The prophet Amos wrote to the people of his generation; “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, that 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” (Amos 8:11). There were times in the history of God’s people that they suffered through a physical famine in that they were without food or water. Abram had not been in the land of Canaan very long when a famine came to the area. The Scripture says; “Now there was a famine in the land and Abram went down to Egypt…” (Genesis 12:10). Some years later during the life of his son Isaac they were again without food and water. Again the Bible says; “There was a famine in the land…Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines…” (Genesis 26:1). Years later, Isaac’s son Jacob sent his sons to Egypt because there was a great famine in Canaan (Genesis 42:1-3). In the New Testament “there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world…then the disciples, each according to their ability, determined to send relief to the brethren dwelling in Judea” (Acts 11:28-29).  To this day at times around the world the rain does not fall and people suffer because of a famine.

            Amos spoke of a famine that would come in the future, but the famine would not be a literal famine of food and water, it would be a spiritual famine concerning the Word of God. The Word of God would fail to be, to exist or fail to be preached, but this famine would be in the heart of the hearers in that an ignorance of the Word of God would come about. They would have knowledge of everything else under the sun, but not the Word of God. Just as the literal famines occurred at various times so did and do the spiritual famines. Jesus told of the people of his day by quoting Isaiah; “For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed” (Matthew 13:15).

            When we consider these passages from the Old and New Testaments we find that the message was being directed at the people of God. It was being directed at people who should have had a longing to hear the Word of God and a desire to grow and mature in the knowledge of it, but did not. Peter wrote to the brethren; “beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18). A spiritual famine did come about in the second and third centuries and the cause of Christ suffered greatly. The warning of a spiritual famine today is for the church as we and our children become knowledgeable about everything under the sun except the Word of God. We need to remember the words of Paul when speaking of Timothy; “and that from your childhood you have know the Holy Scriptures…” (2 Timothy 3:15). Let’s keep the famine in the church and in our homes at bay by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).