Invariably, people long for guidance that is greater than whatever it is man offers. I remember reading and hearing that one particular man would, through the years, collect all the wise saying that he heard, transcribe them and put them in a notebook, or in some handy area where they could be retrieved when struggles mount up, or he just wanted time to contemplate. We all recognize that the experiences of people can turn into profound and practical wisdom that helps others through the valleys of their own lives. Whatever wisdom they accumulate, however, and no matter how great it is, pales in comparison with God’s Word. The Lord’s wisdom carries people through the darkest of times and it never grows stale. In the days of Amos, the Lord’s prophet spoke of a coming day when there would exist a famine of God’s word (Amos 8:11-12). This had a historical application, but a great many people are currently living with a famine of God’s Word in their respective lives even now. Consequently, when struggles mount up, they know not where to turn. It does not have to be this way. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV) RT
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