By Pastor Ron Branch
March 7, 2014
Through the prophet Amos, God declared about the day when there would be a great famine in the land. It would not be a famine for food or water. Rather, the famine would involve “the hearing of the words of the Lord.”
This famine is certainly taking place today, not so much as it concerns the world at large, but specifically as it involves the people of the church. This famine of hearing God’s Word is spreading because church groups are pervasively emphasizing only pieces and portions of God’s Word that stimulate certain emotional feel-good-isms.
The ultimate results are two-fold. The church environment is becoming more dominated by immature professors of Jesus Christ characterized by a spiritual shallowness incapable of sustaining spiritual strength and power in the long term. Furthermore, the famine of the hearing of God’s Word is causing people of the church to fail in grasping the depths of what true biblical Christianity really is.
There are some pointed reasons why this famine of hearing God’s Word is taking place. First, preachers and people too often build their ministerial themes on the considerations of the human condition to which a perceived applicable text of Scripture might be associated. That amounts to incorrect Scriptural procedure. When people have problems, they want to know how those problems may be quickly fixed so they can continue on their self-centered agendas. It then becomes, not a matter of what we hear God is saying to us during testing time, but rather emphasis on obtaining a quick fix for the sole purpose of soothing the soul and emotion. Hearing God speaking to us through His Word has better beneficent consequences.
Second, the famine is compounded by many who first impose their personal opinion on the Word of God before consulting or considering what the Word of God actually says about a given concern. There is nothing worse than interrupting what God is saying with what we think He is saying before careful consideration is first applied. Herein is great error because of the man-handling manipulation of the Word of God.
The famine is further spread because of unrighteous motives for personal gain. Some use God’s Word only for the purposes of discovering such ecstatic gifts that will raise them up to attain to what they perceive as super-Christian status. Others are motivated to use God’s Word for the purposes of attaining principles for wealth and prosperity.
But, if one is to ever stave off the famine of the hearing of God’s Word, one must start with and prioritize the Word of God first. For example, the Word of God does not identify every problem that people have. Neither does God’s Word provide a how-to-get-it-fixed solution to every problem that people have. What God’s Word prioritizes is that God is sovereign. It is by first starting with the biblical truth that God is sovereign whereby mature faith is stirred in the hearts of people to rely completely upon the power and authority of God. After all, it is not that He is our power and authority, it is rather that He is the power and authority. Such is a vital difference for consideration that builds the kind of Christian stability pleasing to God.
When the Old Testament prophets declared “Thus saith the Lord,” the objective was to clarify that the people were to hear first what it was God intended to say, the reasons why He was saying it, and how what He said was supposed to work in their lives. Such actually typifies how we should approach the hearing of God’s Word.
The Word of God points out to us that nothing matters to God more than the dominance of the New Man nature in our lives, and that our sole purpose in life is to bring God honor and glory. To accomplish such we must take care to hear God’s Word very well, very carefully and very accurately. Otherwise, we will starve to death spiritually.