As the humble herdsman of Tekoa drew his prophecy to a close, he shared a series of “I will” statements from God. Amos’ prophecy has much to teach us today. As Amos looked at his society he saw a facade of might and money that hid the sad truth that as a nation a rottenness ate at them from within.
Look with me at these statements, and consider that they reveal about Israel of old, God’s dealings with His people, and principles we can draw for ourselves.
I Will Never Forget…
“Surely I will never forget any of their works.”Amos 8:7
How fearful to know your sins will stand in the sight of God and you personally will bear the eternal wages of sin. If we die without receiving Christ as our Saviour then a person must suffer the righteous punishment for every sinful thought and deed.
If we repent of our sins and put our faith and trust in the finished work of Christ then God says He will remember our sins no more (Hebrews 10:17).
I Will Darken the Earth
In verse nine we find the phrase “I will” twice more,
“And it shall come to pass in that day saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.”Amos 8:9
God’s judgment on the land was certain and it was to be severe. The nation of Israel at this time had endured genuine days of judgment by God, but these only foreshadowed the great judgement described as coming upon the world during the tribulation period.
While the judgement that came upon Israel had the intention of eventually drawing the nation back to Himself, the primary purpose of the Tribulation will be to punish a stubborn and rebellious world.
I Will Turn Your Songs to Lamentations
We find the determined words “I will”, three more times verse 10:
“And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation: and I will bring sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.”Amos 8:10
How often people suffer as a consequence of things they once enjoyed. Those entertaining habits and songs which had played so great a part in turning Israel from their God would all be revealed as meaningless in the Day of Judgment. The many sins which they currently exchanged for their relationship with God would one day stand as a
For what petty trinkets do you exchange the perfect and abundant peace and joy of God? What do you allow to rob you of the blessings of God?
God then equates the depth of sorrow and mourning this judgment would bring to the greatest hurt to which they could relate, the death of an only son. It strikes me that God knew that one day, for the sins of the world, He would willingly send His only Son to die.
I Will Send a Famine
But our key usage of those two small words, “I will”, is found in verse eleven:
“I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, not a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”Amos 8:11
Years would pass before the full impact of these words would hit the nation. A day would come when God’s voice would be heard no more. The prophets would no longer come with their incredible messages. This day of silence would drag into weeks, months and years; until some 400 silent hundred years went by the nation.
Then one awesome day our wonderful Saviour, Jesus Christ, shattered the silence! Prophecies were fulfilled in word and action. Teachings, new, old and renewed shook a tiny corner of the world. But the tremors of those teachings and revelations still shake the world 2000 years on.
However, I look at verse eleven and wonder if such silent years could fall on our nations, a famine for a Word from the Lord.
A glance at the seven churches in Revelation and a comparison with their current status reveal the distinct possibility. Whether you believe the seven candlesticks refer to the individual pastors, the church’s testimony or something else, certainly something was taken away. Whatever you believe the exact loss to be, they would no longer find favour in the eyes of God.
Perhaps we will see a nation so anti-Christ that believers’ will forfeit their lives by openly declaring Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Maybe, and worst of all, Christianity will take on such a warped, lukewarm, liberal and meaningless form that God will spew the churches out in disgust.
There can be no doubt that many churches that once stood for the fundamentals have drifted far from their original moorings. We have seen the old boundaries systematically removed and in some places destroyed all together. In theology and in practice churches in the UK have dramatically degraded.
The fundamentals are under attack, not from outside the church, but from within. Doctrines such as the Godhead, the Person of Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Inspiration, Reliability and Authority of Scripture and even the plain and simple facts of Salvation are all facing attack.
Pastors and ministers across our nation are watering down the Word, congregations are not receiving the truth and future generations are not being equipped to serve as godly leaders.
There is a danger that we will soon face a famine of the Word of the Lord in the United Kingdom. In fact, I would say in a great many places in the United Kingdom this is already the case.
But for the grace of God I believe the next few years will see a quickening pace in the decline of theology and practice in churches across our country.
Every believer must pray for a mighty outpouring of the Spirit of God that would energise believers into fervent obedience, worship and service. We need a convicting presence of the Holy Spirit to convince a lost and dying world of sin, righteousness and judgment.
Pastors and Christian leaders need to ensure that the next generation of Christian leaders receive systematic and comprehensive theological teaching as well as practical examples and demonstrations.
While many trends in Christianity come and go, while the enemy attacks from a multitude of different angles, from within and without, we must hold fast to what we believe and focus on sharing and defending the truth.
As we see political unrest, sometimes favouring liberal politics and other times favouring conservative philosophies, we must focus on sharing the Gospel and winning the world to Christ through Biblical means and not by force of human legislation.
God help us to so love, live and teach the Scriptures that it will not be said of our generation, or in many to come, that there was a famine of the Word of God.