvation each year, especially in the sub-Saharan African countries. From the beginning of time there have been various causes of famine brought on by natural disasters, infestations of insects, wars and failed policies of governments. Untold millions have died a slow and horrible death of famishment. The Bible reveals famines during the days of Abraham, and Isaac, and the great famine in the world during the days of Joseph when he rescued Egypt from destruction. During the period of the Judges and reign of David, there were famines. There was a severe famine in Samaria during the days of Ahab and Jezebel when Elijah and Elisha prophesied. The people of God were punished with the sword, judgment, pestilence, and famine seeking to bring them back to the Lord. God used the scarcity of food to impress upon His own people a day would come when there would not be a famine of food but an absence of the divine word. Knowing a famine was coming would strike terror and cause the heart to faint at the inability to find food. People would become frantic seeking ways to endure the blight of famine. During the days of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Joash king of Israel, the prophet Amos brought the reality of God’s judgment upon the people who had become secure in their prosperity of the golden age of the northern kingdom. There was a great social and economic revival in the land with the people enjoying a prosperous time of ease and wealth. Amos would talk about those who lay on beds of ivory stretching themselves on couches and eating lambs from the flocks and calves from the stalls. There was music that filled the land and wine flowing freely in the bowls not knowing a famine was coming. This famine was not in the absence of food but the famine of the word of God. No greater famine has plagued man than when the word of God is scarce. Like the famine of food, spiritual famine will bring certain death.