Amos 8:11-12 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord 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 the Lord:
12 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 the Lord, and shall not find it.
In order to grasp this prophecy we must first understand what it means to hear the Word of the Lord. One may hear the words spoken without hearing the Word of the Lord. A hearer is a believer. You cannot hear the Word if you do not believe the Word. Now what does it mean to believe? Have you ever heard someone say, “I believe the Bible from cover to cover. I believe everything in it happened just the way it is written”? I have, many times. But to believe that it happened doesn’t make you a believer. A believer is one who hears and appropriates the Word, so that it becomes a reality in his life. For example, you could say that you believe David slew Goliath, just as the Bible says he did, but that doesn’t make you a believer. When you have heard the Word of the Lord as a believer, that Word begins to work in your life. When you realize that the giant that must be slain is your flesh nature and you give entrance to Jesus Christ the Son of David into your life to slay your Goliath, then you have heard the Word of the Lord and you are a believer. Hearing the Word of the Lord will do two things: it will give entrance to the presence of the Lord, and it will begin the process of bringing death to your flesh nature. You will decrease, and He will increase (John 3:30).
Therefore, Amos is not prophesying a famine of the Word. He is prophesying a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord. During this time of famine churches are still in fashion, people are reading the Scriptures, preachers are preaching sermons, the Bible is still a bestseller among books, and TV networks are offering an ample supply of religious programs. Religion is on the increase. Yet there is a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord. People are flocking to various places to seek the Word of the Lord, but they are not finding it. Amos says, 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 the Lord, and shall not find it. That is very descriptive of the Christian world today. There is a famine of hearing the Words of the Lord!
Deception is running rampant during these days of famine, for those who are unable to hear the Word are not aware they are not hearing. The apostle Paul spoke of this, too. 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. II Timothy 4:3-4. This is not talking about sinners out in the world. How can they turn away from something they never accepted? This is talking about Christians who are dull of hearing, as Jesus said in Matthew 13:15. For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
The thirteenth chapter of Matthew begins by saying that Jesus went out of the house, sat by the seaside, and multitudes came to Him, and He spoke many things unto them in parables (Matthew 13:1-3). Then He told them the parable of the sower (verses 3-8), and at the end of the parable He said, Who hath ears to hear, let him hear (verse 9). That statement is repeated seven times in the Gospels (Matthew 11:15; 13:43; Mark 4:9,23; 7:16; Luke 8:8; 14:35). There was a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord in that day, too. Everyone has ears, but it is not with the natural ears that one hears the Word. Jesus is speaking of spiritual ears. The ears of your spirit must come alive to the Word of the Lord.
The disciples were aware that the people did not understand the parables, so they asked Jesus, Why speak Thou unto them in parables? And Jesus answered, It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given…Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand…for this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart (verses 11,13,15). God doesn’t allow just anyone to hear His Word. His disciples are given this ability, that they may learn the mysteries of the Kingdom, but to others it is not. The Bible is not written for just anyone to understand. It is a closed Book; it is closed to those who are not dedicated to the will of God. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine. John 7:17.
John 6:63 It is the Spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit and they are Life.
Words of Spirit and Life are not audible words. They are not words heard with the natural ear; they must be heard with the ears of your spirit. Anyone can hear the actual words spoken or read the actual words written, but everyone doesn’t have the ability to discern the Word of Spirit and Life, for they are inaudible and invisible. They can neither be heard with the natural ear nor seen with the natural eye.
The Word of the Lord is not a language. Language – whether Greek, Hebrew, English, Spanish, or whatever – is merely the vehicle for the Word. If you are not naturally deaf, you will hear the words of language spoken, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are hearing the words of Spirit and Life. You may read the Scriptures and understand many of the concepts presented via the language written, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have received the Words of Spirit and Life.
The main purpose of the Word is to present a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and to be a channel whereby His nature and presence can be transferred to the one receiving the revelation. Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature. II Peter 1:4.
The revelation of Jesus Christ is the primary thing. Out of that must flow spiritual truths and the principals of the Kingdom. Without first partaking of the Lord, that which you receive from the Scriptures, though they are spiritual truths, will only be dead doctrines. Hear what Jesus told the Pharisees. (You) search the Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And you will not come to Me (receive the invisible Word), that you might have life. John 5:39-40. The teachings of the Pharisees were not corrupt because they were scripturally incorrect; they were corrupt because they didn’t flow out of a revelation of the Lord. They were not Words of Spirit and Life. This is why many churches are sterile. Their teachings are mostly correct, but they are not Words of Spirit and Life. They do not flow out of a revelation of the Lord. Spirit and Life are not naturally inherent in the language you speak when you read the Scriptures aloud. How much Spirit and Life in them is dependent upon you. There will be no more presence of the Lord in what you speak, though it is Scripture, than there is in you. And, even if what you speak is the Spirit and Life Word of God, it will not be received as such unless the hearer has spiritual ears that can hear the inaudible Word.
It is impossible to read the Scriptures and to accurately interpret them with your intellect. The human mind cannot comprehend the Word of Spirit and Life. Your mind is God’s enemy (Romans 8:7). It cannot perceive the Word of the Lord! It cannot interpret the Scriptures correctly! And, furthermore, every sermon originated by the wisdom of man, regardless of how scriptural it is ministers death. The letter kills, but the Spirit giveth life. II Corinthians 3:6. If your mind is interpreting Scripture, it is death to you and to whomsoever you’re speaking it. If the Holy Spirit is revealing it to you; that is, if you are receiving a revelation of the Lord in it, it is life.
I Corinthians 2:9-10 But as it is written, Eye has
not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things
which God has prepared
for them that love Him.
10 But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God.
Just this week I heard a pastor quote verse nine in support of his statement that it is impossible for us to know the things that God has prepared for His people in this life, that we will only experience them in heaven. Yet, verse ten says that He has revealed them unto us by His Spirit, even the deep things of God. It is true that man cannot know the things of God with his natural senses. The natural eye has not seen, nor has the natural ear heard the deep things of God. They are invisible and inaudible to the natural man. They are spiritually discerned. They are revealed by the Spirit of God to the spirit of the one who is able to see the invisible and hear the inaudible.
I Corinthians 2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
Jesus said to His disciples, I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come (John 16:12-13). Then Paul says, We have received the Spirit of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us by God. Who is the “you,” when Jesus says that the Spirit of Truth will guide “you” into all Truth? Who is the “we,” when Paul says that “we” have received the Spirit of God, that “we” might know the things that He has freely given us? All Christians are not in the “you” and the “we.” The “you” and the “we” are those whom the Spirit of God is guiding into all Truth and is revealing the deep things of God. They are the ones who have learned to see the invisible and hear the inaudible. They are the “we” that Paul speaks of in II Corinthians 4:18. While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen are eternal.
I Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
God is Spirit (John 4:24), and His Word is Spirit. When He communicates with you, He communicates with your spirit. Therefore, your spirit must be alive to God (tuned-in to Him), if you are going to receive from Him. Your natural senses are unable to discern that which is spirit. The spirit-realm is invisible and inaudible to the natural man. Therefore, the Words of Spirit and Life can only be spiritually discerned.
Learning to see and hear in the realm of spirit is not a simple matter. Therefore, many Christians never learn how. They are just not that dedicated. That is the reason Jesus said, Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto Life, and few there be that find it (Matthew 7:14). The apostle Paul made a very important statement in Romans 1:9. He said that he “serves God with his spirit.” If you want to serve the Lord, you will have to do the same thing. You will have to learn how to serve Him with your spirit, and it begins by learning how to see and hear an invisible and inaudible Word.
Copyright © 1997 by Henry DuBose