Musings 59

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.

In prison camps during war (in most nations in history) prisoners are only given enough food and drink to keep them barely alive. Because of their lack of food, they have a severe lack of nutrition. They seem to be sick more than people with a healthy diet and many die. The lack of food is terrible on the body, but also on the mind. In countries where there has been severe famine or perhaps when cities with walls were put under siege for months at a time, people starved to death and some resorted to cannibalism. These things, which used to be frequent, were horrible. However, even more horrible is a famine for hearing of the Word.

A famine of hearing the Word is something like people who can hear about food but cannot eat it. They can see the food, they can smell the food, but they cannot taste it or eat it. The food can do no good for the person who cannot or will not eat it, but neither will the Word do people any good if they have no understanding or true hearing of it. When the Spirit does not open the eyes of people to see the glory of the Gospel or give them hearing of the voice of God, no man has the ability to see or hear the Gospel in truth and reality. The Gospel is a message, yes, but apart from the Spirit working what the words say in the heart and working on and in the heart, it is nothing more than words. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, but it is not just words, but instead it is God doing in the heart what the words say.

In the modern day we have many words about the Bible and perhaps many words about the Gospel, but we have no power. God has withdrawn the power and energy of the Word and preachers are preaching dead words that are coming from dead hearts. The real issue of not hearing the Word, then, is that God has withdrawn Himself and is not saving sinners and is not giving people a true hearing of the Word. We are as helpless as we can be and we have no ability until God comes in grace and gives hearing and gives new hearts.

As long as the modern day keeps focusing on the words of the Gospel and not the God who gives power to the Gospel and is the One who must work these in the heart, we will be a people who cannot hear the Word. The modern professing Church is in the midst of a famine and it is sickly and without nourishment at best. Most likely, in reality, most of the people in the modern professing Church are dead in sins and trespasses while they go on thinking that they are converted.

The point is that we must be broken from all of our supposed ability and seek the Lord for grace. We must be broken from thinking that we can say a prayer or walk an aisle and that God will save us. We must be saved from thinking that if we can come up with faith God will save us. We must be broken from any help or hope from self and turned to look to grace alone and that must happen by grace alone. We must bow before the God who saves by grace alone and His Spirit blows as He will. Oh for preachers who would preach the power of God in the Gospel rather than the power of the sinner! Oh for preachers who would preach the utter inability of man so that they will look to Christ alone! What a terrible famine of the Word we are in while we live in the lap of plenty in external things. Perhaps all of our plenty is God’s way of blinding us to our utter poverty in the spiritual realm. Where oh where is God? Where are those who will seek the Lord and nothing else? Are they too busy with planning a new building? Are they too busy with planning some outreach? Perhaps, but the famine goes on.

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