Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. —Psalm 119:105
In the days of the prophet Amos, God spoke of a time when a famine would strike the land. It would be a famine worse than the times when food and water were scarce. It would be the worst kind of famine ever. Amos records these words of God: “‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign lord, ‘when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the lord'” (Amos 8:11).
Our generation is facing a famine of God’s Word. This is not because the Bible is inaccessible, but because we fail to see the feast God has placed right under our noses.
It has never been easier to open the Bible and feast on the banquet of truth contained in the pages of this glorious book. So why is there a famine? Why do so few people actually read the Bible faithfully and seriously? Because when we look at the table, we see empty dishes and cups. We fail to realize that the greatest banquet in history is the Bible, God’s Word. Nothing is more satisfying. Nothing will fill us like God’s truth revealed in the Scriptures.
Brian said, “I can’t read the Bible. It is way over my head. There is nothing in it that has anything to do with my life.”
His pastor felt bad about Brian’s statement but listened and prayed for wisdom. Then he made a suggestion. “Brian, why don’t you read just one chapter of the Book of Proverbs a day and see what happens.”
Brian took the challenge. He committed to read Proverbs. After a few weeks, he met with his pastor.
“Well, Brian, did you learn anything?”
Brian looked a little embarrassed and also a little wiser. He said, “Yes, I learned that I am a fool, and so are most of my friends!”
“Why do you say that?” asked the pastor.
Brian’s response was honest and insightful. “Because most of the things Proverbs says about a fool apply to me and those I hang out with. Very few things it says about a wise person sounded like me and my friends.”
The pastor asked Brian two questions. First, “What are you going to do about it?” Brian had lots of answers that led to some great conversation with his pastor, but more important, they led to changes in his lifestyle.
Then the pastor asked, “Do you still think the Bible has very little to say to your life?”
Brian smiled and admitted, “Now I’m worried it has too much to say!”
Susan was talking with her youth leader, “I can make some sense of the New Testament, but I don’t get the Old Testament.”
In an effort to give Susan a new look at the value of the first two-thirds of the Bible, her youth pastor said, “Why don’t you pick any of the 39 books in the Old Testament, and we will open it and read together. Maybe we will discover something that relates to our lives.” Susan picked a book that sounded particularly ancient and irrelevant. “Let’s try Haggai,” she suggested. They read the first verse: “In the second year of King Darius, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the lord came through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest.”
“See, that’s what I’m talking about,” said Susan. “A bunch of ancient people whose names I can’t even pronounce!” Her youth leader read on.
Now this is what the lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
When they hit verse 6, Susan said, “Stop! Read that again. That’s how I feel all the time. I feel empty. I feel like I drink but my thirst is never satisfied. I never feel full. I don’t ever have enough. And worst of all, I feel like I will never be truly satisfied.”
Wow! What insight. Susan and her youth leader dug into the Book of Haggai to find out why the people were feeling so empty. Why had they planted so much but harvested little? Why did these people feel like there were holes in their pockets and their souls, just like Susan did?
If we are not careful, we can miss out on the amazing banquet God has set before us. If we settle for a weekly snack at church and never dig into God’s Word between Sundays, it costs us more than we realize. We need to get past all of our excuses and fears, belly up to the table, and partake of the good things God has set before us.
Adapted from chapter 5 of Seismic Shifts by Kevin G. Harney (Zondervan, 2005). Order Seismic Shifts at ChristianBook.com.