In Israel’s history, the days of King Jeroboam II, Amos prophesied Yahweh’s message of an imminent famine to Amaziah, High Priest at Bethel’s temple, home of the golden calf:
“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
Where Does Hosea Fit In?
According to my research, Hosea would have been just a boy at the time of Amos’s prophecy. We can’t know if young Hosea would have heard—or even known about—the Judean prophet’s words to the Bethel high priest. But because we know Hosea was from the nation of Israel, he must have at some point—probably in his young years—left his native land and gone to Judah. It was this Scripture that made me wonder if perhaps our little Hosea followed the burly, shepherd/prophet Amos back to Judah.
Where Does Gomer Fit In?
On page 33 of Love in a Broken Vessel you’ll find these words, describing the moment Gomer–as an adult–encounters Amaziah, the Bethel high priest…
Seated at the king’s right was Amaziah, Bethel’s high priest during Gomer’s childhood, now Israel’s high priest in Samaria. Her heart squeezed with a fresh memory of Hosea’s kind face. She hadn’t thought of him for years, but Amaziah reminded her of that day the prophet from Judah came to Bethel—he and that fish prophet.
Gomer, in my story, was a victim of Amos’ prophesied famine of God’s Word. She had no idea who Yahweh really was. She’d never heard the Truth from Yahweh’s chosen prophets, who had abandoned Israel years ago at God’s command.
Are We In Danger Of Such A Famine?
I haven’t heard any direct prophesies predicting a famine like the one Amos foretold (thank You, Lord!), but I’ve had many pleas from folks who say,
“I try to read my Bible faithfully, but I just don’t understand it!”
If you’ve said those words—or perhaps have been too embarrassed to admit it—I hope the following suggestions will help you.
How to Get the Most From Your Bible:
- Invest in a helpful Bible:
- Make sure it’s a TRANSLATION, not a paraphrase. (A translation comes from a committee of scholars using today’s English language to interpret the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts. A paraphrase is one man’s opinion of what a translation means. A paraphrase can be VERY meaningful, but it’s not good for study.)
- I use the NIV Study Bible and FaithLife Study Bible (FaithLife is a free NIV download on your Android device). ESV, NKJV, NASB, etc. all have study Bible versions.
- The Bible is a single story of God’s pursuit to re-establish relationship with humanity after the original sin. Familiarize yourself with the author, theme, and purpose of each Book of the Bible. They all have a reason for inclusion in the grand story.
- Read the study notes associated with each verse to learn the cultural, historical, and spiritual context.
- Read and/or study with friends a non-fiction book written by a trusted Bible teacher:
- A study that focuses on a specific Book of the Bible.
- A study that focuses on specific Bible characters.
- Read and/or study with friends a well-researched biblical novel:
- Make sure the biblical novel focuses on biblical characters or a biblical story. Some books classified as “biblical fiction” are simply historical fiction set in the B.C. or early A.D. eras.
- Check author websites for downloadable study questions or discussion questions.
- What has helped you understand the Bible in greater depth? Made it more meaningful?