v. 11 The time is surely coming, says the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.
We all have dry spells in our spiritual life: personal famines one might call them to use this image from Amos. They can be anything from annoying to frightening. It can be a terrible thing to feel cut off from God. One of the consolations during times like these is that others in your faith community remain connected, and so faith continues. Sometimes I need others to have faith for me, and thank God they can.
Amos raises the specter, however, of an entire community cut off from God. Now that would be truly frightening. Is this one of God's ultimate punishments?
Perhaps. But Amos tells the tale of how this is in many repects the logical consequence of Israel's behavior. He says (vv. 4-5):
Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, "When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the sabbath so that we may offer wheat for sale?"
They cannot wait for the sabbath to be over to carry on their unjust practices. This signals to God that they don't want to hear his words. The word of God no longer sustains them, only making themselves richer (no matter at who's expense) sustains them. In essence Amos is saying on behalf of God, "Fine. Have it your way."
One of the messages of Christmas is that God communicates to us in the flesh. How can we better put ourselves in a position to hear this communication? What is getting in the way of hearing it? Is something else sustaining us other than this communication?