Almost 800 years before Christ, Amos warned Israel that they would suffer a famine for God’s Word: “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when 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’” (Amos. 8:11).
There is a famine for God’s Word in America today also. Back in Amos’ day, this kind of famine was sent from God. Yet today, it is a famine of our own making. The 21st century world has more access to Bibles than at any other time in history. Bible apps are accessible on smart phones and computers. Bibles are found in every church, almost every bookstore, at any Wal-Mart, in many hotels and homes…and yet so many do not open them and read them. Not when there are so many other things to do like spend time on Facebook and watch TV.
Back on Amos’ day, Israel was very immoral (Amos 2:6-7). Many in today’s society are also very immoral. This is a reason why many do not read God’s Word as they should. The Word of God can “discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). In other words, the Bible has the ability to reveal us for who we really are. For the immoral person, that can be very uncomfortable. Thus, they do not read it.
In Amos’ time, Israel was also very rich (Amos 6:1-7). Their wealth was the reason they thought nothing bad would happen to them (v. 3). Today we live in the richest country in the world. As with Israel, our wealth can cause us to forget God (Deuteronomy 8:11-17). Jesus warned how riches could spiritually choke those who receive God’s Word (Luke 8:14). The search for wealth causes many to forget God because their time is spent seeking how to make more money or enjoying the luxuries their money brings. They have no time for God’s Word.
Israel couldn’t wait for religious holy days to be over so they could get back to making money (Amos 8:4-6). Churchgoers, does that sound familiar? Have you ever thought, “When will church be over?” Restaurants, TV, and naptimes are waiting, after all! Lots of us can’t wait for church to end so we can get back to work or play. Some of us don’t even wait for church to end; they check social media, play games, or text instead of worshiping. In many churches, the Bible isn’t even the focus of many sermons because a lot of preachers like to tell stories and jokes or talk philosophy instead. How sad that a famine for God’s Word can take place even in a church on Sundays.
Amos warned Israel that their young people would spiritually faint from thirsting for God’s Word and yet being unable to find it, and would fall away from the faith as a result (Amos 8:12-14). For almost two decades today, many people in our society have been leaving church. Many young people have lost interest in the spiritual. Satan rules in the hearts and minds of many, both young and old. The common trials of life which all have gone through for centuries are proving to be too much to bear for more and more of us. The fact that many are delving less and less into God’s Word is no coincidence.
To overcome both sin and hardship, we need to have a strong faith in God (1 Corinthians 10:13) and we need to fear Him (Proverbs 16:6). God’s Word is designed to give us both (Romans 10:17; Deuteronomy 31:11-13). This spiritual malnutrition in our society can end, but only if we begin to better appreciate God’s Word. It can both save us and condemn us (James 1:21; John 12:48). It can cause us to be born again (1 Peter 1:23). It can keep us pure (Psalm 119:9). It can set us apart (John 17:17).
But only if we actually feed on God’s Word like a baby feeds on milk (1 Peter 2:2). Babies must be fed several times a day. Prayerfully meditate on God’s Word just as often, and you will become stronger (Psalm 1:1-3; 119:33-37). The famine for the Word can end in your life. You can reap the benefits.
The choice is yours.