The Most Deadly Famine

In the prophet Amos’s writing we read what are somewhat familiar words as they are occasionally quoted by teachers of the Word and pastors of local churches. Let’s look at it:

Amos 8:11 NET “‘Be certain of this, the time is coming,’ says the sovereign LORD,

‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a shortage of food or water but an end to divine revelation!’”

A more familiar rendering of this verse reads: “‘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’”.

Israel had rejected the words of the LORD from Amos and so they would go into exile, where there would be no word from the Lord at all. In its absence they will find that the revelation from God had been their most precious possession. But nowthey shall not find it. People who have repeatedly rejected God’s words will suddenly be unable to find God’s words at all. In Amos 7:17 severe judgment came to a priest for rejecting God’s words, but here severe judgment comes upon the people as a whole for the same sin.

This particularly deadly type of famine, obviously, was a problem of the ears, not the stomach. We may well be in the early stages of a “hearing famine” in our generation. This in spite of the many “Christian” television, radio, and internet preachers and teachers as well as books and Bibles in abundance. For centuries, God’s Word has been at the center of church preaching. Today, questioning scriptural authority is in vogue, even in some major faith communities. Popular speakers advocate processing God’s Word through the cultural filters of the day rather than the other way around. 

Christians also once understood that we don’t stand in judgment of the Bible; it stands in judgment of us. But many today are airbrushing the Word of God to make it palatable to those who want spirituality that costs nothing. Instead of being conformed to the image of Christ, we want to conform His image, and everything else in Scripture, to our sad conditions.

Thirty years ago, people were saying, “If it feels good, do it.” Today, we are more subtle. We say, “If it sounds good, believe it.” When we try to figure out how on earth we can live with confidence in this crazy, chaotic world, we ought to be running to the Bible and not away from it.

The sad and tragic fact is that when people turn their backs on God and His Word, He will sometimes turn His back on them, giving them over to their wilful sin.

Romans 1:18-32 NET “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. Although they fully know Godʼs righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.”

This happened in Amos’s day as well, when God withdrew His prophetic revelation from those who mistreated and rejected His prophets and His prophetic gift.

People who disregard the Bible and misuse His prophetic gifts may get what they want someday; a society where the Bible is no longer read or proclaimed and where they can freely sin without Scripture or the prophetic confronting their conscience. But they may get more than they bargained for. A society without the moral compass of Scripture will self-destruct because of moral decay and decadence.

Today in my nation we hear more and more opinion in the pulpits and less pure and true Scripture with proper current day application. As well, we hear a lot of so-called “prophetic words” that back up non-biblical behaviour, and people causing division and strife. “Prophetic words” that are not from the Holy Spirit are justifying behaviour and a life-style that is not only non-biblical but also anti-biblical. And the problem with all of these false prophecies and false  teachings are that they are quickly spread through social media and people have little to no discernment because they no longer know or believe the Word of God that allows us to discern good from evil, truth from falsehood. 

I firmly believe that we will soon see God’s judgment come first on the false teachers, preachers, and those giving false prophetic words and then a further and horrific judgment on the Church that has allowed and even fueled these false teachers and prophets. On a positive note I also see God raising upon true, biblically solid apostles to help bring correction and adjustment to those who sincerely want to follow the Lord and His word helping to build the true Church of Jesus Christ. 

Many Prophecies and Yet a Famine in the Land.

The prophet Amos – a simple man who was a farmer-shepherd from an insignificant village and an insignificant family. He speaks for God and reveals the very heart of God during a time when many were following their own ways. And, when others were following what they considered to be ‘prophetic voices’ but who were not speaking for the Almighty God, our heavenly Father. 

Gee, sounds like today in my nation.

God had been leading them for decades, even centuries through the voice of the prophets. And the prophet Amos was declaring a true Word of the Lord. It was a warning of coming disaster and punishment for the sins of the people. The words were very specific and near the end of the short book named after the prophet there was some good news prophesied as well. 

Amos 3:7 NET states: “Certainly the sovereign LORD does nothing without first revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”

Very true then as it still is now. 

And yet, later the prophet states:

Amos 8:11-12 NET states: “‘Be certain of this, the time is coming,”’ says the sovereign LORD,

‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a shortage of food or water but an end to divine revelation! People will stagger from sea to sea, and from the north around to the east.

They will wander about looking for a revelation from the LORD, but they will not find any.’”

In other words, even if there was someone in the office of the prophet there would be no revelation through the prophet of what God was currently doing. No matter how hard one might look the Lord would simply not be revealing His plan and purpose for that time. It does not mean that the Lord is not active and involved. He has simply chosen not to inform His people what He is about to do and why.

With that as background let me comment on the current situation both in my nation and elsewhere in this amazing world in which we live. 

1> There are times when the Lord does not speak. It is not because He is mad although we often assume He is when He is quiet. Maybe we don’t need another prophetic direction or correction at the present time. Maybe we are still working through – or should be working through – the last Word we received. Maybe we should simply live by His written Word and watch as our lives are transformed through the written Word.

2> The void – the quietness of God – leads some to feel insecure and so they either go looking for a prophetic word from some source, any source. They are not hard to find as the internet is full of what many call prophetic insights. However, the words are not tested and often are not even biblical. However, many are not familiar enough with the Scriptures to correct judge right from wrong, true from false. There is no discernment and so many are deceived. 

Jesus did warn us that false prophets and apostles will rise and deceive even the very elect (Matthew 24:24).

3> We have many who have the gift of prophecy who are not called into the role of the prophet. And yet they are prophesying over the nation or nations. This is outside of the authority of anyone functioning within the gift of prophecy. Thus “prophetic words” are being spoken and published which are simply utter nonsense no matter how well-meaning someone may be. Words over the nations much come from tried, tested, and recognized men and women who are functioning in the role of apostle or prophet and recognized as such.

4> There are many self-proclaimed prophets and apostles who are issuing “prophetic words” when, in reality, they are not called to those offices and have not been recognized as true apostles and prophets. They are not in healthy relationships with others with the same calling they are functioning in (accountability). They have not been approved by the leadership of the Body of Christ and not recognized by (and often not a part of) a local assembly or church. Their words should not be received or acted upon.

5> Many people state “prophetic words” that line up and approve of their current lifestyle, behaviour, or what they are thinking and believing. So experience is then backed up with “prophetic words” to justify what is being accomplished or spoken in the Name of the Lord. This means experience and the “prophetic” is leading and Scripture is being used to justify behaviour and beliefs. We are proof-texting how we are living and what we are believing. This is backwards. Scripture is always the standard by which a word spoken as prophetic and any chosen lifestyle is judged as accurate or inaccurate, right or wrong. Experience and feelings are subjective where the Word of God, the Bible, is objective and our standard to which a word and a lifestyle is compared and judged.

So today many are declaring ‘the word of the Lord’ when there is no word. They are speaking from the soul and not the spirit. They are prophesying in the flesh and not in the Spirit. Oh, it sounds spiritual. But it is not. There are seriously few true prophetic words being spoken today. Yes, God is still revealing His heart through the prophets. But, true prophets who know the heart of God are hard to find. So, people run here and there looking for a word and buy into what is not from the Lord and thus are deceived. 

Very true today as we continue to face the Trucker’s Convoys and the multitude of false prophesies and misquoted and out of context Scripture passages that people are using to justify non-Biblical behaviour as they cause serious and long-lasting division and strife in my nation and now other nations. All done, so they say, “in the Name of the Lord” with is simply a blatant lie.