THERE IS A FAMINE IN THE LAND
Hear the words of the prophet Amos, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they shall run to and fro to seek the word of Jehovah, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11-12). The Israelites, instead of obeying and cherishing God’s holy commandments, rejected them and trampled God’s word under foot! God was now pronouncing judgment upon Israel. Because of their hopeless condition, God planned to withdraw Himself from them. There was to be a “famine in the land,” a famine of the word of God.
There is a great and terrible famine going on in the world today. I am not speaking of the famine of food and water that we so often see in other countries, but the famine of hearing the word of God. There are billions of people who are starving for the nourishment found only in God’s word. But what is even
sadder, most people do not even realize that they are starving. As our physical bodies are unable to survive without the proper nourishment, so our spiritual bodies cannot endure without proper spiritual food. We must be “as newborn babes” who “long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation” (1 Pt. 2:2). It would be preposterous for a person who was starving not to eat food that was set before them. But this is exactly what the world is doing in the spiritual realm. Many are starving spiritually while spiritual nourishment sets before them. The Lord has provided us with a spiritual banquet, and yet, many refuse to partake. There is indeed a great and terrible famine in the land!
It is terrifying to realize that this spiritual famine even extends, in many cases, to those in the Lord’s church! Many in the Lord’s church have taken a few bites of nourishment in order to enter the kingdom, but once they have become Christians, they stop eating, or eat very little. The words of the Hebrew writer describes many in the Lord’s church today, “For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that someone teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food” (Heb. 5:12).
When people are under nourished physically disease becomes a terrible problem. Why? – Because the weakened body is unable to fight off germs and disease. The same holds true in the church. When there is a famine in the church, disease soon follows. When the church lacks the proper strength from spiritual nourishment the “disease of error” creeps in. When Christians do not have a good knowledge of God’s holy word, they are unable to distinguish between truth and error. Thus, “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). We need to hearken to the words of Jeremiah, “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy words were unto me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart: for I am called by thy name, O Jehovah, God of hosts” (Jer. 15:16). Hear also the cry of the Almighty, “But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that which I give thee” (Eze. 2:8). We need to eat the word of God and thoroughly digest it.
I have great sorrow for those who are starving physically. But the sorrow I feel for them can’t compare to the sorrow that I feel for those who are starving spiritually. There is a great famine in the land, but what are we going to do about it? Hear the word of the Lord, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned” (Mk. 16:15-16) and “Give diligence [study – KJV] to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). No doubt there is a famine in the land, but we can and must do something about it!