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Interesting. “A famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” I had to revert to my study Bible to see what it had to say about that:

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What a great (and terrible) phrase: “the awful silence of God.”

Yet even at the time Amos was writing, there were already scriptures in existence. My Bible history is a bit hazy, so I don’t know exactly what writings were available at the time (the study Bible says this came 40 years after the prophecies by Elisha in 2 Kings 13, with the implication that the Jews would have been familiar with these prophecies, so it sounds as though there was a lot on record already), but at the very least they had the law of Moses and other early writings. Those would not disappear, so what is this famine?

It’s a famine of new words. God’s people would find themselves in trouble and ask God to speak to them again, but his response would be, effectively: “You’ve already got my words. You know the truth, you know how you need to respond, what repentance looks like, what I desire of you. My righteousness and justice haven’t changed. You’ll find me right where you left me.”

At least, that’s how I understand it: God may go quiet, and we may find it hard to hear from him afresh, but we’ve got his Word and there’s everything in there that we need to know.

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