A famine in the land of that which is necessary for sustaining the body is as heart-breaking as any image one will see on a television screen. Children famished and crying because of a need not met makes one want to turn away from the image. I hate the image! The image, however, portrays an impression that is not soon forgotten.
In the days of God’s prophet, Amos, the Lord spoke to a people who were in such rebellion that the Lord had had enough. Amos spoke to a nation who did not want to hear the Lord’s word any longer (Amos 7:10-13); the Lord was going to accommodate them concerning their desire! In due time there was going to be a famine in the land with regard to the Lord’s word (8:11).
“What is so tough about that, especially in comparison with a famine of food?” someone might shout out. There is an immediate food famine with its anguish, and then there is a famine that is much longer lasting. The immediate famine weakens the body and might very well bring it to the dust. The latter famine removes hope. When hope is gone, the purpose for living is likewise gone. If the immediate famine is harsh in experience, but there is still hope, then one can endure. But when hope is gone….
Because a famine of God’s word is so devastating to the individual soul the Lord constantly reminded them (in Amos’ day), and those of us today, there is a constant need for nourishment. Not only is there need for physical nourishment, but there is, more importantly, a need for spiritual nourishment. When there is a famine of the Word of God in the pulpit (and I hear it often that there is in some locations), then those who love the Lord begin to wither and die. If it is not for the fact they have enough strength to get up and leave they would, in fact, die!
Some, however, don’t leave. While it is easy to blame the preacher for his lack of preaching a “thus saith the Lord,” the fault actually resides with the one who does nothing about it. What can one do? Demand the preacher preach only God’s word (thoroughly) and if he does not, leave! RT