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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading
There is a curious connection between our reading in 1 Kings 22 (from a few days back) and Amos 8 (from today). Both chapters bring out the point about how vitally important it is to hear the Word of Yahweh.
In Amos 8:11-12 it says, "Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of Yahweh: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of Yahweh, and shall not find it."
I believe we are already witnessing the early stages of this coming spiritual famine. People go to church and hear a "feel-good" message. All too often folks go to the "House of God" only to get flattered, patted on the head, and told that everything is just fine.
Many are satisfied with this "peace-and-safety-style" message. They want a church where the messages make them feel good. When someone tells them about End-times, or the need to prepare to meet God, they grumble against the speaker complaining about the "negativity" and "doom and gloom". They want to hear just what they want to hear. In fact, they purposely choose preachers, teachers, and leaders who will comfort them by saying only and exactly what they want to hear, even when it isn't the truth:
2 Timothy 4:3-4 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
1 Thessalonians 5:3 "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
Jeremiah 8:11 "For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace."Because so many professing Christians have "itching ears" to hear messages of "peace" and "safety", hearing the real Word of God is growing increasingly more difficult. Those who dare to speak it are ostracized, socially pressured, or just ignored altogether. These ministers lose their pastoral positions. And these ministries increasingly struggle to make ends meet - so poorly are they supported. Under this pressure, our society has actually created the spiritual famine of Amos 8:11, making it more and more rare to hear the real Word of Yahweh.
This terrible condition also existed in the time of ancient Israel and Judah in the time of Jehoshaphat. Israel's king Ahab was allied with Judah's king Jehoshaphat to defeat the Syrian insurrection at Ramothgilead. Prior to the battle, king Jehoshaphat asked if they could "inquire of Yahweh" about whether or not they should go to battle.
The king of Israel called 400 prophets and asked them to prophesy. Now all these supposed prophets of Yahweh were spiritual "sell-outs". They had been instructed to tickle the king's ears, foretelling "peace" and "safety". This they all did! Now after hearing 400 prophets of Yahweh telling them that they would surely be victorious, you would think that would have settled the matter. But it didn't! Some part of Jehoshaphat's soul knew that this "peace" and "safety" message the real Word of Yahweh. And he was hungry for the truth!
"Don't you have any other prophets?" he asked the king of Israel.
As we have already read, the true prophet was called. But before having audience with the two kings, he was forewarned to join the message which the prior 400 prophets had already given.
Probably in a tongue-in-cheek manner, the prophet agrees with the 400 prophets. He tells the kings they can be assured of success. But the kings reprimand him, demanding the truth. Then, the prophet tells them that Jehoram will be slain. The bad news of the prophet isn't well received. He is even imprisoned for daring to give a doom and gloom message. But in spite of its lack of popularity, the message of this prophet is the true Word of Yahweh. And it comes to pass exactly as the prophet warned.
Today, even more so than in Jehoshaphat's time, there is a famine of hearing the Word of Yahweh. And the choice is really yours. Will you seek teachers who say what you want to hear, as did Ahab? Or do you want to hear the true Word of Yahweh, as did Jehoshaphat?
If, like Jehoshaphat, you want the truth - God's true Word - I encourage you to revisit the blog of January 9, to help you on that vital journey.
May it be that each of us have a heart for the true Word of God, whether or not His Message is popular or comforting. Let us love the Truth. Only then will have a continual supply of Heavenly Bread, throughout the greatest spiritual famine which is already beginning upon this earth.