There are two very powerful sections of Amos that I read over the holidays but haven’t written about yet. This is what God says in this first one (Amos 8:11-12)
“Be certain of this, the time is coming,” says the sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land – not a shortage of food or water but an end to divine revelation! People will stagger from sea to sea, and from the north around to the east. They will wander about looking for a revelation from the LORD, but they will not find any.”
There are several things that I find important in these two verses.
God has always been, and will always be, about relationships. The Hebrew phrase translated “divine revelation” is literally “hearing the words of the LORD”. One of the most basic keys to relationship-building is communication.
Israel had left God – they were not communicating with him – and so, as one of his last resort disciplines to bring them back, God decided to withhold communication from them. He had sent them prophets time and time again to keep the channel open, but they did not reciprocate. God’s plan was to “starve” them so they would miss him and return.
Everything God does is to get people who are far from him to come close. If you are a believer, that means that he will go to great lengths to keep you close, even if it means hurting you in some way in the short term while you’re trying to pull away.
The results of starving from no contact from God are big:
- It leaves you weak – the people are told they will “stagger”. If you do not have regular communication from God – reading the Bible, listening to good preachers and teachers, listening to godly counsel, listening to the Holy Spirit through prayer – you will be weak. You will stagger from place to place – home to work to wherever – with no spiritual strength.
- It leaves you lost – the people are told they will “wander”. If you do not have regular communication with God, you will be lost, especially in the area of making decisions. Your whole life is a journey, and it’s easy to get lost – head in the wrong direction without even knowing it – when you don’t have perfect guidance.
Notice that God didn’t pull his communication until very last. This is not his preference. Israel went for nearly 400 years without any direct communication from God. That’s a long time to be weak and lost.
How is the channel between you and God? Do you hear from him regularly – more than just in church (and my blog, of course)? Is 2009 the year he sends you into a famine or into a bumper crop of growth and maturity? It’s your choice.