Musings 58

Amos 8:11 “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.

We know from the text that one form of judgment that the Lord sends on a nation is a famine of hearing the Word. I would argue that this is perhaps His most severe judgment that He brings. When He withholds the hearing of the Word, people can still have a desire (selfish, but still a desire) to hear something and yet He withholds the Word and they have no access to Truth. We also know from the New Testament that Jesus spoke in parables in order to harden people rather than to give them understanding. While this does not sound like the loving and kind Jesus that is spoken about in the modern world, it is the biblical Jesus of the Bible.

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; 15 FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’ 16 “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

Understanding the Scriptures and the God who shines forth in Christ is not a right and is not solely the product of hard study. Unless the Spirit of the living God opens the mind and shines His light in the mind and on the spiritual understanding of Scripture, it is a closed book even though scholars can spend their entire lives in a close study of the background and of the letter of the text. Apart from work of Christ and His Spirit there is no understanding of the truth (Christ) of the Scriptures.

The greatest blessings are spiritual blessings, so when there is a judgment the spiritual blessings cannot be obtained. People who are wounded in spirit have no access to ways to relieve their burdens. Misery piles upon misery and the hearts of men may search and search but there is no way to feast the soul upon God when He holds back the blessings, treasures, and wealth of understanding. If Christ Himself is the greatest grace and blessing that there is, then when God withholds understanding of it then it is a severe judgment.

While it is readily apparent that the US (perhaps the world) is under a great judgment because of a famine of hearing the words of God, we cannot overcome the judgment of God in any way. We can only seek Him for grace. It is by grace that God gives understanding to a soul. It is only by grace that a soul will have any spiritual understanding at all. It is by grace that a soul can have a taste of the wonder of Christ. If it is all by grace, then God is under no obligation to anyone to give the grace of light and understanding. We must learn to seek God for the grace of drops and crumbs to feed our souls. We must learn to seek the living God for life which only comes by grace. We must learn to seek God as fallen human beings who are totally dependent on Him rather than commentaries for understanding. Commentaries are helpful as far as they go, but only the Spirit can shine in the soul and the text and give a spiritual understanding of it. When God sends a famine, only God can reverse it. We must seek Him by grace and for His glory.

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