Amos 8.9-14 – Not by bread alone

Yesterday we saw that God has a perfect memory, and the ways He Sovereignly chooses to use it is based on our position before Him; justified through faith in Jesus or in rebellion against Him.

In vv.9-14 Amos continues to deliver God’s message of coming judgement for the persistent and consistent rebellion against His ways, and one really interesting part is vv.11-12;

11 “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.

12 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.

God is sending a famine on the land, but not of bread or water, of hearing the words of the Lord. This has to be the worst kind of famine. In difficult times, we need the Word of God the most.

Imagine driving down a dark, windy road in a country you are not familiar with, right then you would need your SatNav/GPS/direction-giving-device, wouldn’t you, and that would be the worst time possible to have that device not work on you. Similarly, for God’s people to have a famine of His Word at a time when they need it most is a terrible thing.

In Matthew 4.4 Jesus draws from Deuteronomy 8 when He says

“It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The Word of God is so important to our life that it is the ultimate famine used in judgement by the Lord.

If we neglect and reject it when we feel things are going well, will it still speak to us when things are tough?

Personally I would rather not find out. Instead, let us first seek the Kingdom of God, and take to heart the truth that we don’t just live by the intake of food, but as we nourish our bodies we must also nourish our souls with the Word of God.

Revelation 6.5-6 – Priorities

Today we open the third seal, well, the third seal is opened and the third living creature calls forth the third horseman, riding a black horse.

He comes holding a pair of scales in his hand, so he is coming to carefully measure and to ration food. Do we do this at a time when things are going well for us, or do we count the pennies and ration our resources when times are tight? Given that the first two horsemen have brought about a satanic dictator and war, I would say that this is the rationing and weighing of a troubled time, not someone carefully slicing off excess to save for the future.

The prices given here for wheat and barley are, apparently, twelve times higher than usual, and this shows us that we are talking about a time of “scarcity and famine” (Walvoord). Imagine going to work today, working all day, stresses, meetings, deadlines, hard graft, physical manual labor, danger…whatever work brings for you, imagine working all day just to earn abouth money to buy the ingredients for a loaf of bread. A loaf of bread costs around 700 fils in most supermarkets, so the inflation needed to charge us a days wage would be astronomical, and really speaks of the scarcity of the time we are reading about.

But, for those that can afford it, there will still be the oil and the wine…When the world is suffering and some cannot afford to buy food, there will still be the non-essential luxuries available for those that can afford it. Really though, is that the best use of the resources God has given us; to buy non-essential luxuries when others cannot afford to feed themselves or their families?

As well as the dictator and the war the previous two horsemen brought, part of God’s judgement on the fallen world will include a time like this, a time where scarcity and inequity are rife. A time in the future where these conditions are present will happen, it must happen…

In describing the beginning of the end, Jesus did a pretty fine job of describing what we are reading now, didn’t He; ‘…nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places…’ (Matthew 24.7).

The takeaway for us has to be to make God’s priorities our priorities.

What would God want us to do with the resources we have been blessed with living here? Would He want us to use our resources to buy non-essential luxuries, or would He want us to look around in our church family and the surrounding community to see who needs what?

How do we find His priorities? The Holy Spirit gives us the mind of Christ, wow! Pray, ask, and it will be shown to us.