Seeking the Word of the Lord
Open Your Bible
Amos 8:1-14, Exodus 34:6-7, Matthew 25:31-46
When I went to Israel, I visited the Western Wall. It is the closest contemporary Jewish people can get to the Temple Mount, where the holy of holies once stood, and it is considered one of the holiest places in Judaism today.
When I visited the wall, I saw many people praying, reciting Scripture, and weeping. Some say they are lamenting the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD; others that they are desperately asking the Messiah to come.
I realized that the Jewish people were often reciting prayers from Scripture in Hebrew, the original language of most of the Old Testament. The scriptures so many recite each day point to Jesus—the Messiah who has already come. They have the Lord’s Word, but do they hear His voice?
In Amos 8:1–14, the prophet saw the future destruction of Israel. Things would get so bad that the sun would go down at noon, the land would be dark in the daytime, feasts would turn into mourning, and songs would turn into lament (Amos 8:9–10). There would be grief and sadness throughout the land because of Israel’s sin and unwillingness to listen to the voice of the Lord.
Amos prophesied that there would be a famine in the land of Israel. Unlike many of the previous famines, this famine would not limit their access to bread or water. Instead, because of their consistent sin, the Lord would make a famine of His words among them. They would seek the word of the Lord but would not find it.
I wonder if we have effectively done the same today. Although it is very easy to get a copy of the Bible in the West, for some of us, we consume so much information through digital news, social media, and endless texts and emails that the Word of God gets lost in the mix of voices.
As believers in an information-saturated society, do we train ourselves to hear and respond to God’s Word? Or do we defer to competing voices? Even for those of us who read Scripture regularly, how often do we read the words and fail to hear what the Lord is saying through them?
Although this is sobering to think about, we are not without hope. Exodus 34:6–7 reminds us that our God is compassionate and gracious. We are prone to wander, but God wants us to return to Him. If we let them, these sobering words from Amos can be a powerful wakeup call stirring our hearts to seek the Lord and to delight in His words once more.