April 22, 2009
Breaking the Famine, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll
Have you ever witnessed the ravages of a famine? If so, you can never forget the scene. The stench of death is sickening, frightening. Every living creature suffers due to the extreme scarcity of food. It's one of the most ancient of all plagues---and famines are still with us to this day. We hear and read of them sweeping across vast territories leaving humans and animals in their wakes. The hunger brings a mixture of such malnutrition and starvation, life grinds to a virtual standstill. Not even the otherwise hearty and once-powerful four-footed beasts of the field can survive if the famine remains. Famines take a devastating toll.
We who live in "the land of plenty" can only imagine such scenes. With fast-food places at almost every corner in our busy cities, grocery shelves stacked high with plenty of food and usually a variety of different brands of the same food to choose from---all of it in abundance---and, in addition, many restaurants to suit our food fancy, we don't think of what life would be like where none of that is true.
The Bible speaks rather often of famines but nowhere more eloquently than in the writings of a rather obscure prophet named Amos. God used Amos's pen to describe a tragedy that would one day arrive, leaving humanity in the grip of a famine. But, surprisingly, it would not be a hunger for literal food or parched tongues longing for fresh water. It would be a famine for hearing God's truth proclaimed. Here's the way the prediction appears in Amos 8:11-12.
"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord GOD,
"When I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water,
But rather for hearing the words of the LORD.
People will stagger from sea to sea
And from the north even to the east;
They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD,
But they will not find it."
Without meaning to be overdramatic, that prediction has now come to pass. We currently live in the midst of such a famine. The sound, faithful, balanced, consistent, and healthy teaching and preaching of the Word of God is seldom heard here in these United States or, for that matter, around the world.
Don't misunderstand. There are churches and chapels, temples and tabernacles where religious activities abound. And there are people of every persuasion who speak and teach, who appear in the media, who write books, who talk about God and discuss subjects the Bible addresses related to our times. But the lack of solid biblical food based on sound doctrine, served regularly and in healthy portions, is conspicuous by its absence.
Let's recommit ourselves to breaking that famine.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.