“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
In our text for today Amos prophesies of a time when the Lord will punish the nations for their continued disobedience. If you read the first half of the book, Amos recounts the crimes of group after group. And one of the marks of God’s justice will be that He will bring a famine.
Famine was scary in the ancient world in a way that modern people don’t really understand. They didn’t have the global supply chain that keeps our grocery stores stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables all year regardless of their season. In our experience, the only reason people would be forced to go without food would be because they were very poor and could not afford it. Not so in an ancient famine. One could own the land as far as the eye could see but if the major crop failed it wouldn’t help you one bit. If you just happened to have a store of food on that day, you were the most important person in the community.
But the famine the Lord planned to bring was not a lack of food. It was a famine of His word.
I work in a place that is rich in God’s word. There is Scripture posted on our walls and web sites. My boss prays for me in some of our meetings. (Thanks, boss.) But that hasn’t always been true. I once worked in an office that had to decide whether to discipline me for having an icon of Christ on my office wall. As far as the word of the Lord, it was a desert.
What about you? Have you found yourself clocking in to a famine of the word of the Lord? You and I might not have a garage full of grain but, has the Lord put his word in you?
When you find yourself in a famine of God’s word, share everything you have. The people working around you may be rich or poor, successful or inexperienced, but all be suffering from the famine of God’s word. It may be up to you. But if you are willing, you can be the bread wagon that drops off God’s sustenance in every meeting, phone call, and email.