“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 . 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. “In that day “the lovely young women and strong young men will faint because of thirst. Those who swear by the sin of Samaria— who say, ‘As surely as your god lives, Dan,’ or, ‘As surely as the god of Beersheba lives’— they will fall, never to rise again.” – Amos 8:11-14
Well this is an interesting passage buried here in Amos…I really like this guy. He calls it like it is in a very refreshing way. He reminds of some of the other great thinkers and Christian apologists that I admire like C.S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and A.W. Tozer. In this passage Amos is providing a prophecy from God about a somewhat different and unusual calamity to come. Unlike many of the previous calamities this coming famine and thirst will not be because of a physical need or the result of an invasion from afar.
The thirst and hunger will come from a spiritual emptiness within – the peoples souls will thirst for “the word of the Lord”. What does God mean by the “word of the Lord”? There are three interpretations that come to my mind: 1) it could mean the inspired word of God found in the Old testament (and New Testament) of the Bible; 2) It could be the prophetic words given by prophets like Amos and others; 3) it could be a “reflection of Him“, a reference to Jesus who Himself was called “the Word” in the book of John 1:1.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1
Apparently there will be a time, that has already happened, or will happen in the future, when “the word of the Lord” will be difficult to find. We will “stagger from sea to sea” looking for it and we will not find it.
It occurs to me that there are at least two ways to look at this spiritual “famine”. It could be referring the time when God seemed to go silent between the prophets and Jesus which has already happened, or it could be the time after the resurrection of Jesus and it is still happening for those who do not have ears to hear or eyes to see. As a follower of Jesus I believe that even after Jesus left He is always with us in the form of the Holy Spirit. God’s indwelling Spirit forever fills the emptiness within for those who invite God into their soul.
For those who do not accept Jesus or the spiritual nourishment He promises the famine continues and they “wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.” So in the words of Forrest Gump “I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.” Perhaps the spiritual famine was the time before Jesus, but it also continues today for those unwilling or unable to accept the spiritual food and Living Water that God offers us through Jesus.
Prayer: Thank You God for ending the spiritual famine through Jesus Christ.