Fourth Sunday of Advent
Read Amos 8:11-14
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when 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. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it. In that day the lovely virgins and the young men shall faint for thirst. Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria, and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’ and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’ they shall fall, and never rise again.”
The Apostle Peter compares our spiritual growth to a craving. “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Pet. 2:2-3). And what do we crave? Just like the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat, we are spiritually dependent on the provision of God for our souls – His presence, His people, and most of all, His Word. Without it, our souls will die.
We live in the Information Age. Never before have we had so much access to words. I remember the days when I got my information from libraries, encyclopedias, newspapers, the radio, and the nightly TV news. In retrospect, I knew virtually nothing about what was happening on any given day! Now, we have instant access to the whole world. We can google anything. And, with smart phones having become permanent appendages at the end of our arms, we’re never at a loss for words, and the information they carry.
So it’s hard for me to picture a day when we’ll be at a loss for Bibles. But, as Matthew Henry says, “They shall have the written word, Bibles to read, but no ministers to explain and apply it to them, the water in the well, but nothing to draw with.”
I find myself wanting to ramble on the ramifications of this famine … about the incredible increases of people converting to Jesus all over the world, but the acknowledged lack of teachers to disciple them … or Amos’ reference to swearing “by the Guilt of Samaria” or “As your god lives, O Dan”, which is much like our secular world choosing to swear by the truth of the scientific academic academy.
But, keeping in the Advent spirit … Jesus is coming! He is the Word, made flesh, coming to dwell among us. Christmas means that God wants the Word among us. His Word is made real to us in the Spirit-filled hearing, reading and study of the scriptures.
But, are we experiencing our own personal famine of the Word? Are we spiritually anorexic? “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:3-4). We have all of this … are we digging into it?
We have five days until Christmas! Let’s prepare for His Word becoming flesh by celebrating and soaking in His revealed Word now. May you crave it, and may its truth prepare you for a glorious celebration of his birth.