The Worst of Famines
"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, 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 the Lord: 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 the Lord, and shall not find it." Amos 8:11, 12.
Man was created in God's image and must have more than bread for food (Matt. 4:4). To fulfill his calling and destiny as God's image, the soul of man must be nourished by the Bread of Life, the Gospel of Christ. Soul famine is far worse than physical hunger.
I. There is a Penalty to Pay for Despising God's Word. God is longsuffering and patient, and gives men many opportunities to repent. But the day of salvation is not forever. When the day has passed, there is nothing left for man but the judgment of God. God's awful laughter in that day is recorded in Proverbs 1:26,27: "I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation...."
It is a serious thing to refuse to listen to the voice of God. Proverbs 1:29-30: "For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices." In due time, God abandons the stubborn and willful: He says to them: "Go on in your own way, until you reap the fruit of your rebellion and stubbornness, and judgment falls upon you."
II. The Penalty Is the Refusal of God to Hear. God is not wringing His hands in heavenly helplessness, waiting for a call from the rebellious and arrogant. Those who fear the Lord know this. Proverbs 1:28: "They call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me" (Prov. 1:28). "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven...." (Hebrews 12:25).
III. When God Abandons a People to Judgment, He first Removes His Prophets. Because of King Saul's rebellion and stubbornness God would no longer speak to him (I Sam. 28:6). In panic over the Philistines, Saul resorted to the Witch at Endor, and the prophecy of Samuel was fulfilled: "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou has rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king" (I Sam. 15:23).
IV. When God Abandons a People to Judgment, Their Wickedness Is Perfected, and Their Idolatry Is Complete. The writer of Hebrews tells us: "If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God...? (Heb. 10:26-29)
V. Man Cannot Create that Which God Has Denied. The prophets of the Lord are not made by colleges, seminaries, or Bible schools. All these can be valuable aids to the man called of God, but if God has "poured out...the spirit of deep sleep," and has covered the prophets, rulers, and seers (Isaiah 29:10), and sent famine into the land, man cannot make up the lack. The schools will continue to operate, but only to produce more blind leaders of the blind.
VI. When God Removes His Prophets, Men May Have the Scripture, But They No Longer Understand. They have eyes to see, but see not (Matt. 13:13-15), and become blind leaders of the blind. Men may read the Bible, but each one follows the imagination of his own heart. The blind hear the words but blesses himself, "I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart" (Deut. 29:19). This self-flattery is reinforced by the blind prophets who say, "Ye shall have peace.... No evil shall come upon you" (Jer. 23:17). Because they have no faith, they also have no hope and say, "There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart." (Jer. 18:12).
"The greatest heresy of modern times is the denial of God the Father "of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (Eph. 3:15). We would rather worship God the Grandfather, as Nietzsche described him: old, soft, passive, half-deaf and nearly blind. To accept God's total commitment as our Father, his intervention in history, not to mention the death at Calvary, is more than even believers can take." --Alvaro de Silva.
(Article modified and reprinted from May, 1992)
Pastor C. W. Powell
Trinity Covenant RCUS
Colorado Springs, CO