Spiritual Famine

Amos 8:11–12


We picture brutal, grotesque images. Cows’ hips protrude. Babies’ eyes are hollow. Bloated stomachs growl. Skin stretches tight across faces. The skull outline emerges. Joints swell. Grim, despairing stares replace smiles. Hope is gone . . . life is reduced to a harsh existence. Those who have seen it cannot forget it. Those who haven’t cannot imagine it. It’s famine.

Since we are well fed, the idea of famine is foreign to us. It plagues India or Bangladesh, but never America! Ours is the nation whose streets are lined with shops bulging with all conceivable types of food to indulge every appetite.

Another famine, equally tragic . . . but far subtler, I call spiritual famine. Amos warned of it:

“I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from border to border searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.”

AMOS 8:11–12

We may find physical famine almost impossible to believe. But how about spiritual famine? You don’t need imagination for that! Amos’s famine wasn’t about a lack of churches, chapels, seminars, or sermons. He spoke of “a famine . . . of hearing the words of the LORD.” Remember, famine does not mean an absence of something but a shortage of it.

There can be a shortage of spiritual nourishment in our lives—in our marriages, our homes. A regular diet of the unadulterated truth of God is a rare experience.

Sadly, our Christian culture provides the false sensation of being spiritually full with easy access to “fast food” spiritual snacks. Podcasts, snippets of truth offered in watered-down church services, radio sound bites, and self-help devotionals contribute to a culture of spiritual malnutrition. What’s needed is a substantive intake of spiritual food. That only comes when we sit at the table—often—to receive the life-transforming and nutritious truths from the Word of God.

Caught in a spiritual “fast-food” lifestyle? Replace shallow spiritual snacks with nourishing meals from God’s Word. And make sure your family isn’t going hungry too.

Devotional content taken from Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2018. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved. The full devotional can be purchased at tyndale.com.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.