Today’s readings.. (Esther 3,4), (Amos 8), (Philemon)
“Behold, the days are coming,” the Lord GOD told the prophet, as we read today in Amos ch. 8 v.11, “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.’ And what God ‘sent’ happened!
Verse 7 is significant, “The LORD has sworn … ‘Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.” And what godless deeds! And so it happened in those distant days. And it happened again in the days of Christ – when the nation came under the control of the Romans – and was later destroyed because they did not recognise their Messiah.
These lessons in history are a warning for our world today – but nobody is listening – there is “a famine … of hearing (and reading) the words of the LORD”
In Amos’ day there were copies of God’s word available, we read in Nehemiah earlier this month of the neglected book being found and the reformation that followed. And there had been prophet’s like Amos, but no one took any notice of them, and so, today’s chapter ends, “they shall fall, and never rise again.” And so it happened – especially to Samaria – the ‘deaf’ tribes we noted – are called here – “the guilt of Samaria” [v.14]
What of “the guilt” of this world? It’s godlessness grows ever greater! But, may we ‘hear’ it said of each other, as Paul says in his letter to Philemon, which we also read today, “I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective … ” [v.5,6].
When it is effective it prevents any “famine… of hearing the words of the LORD” amongst us – and we will surely have ” an inheritance that is imperishable … who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed …” [1 Peter 1 v.4,5] We realize more and more, because we read and absorb God’s word every day, the need to “approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” [Ph’pians 1 v.10,11] Let us make sure you and I are feeling “filled” a little more – each and every day – and there is no “famine” amongst us.