A famine for hearing the words of the LORD

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.” / Amos 8.11-12.

“How many people in the church today either forget or take too lightly the magnitude of God’s Word upon their lives? There is no substitute for God’s Word.

As the Creator, the Lord reveals that He exists and puts on display His divine attributes, but it is the written Word of God that tells us the way to a restored relationship with the Creator is by faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the written Word of God that establishes Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Word of Life. It is the written Word of God that reveals God’s ways to His children and His will for them.

That being said, why do so many in the church diminish the centrality of the Word of God?

  • It happens when leaders fail to study God’s Word.
  • It happens when so much time is given to other things, sometimes worthwhile things, in corporate worship that inadequate time is given to the reading of and proclamation of God’s Word.
  • It happens when churches fail to properly disciple their people in God’s Word.
  • It happens when believers neglect reading and meditating on God’s Word throughout the week.

However, what truly is appalling is when leaders do provide the people with ample opportunities and encouragement to learn and apply God’s Word only for people to spend years in the church and believe that since they are reading it and hearing it they must then have it in their hearts and minds.

It is like a student in a calculus class who has a knowledgeable teacher on the subject. The student may follow every step the teacher shows the class. Walking out of the class the student may feel confident about the material. However, if the student cannot do the homework later on, then the student has learned only one thing – the teacher knows calculus. It is only when the student can do the problems (and I might add communicate the information to someone else) that the student has learned the material.

Like this student, there are many who have listened to sermons and sat in Bible studies for years thinking that since they have attended these studies they have learned everything they have heard, but it is only with prayer, meditation, and concentrated effort that one will really learn God’s Word so as to apply it. My professor used to say, ‘Calculus is not a spectator sport.’

Neither is learning and applying God’s Word.”

~T. J. Betts, Amos: An Ordinary Man with an Extraordinary Message

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