Famine From God – Amos 8:11-12

Beware A Famine Of The Word Of God

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.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from north to east,
searching for the word of the Lord,
but they will not find it.”

Famine Foretold

The first great famine occurred after the last prophecy in Malachi.  For over 400 years, no prophetic word had come to the people of Israel.  Generations had passed with no communication from God to His people.

This was very disconcerting to the people of God.  They had, in the past, received blessing and feedback from God through His prophets.  Now they waited in silence.  Famine brings great hunger.  When people are in a desperate place of hunger, it wears on them.  Going hundreds of years without receiving direction from God must have been frustrating to the Israelites.  They had been led by the pillar of smoke by day and fire by night for forty years in the desert.  They could seek out God’s prophets who were among them when they needed individual direction (even though, as a nation, they scorned and persecuted the prophets when their sinful lifestyles were brought to their attention and rebuked).

But isn’t it also true that the teacher is silent when the student is taking the test?

Desire Defeated

We are told to seek the Lord while He can be found.  As God withdraws His sovereign Spirit from a nation, they will soon be given over to their iniquity.  And when they seek the Lord, He may not be found.  The judgement of God may be at hand.  In that day, people will seek direction from God, and they may receive silence.

It is imperative that we seek God every day so that we will not experience a famine of the Word of God.  We choose how much time we spend with God and His Word.  When we don’t spend time in God’s Word and with God in prayer, we are voluntarily entering into a self-made famine.  Don’t be surprised if God doesn’t immediately jump to help you if you don’t spend time with Him.  Draw close to the Lord through His Word and through prayer, and you will never experience a famine of the word.

And if/when God is silent, remember: the just shall live by faith.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I spending enough time every day with God in prayer and in His Word?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, forgive me for my many sins.  Show me the path of righteousness.  Help me to draw close to You through Your Word and through prayer.  Strengthen my relationship with You that I would be able to trust You more and more each day.  Father, forgive our nation, for the people are not seeking You and Your Word.  Soften their hearts that they would seek You and return to You.  Only You, Lord God Almighty, are able to break through the hardness of hearts.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

A Promise of God – Deuteronomy 6:8

When God makes promises, circumstances change.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

Not Just for Joshua

The author of Hebrews took to heart that this promise was not just for Joshua, son of Nun, but reiterated it in Hebrews 13:5

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

A Promise Provided

This promise is fulfilled with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  He is a down-deposit for our inheritance.  He won’t just go away when we sin, or are in need, or feel lonely, or scared, or depressed.  He is ALWAYS there – comforting us, guiding us, leading us, empowering us, and encouraging us in our walk with God.

Light Leads through Love

Ephesians 5:18, showing us that the Holy Spirit leads us, saying:

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,

The word “filled” is plErousthe in the Greek.  It means “to be controlled by.”  Just as wine controls us in drunkenness (who can honestly say that they are in their right mind and in control when they are drunk?), we are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit in all that we do.  It is an imperative command – not a suggestion!  We are expected to do this!

Since God is love, everything that The Holy Spirit does is in love – even if it is to refine our character and test our hearts through trialseven when we sleep!  We can be confident that when God is leading, we are in good hands.

Provision of Power

God doesn’t just give us an empty promise.  He promises not to forsake us.  To do that, He empowers us through The Holy Spirit:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God provides us with the source of the power of the resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.  He doesn’t just dwell in us; He provides power for all that we are to do.  We can take comfort and strength knowing that He is not just accompanying us through our journey, but providing for us as well.

The Fear Factor

Satan prowls about like a roaring lion, looking for prey to devour.  Lions are not creatures that we should confront without appropriate protection or weaponry.  It is easy to be frightened when confronting a force that can easily overwhelm and destroy you.  Have you noticed that just about every time an angel visits someone in the Bible, the very first words out of their mouth is “do not fear”?  There is a very good reason for that.  When confronted with the power of angelic beings, we are immediately aware of our fragile nature.

But God has provided us with the Spiritual Armor of God.  And we have an offensive weapon as well – the Sword of the Spirit, which IS the scriptures.  And God’s Word says that there is no fear in perfect love.  Since God is love, and we are in Christ, we no longer need to fear.  Fear is predicated on consequences, and ALL of our sins – past, present and future – have been forgiven.  God has chosen not to forsake us, and even in our incapacity to live life perfectly because of our sin nature, God still provides for our future sins, having known about them from before time began.

The Qualifying Question

So, let’s ask the question:  given this wonderful promise, are we allowing the Holy Spirit of God free rein to lead and empower our lives as we walk with God to the extent that we should?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You have made us this wonderful promise.  Give me the strength today to let go of those things that interfere in Your guidance of my life.  Rid me of my own evil desires, and place within me the desires of Your heart.  Help me to yield myself to you completely as a living sacrifice.  Remove the dross from my heart, and help me to submit completely to the Holy Spirit.  Father, I recognize that in submission to You there is freedom.  Set me free from myself that I may be free in You.  Bless Your Holy Name, for You give Your children wonderful gifts and promises.  Knowing that I am never alone, and always in Your care comforts me through my trials.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?